DePaul, Northwestern, SMU on Flames’ non-conference schedule
Road contests at Dayton, SMU, DePaul and Northwestern — and a home game against Central Florida — are included on the demanding non-conference schedule for men’s basketball next year.
“We have a very challenging non-conference schedule and that’s exactly how our staff designed it,” said head coach Howard Moore in announcing the schedule June 25.
“The only way to prepare for the everyday battles of the Horizon League is to play high-quality opponents during the non-league season. I’m excited for our fans to see this year’s team compete against some of the nation’s top programs.”
For its Nov. 14 season opener, UIC will drive four miles north on Halsted Street to battle city-rival DePaul. The contest — the teams’ first meeting since December 2009 — will be played at McGrath-Phillips Arena on DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus.
The Flames kick off their home schedule Nov. 17 against Western Illinois. UIC dropped its most recent outing versus the Leathernecks in 2012, but won the previous 10 matches dating back to 1991.
UIC will take part in the Men Against Breast Cancer Classic hosted by Kent State beginning Nov. 21, opening against the Golden Flashes before taking on Yale and Southern Illinois in consecutive days.
The Flames return home to host St. Xavier Nov. 25 before heading to Dayton Nov. 29. The Flyers are fresh off a historic Elite Eight NCAA Tournament run last season where they defeated Ohio State, Syracuse and Stanford. Dayton finished the season ranked No. 18 in the final NCAA RPI.
This will be the second all-time meeting between the two schools; the first was in the 2011-12 season.
UIC begins December with four straight home games, starting with Grand Canyon Dec. 2. The Flames then host former Horizon League-member and city-rival Loyola Dec. 6. UIC holds a 30-22 all-time series record against the Ramblers, winning the past two home affairs.
Home play continues Dec. 11 versus American opponent Central Florida. The two programs split their two previous encounters, with UIC claiming victory in the most recent tilt in 1989. The Flames welcome Tennessee-Martin to the Pavilion Dec. 15 to close out the home stand — the first meeting between the two squads.
UIC will play its next three contests on the road, beginning at postseason NIT-runner up SMU Dec. 17. The Mustangs, led by Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown, finished the 2013-14 season with an overall record of 27-10. They twice defeated eventual NCAA Champion Connecticut during the regular season and fell two points shy in the NIT title game against Minnesota. The team has already appeared in several preseason top-25 national rankings.
Back in Chicago, UIC will journey to Northwestern for a game Dec. 22. UIC owns a 4-4 all-time series record versus the Wildcats, winning four of the last five gatherings, including the previous three at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
UIC will conclude its non-league road campaign at in-state rival Bradley Dec. 28. The Flames and Braves never disappoint — their last four meetings were decided by an average of six points. In their last game in February 2013, Bradley escaped the Pavilion with a one-point victory thanks to a last-second putback.
The Flames will close their non-conference season at home against Judson Dec. 30.
Tickets are available by calling 312-413-UIC1 or online.