September 18, 2010

Tornado Basketball schedule announced for 2010-11

BRISTOL, Tenn. - King College head men's basketball coach George Pitts has finalized the 2010-11 schedule for the Tornado that features games in 10 states.

King will make trips from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., all the way to Fairbanks, Alaska, for three games as a part of the Alaska Invitational.

The Tornado posted a 24-6 record last year and reached the NCCAA Division I National Championship game.

In all, the Tornado will play 24 different teams in 29 games during the regular season.

The schedule starts for King on Nov. 13 and Nov. 14 with games at Kentucky Wesleyan College and Southern Indiana University, respectively. Kentucky Wesleyan went 29-5 a year ago with a trip to the NCAA Division I Midwest Regional Tournament while Southern Indiana had a 24-3 record.

The Alaska Invitational has King playing the University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of West Florida and the University of Arkansas Fort Smith from Nov. 18 to Nov. 20. Alaska Fairbanks was 9-16 in 2009-10 and West Florida went 11-14 while Arkansas Fort Smith was 9-18.

The first team from the 2009-10 schedule that King will play this season will when the Tornado goes to Lincoln Memorial (Tenn.) University on Nov. 23 where King will look to avenge two losses from a season ago. The scores of last year's meetings were 73-66 and 77-58. King will travel to nearby Milligan (Tenn.) College on Nov. 29 as King looks to continue a nine-game winning streak against the former conference foe.

The home schedule starts on Dec. 1 when Lincoln Memorial visits the Student Center. On Dec. 4 cross-town rival Virginia Intermont crosses the state line. Under Pitts the Tornado has an 8-0 mark over the Cobras. The home stand continues  on Dec. 8 and Dec. 11 with contests against Montreat (N.C.) College and Emory & Henry (Va.) College. The Tornado won at Emory & Henry 113-108 last season and under Pitts King has gone 6-2 against Montreat.

To close out the 2010 portion King plays at NCAA Division I foe UNC Asheville on Dec. 16 and two days later travel to Bellarmine (Ky.) University. UNC Asheville had a 15-16 2009-10 season. Bellarmine reached the NCAA Division II Tournament after a 23-9 record last season. The games will be the first for Pitts against both opponents.

A trip to Nova Southeastern opens the 2011 schedule on Jan. 2 for King. Trips to Salem International (W.Va.) University (Jan. 8), Voorhees (S.C.) College (Jan. 12) and Augusta State (Ga.) University (Jan. 15) come before three home games. Salem International went 3-25 last season while King swept the series against Voorhees in 2009-10. Augusta State went to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight for a third straight trip and went 29-4 while winning the Peach Belt Conference regular-season title and the NCAA Southeast Regional Tournament.

Home games with Union (Ky.) College (Jan. 17), Alice Lloyd (Ky.) College (Jan. 22) and Voorhees (Jan. 24) follow for King. Union won a share of the Appalachian Athletic Conference regular season title last season, but King won 107-60 in Barbourville on Jan. 11 pushing the Tornado's winning streak to seven over Union. In the first meeting against Alice Lloyd since five years saw King win 92-63 in Pippa Passes.

King goes from January to February when the squad goes to Central State (Ohio) University on Jan. 29 and Hiwassee (Tenn.) College Feb. 1. Central State used a 22-6 record to reach the NCAA Division II National Tournament where the team was knocked out by Bellarmine. The Tornado played Hiwassee last season and posted a season-high 127 points.

A home game with Life (Ga.) University comes on Feb. 9 before games at Bluefield State (W.Va.) University (Feb. 14) and Campbellsville (Ky.) University (Feb. 16). King split the 2009-10 series with Life with each winning as road teams. Life won in Bristol 75-67 in the first meeting before King knocked down an 86-85 decision in Marietta. The Tornado has not played Bluefield State during Pitts' tenure, but has played Campbellsville, an 83-78 setback in the 2008-09 season. Both Life and Campbellsville went to the NAIA Division I National Tournament last season.

The final home games of the season will be against Central State (Feb. 19), Hiwassee (Feb. 23) and USC Aiken (Feb. 26). USC Aiken was in the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional last season and went 20-11.

The regular season comes to a close for King when the Tornado storms into Life on March 2.

King has the NCCAA Division I Mid-East Region Tournament on the schedule with dates to be announced. The NCCAA Division I National Tournament is scheduled for March 17-19 in Oakland City, Ind.

To view the entire schedule, click here.