Read below for the official USC press release:
Contests against at least five teams that competed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament highlight the 2011-12 South Carolina men’s basketball non-conference schedule, released on Monday by fourth-year head coach Darrin Horn.
“This is an extremely aggressive and challenging non-conference schedule for our team,” Horn said. “This schedule continues our philosophy of playing against some of the top teams in the nation – a nationally-competitive schedule. We have outstanding opponents and we’re going to face as many as five teams that were in the NCAA Tournament. We travel to Clemson; we are set to face North Carolina and Ohio State; Providence in the Big East/SEC Challenge and the list goes on.”
South Carolina will host 11 non-conference contests at Colonial Life Arena, including one exhibition, the first two rounds of the Las Vegas Invitational, Providence in the Big East/SEC Challenge and Big Ten powerhouse Ohio State. The Gamecocks will face at least six teams that compiled 18 or more wins last season, including North Carolina, Southern California or UNLV, Clemson, Ohio State and Wofford, which all advanced to the NCAA Tournament. South Carolina is slated to face five BCS schools during the coming non-conference portion of the schedule.
The Gamecocks kick off the home portion of their schedule with an exhibition contest against eight-time NCAA Division II National Champion Kentucky Wesleyan on Nov. 3. The Gamecocks and Panthers have squared off in an exhibition contest in each of the last three seasons. Western Carolina, the SoCon Co-North Division champion in 2011, visits Colonial Life Arena on Nov. 11 in the official season opener for both schools.
South Carolina travels to Elon on Nov. 15 before beginning Las Vegas Invitational play with its first on-campus contest versus Tennessee State, who returns Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year Patrick Miller, on Nov. 20. The Gamecocks will entertain Mississippi Valley State in a short turnaround two days later, before a Nov. 25 matchup with UNC in Las Vegas. The meeting between the Gamecocks and Tar Heels marks the first between the two former Southern and Atlantic Coast Conference rivals since the 1996-97 campaign.
In its final contest of tournament play, South Carolina will play either Southern California or UNLV. Regardless of its second-day match-up, both of Carolina’s opponents in Vegas participated in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, with North Carolina advancing to the Elite Eight, Southern Cal to the First Four and UNLV to the second round.
Following the tournament, Carolina returns to the friendly confines of Colonial Life Arena to host Providence, led by first-year head coach Ed Cooley, in the Big East/SEC Challenge on Dec. 1, before traveling to face archrival Clemson at Littlejohn Coliseum on Dec. 4.
Following the break for exams, South Carolina will host six consecutive contests before beginning Southeastern Conference play in January, beginning with a Dec. 13 matchup versus Presbyterian. Ohio State, along with first-team All-American Jared Sullinger, visits Columbia on Dec. 17, and the Gamecocks will host SE Louisiana on Dec. 21 in the final contest before the holiday break.
Reigning Southern Conference regular-season and tournament champion Wofford travels to Columbia on Dec. 28, followed by a New Year’s Eve matchup versus USC Upstate. The Gamecocks conclude the non-conference portion of their schedule with a Jan. 3 contest versus SC State at Colonial Life Arena.
Television information and game times for South Carolina’s non-conference contests will be released at a later date.