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Thursday, July 15, 2010Coach Scott Sanderson has proven in his time as the head coach of the Lipscomb Bisons that he is not afraid of assembling a challenging schedule.
He may have outdone himself this year as the Bisons are scheduled to play North Carolina, Baylor, Alabama and Memphis. Rounding out the non-conference opponents are Austin Peay, Tennessee Tech, Stillman College and Tennessee-Martin.
Only two of the non-conference games will be played at home. The other seven are on the road.
“I thought last year when we played Ohio State, Vanderbilt, Cincinnati and Arizona was the toughest schedule we had ever played,” Sanderson said. “This one is tougher than that one. There are no easy games on our schedule.
“It’s not even close. It is even more demanding than last year. But I have always tried to schedule according to our talent level that we have coming back. You can bury a team with this type of schedule. It should be very challenging for us.”
The Bisons will open the regular season in Chapel Hill Nov. 12. They will play Baylor, expected to be a top 5 to top 10 team, in Waco, Texas Nov. 22.
“North Carolina had a down year last year based on their standards as a top five to top 10 team year in and year out,” Sanderson said. “There will be a lot of publicity on that game.”
The final game before Christmas break will be Dec. 21 at Tuscaloosa against Alabama. The Bisons will be in Memphis Dec. 30 to take on the Tigers.
“All these games give you notoriety that you can’t buy,” Sanderson said. “The North Carolina and Memphis games will be huge.”
The Bisons have a home-and-home series with Austin Peay. The Governors visit Allen Arena Nov. 18 for the first home game of the regular season for the Bisons. They travel to Clarksville to face Austin Peay Dec. 7. On Dec. 11 the Bisons will travel to Tennessee Tech.
“Austin Peay has had NCAA success and a lot of championships in the Ohio Valley Conference,” Sanderson said. “Tennessee-Martin and Tennessee Tech have been in the middle of the pack in the OVC. Those are four games against teams like us that will be very challenging for us.”
“We didn’t have a great non-conference record last year and we tied for first in the Atlantic Sun Conference,” Sanderson said. “As much as you want to win in November and December it doesn’t really matter.
“You want to do well in January and February. You want to win the league. That means a lot. But the most important games are the three in March in our tournament. That what is boils down to for us.”
The Bisons return center Adnan Hodzic, the Atlantic Sun Player of the Year for 2009-2010, and guard Josh Slater, a first team All-Conference performer along with forwards Brandon Brown and Michael Teller and guard Jordan Burgason.
The Bisons will play their first two conference games at home for the first time since the 2006-2007 season. They open Dec. 4 against Mercer at Allen Arena. They will play Kennesaw State in Nashville Dec. 18.
“I thought last year the league was very deep with four teams tied for first place,” Sanderson said. “Some teams the middle of the pack or below are getting better.
“I don’t see it being any different this year. You have to play every night or you are going to get beat.”
Rounding out the rest of the home conference schedule are Jacksonville (Jan. 8), North Florida (Jan. 10), Campbell (Jan. 17), Stetson (Jan. 28), Florida Gulf Coast (Jan. 30), USC Upstate (Feb. 17) and East Tennessee State (Feb. 19).
The Bisons will welcome Belmont to Allen Arena Jan. 26 for the “Battle of the Boulevard”. The arch-rivals will play at Belmont Jan. 13.
“We didn’t protect our turf very good at home last year,” Sanderson said. “We lost games at home that we traditionally have not lost. We have to re-establish ourselves at home this year. Winning home games is critical.”
With the arrival of the New Year the Bisons will travel to Florida to face Stetson (Jan. 3) and Florida Gulf Coast (Jan. 5).
The Bisons remaining road games are at East Tennessee State (Jan. 21), USC Upstate (Jan. 23), North Florida (Feb. 3), Jacksonville (Feb. 5), Campbell (Feb. 10), Kennesaw State (Feb. 24) and Mercer (Feb. 26).
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.