Created: Wed, 04 Sep 2013 04:42:00 EST
Updated: Wed, 04 Sep 2013 04:43:58 EST
COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) -- South Carolina men's basketball, led by second-year head coach Frank Martin, released its non-conference schedule for the 2013-14 season on Wednesday. The slate features 14 games, including seven home contests, plus one exhibition. Highlighting the non-conference schedule is a holiday tournament at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic in late December, and a mid-day contest at Baylor as part of the ESPN 24-hour Hoops Marathon in early November.
In the non-conference portion of its schedule, the Gamecocks will take part in three events, the 24-hour Hoops Marathon, the inaugural Big 12/SEC Challenge and the Diamond Head Classic.
"As we are all excited about our schedule being released, the challenges in our non-conference slate are the ones that I've been talking about that we have to be a part of to be able to prepare for an SEC conference schedule, where you are always prepared to win a championship, not so concerned about how good your team is in November," Martin said. "This non-conference schedule will expose us to the world with national television appearances and playing high quality opponents on the road, at neutral sites and also at home. Our fans deserve to get high quality non-conference opponents in our building as we continue to build our program to create the daily excitement that is needed to run a championship level program."
South Carolina opens its 106th season of varsity basketball with an exhibition contest vs. USC Aiken on Nov. 3. The Pacers advanced to the 2013 Division II NCAA Tournament Elite Eight after winning the Southeast Region title last spring.
Regular-season action begins with the opener at Colonial Life Arena versus Longwood, led by first-year head coach Jayson Gee, on Nov. 9.
A trip to Baylor on Nov. 12 as part of ESPN's 24-hour Hoops Marathon will be the fifth meeting all-time between the two schools and the first since the 2009-10 campaign. The Bears are the defending Postseason NIT Champions.
South Carolina travels to face intrastate rival Clemson on Nov. 17 in the annual matchup between the two schools. The Gamecocks have won two of the last three meetings, including the last contest at Littlejohn Coliseum, a 58-55 victory on Dec. 4, 2011. Carolina returns home to host Florida International on Nov. 24. The Panthers are led by head coach Anthony Evans in his first season. Gamecocks head coach Frank Martin is a 1993 FIU graduate.
The Gamecocks travel to Oklahoma State on Dec. 6 for the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The meeting marks just the second between the two schools and the first since a 70-61 South Carolina win during the 1975-76 campaign. The Cowboys concluded the 2012-13 season ranked 17th in the AP Top 25 Poll with a 24-9 record after a loss in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Oregon. The squad returns Big 12 Player of the Year Marcus Smart to the court.
Following the break for exams, the Gamecocks will host Manhattan College on Dec. 17, before welcoming USC Upstate to Colonial Life Arena just two days later on Dec. 19.
Carolina embarks on travels for the Diamond Head Classic shortly after and begins competition at the event with a Dec. 22 contest versus Saint Mary's. The Gaels advanced to the West Coast Conference Tournament Championship game last season, falling to Gonzaga in the finals. After a 27-6 record, the Gaels competed in the NCAA Tournament and defeated Middle Tennessee State in the opening round, before a second-round loss to Memphis. Iowa State, George Mason, Oregon State, Boise State and host Hawaii will also participate in the 2013 Diamond Head Classic, with the Gamecocks facing either Boise State or Hawaii in the second round.
Following its return home, South Carolina will host Akron in a non-bracketed game on Dec. 28 as part of the Classic. The Zips won last season's Mid-American Conference Regular Season and Tournament titles to advance as the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, falling to VCU in the event's second round.
A home contest versus Marshall on Dec. 30 concludes the 2013 portion of the schedule and the Gamecocks will host SC State on Jan. 3 as the final non-conference matchup before SEC play starts on Jan. 8 at Florida.
Reserve your season tickets for the 2013-14 campaign by placing a deposit at GamecocksOnline.com/Tickets or by calling 1-800-4SC-FANS.
Complete game times and television details for the non-conference schedule will be released soon.
2013-14 Non-Conference Schedule:
Nov. 3, vs. USC Aiken (exhibition), TBA
Nov. 9, vs. Longwood, TBA
Nov. 12, at Baylor, 3 p.m. ET, ESPN
Nov. 17, at Clemson, TBA
Nov. 24, Florida International, TBA
Dec. 6, at Oklahoma State, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Dec. 17, Manhattan College, TBA
Dec. 19, USC Upstate, 12 p.m. ET
Dec. 22-25, at Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (1st round vs. St. Mary's, 12 a.m. ET, ESPNU; 2nd/3rd rounds, TBA)
Dec. 28, vs. Akron (non-bracketed game of the Diamond Head Classic), 4 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Dec. 30, vs. Marshall, TBA
Jan. 3, vs. SC State, TBA
All times listed in Eastern and subject to change
Home games listed in bold