Contact: C. Scott Shasteen
Oct. 3, 2016
The Motlow Bucks will begin their 48th year of men's basketball competition, and their second season under Head Coach J.T. Burton, when they travel to Lebanon to face the Cumberland University junior varsity squad to open the regular season on Tuesday, Nov. 1. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
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The regular season opener will come after a series of difficult preseason scrimmage games, including facing a number of powerful teams from Florida and participating in the CB Hoops JUCO Jam on Saturday, Oct. 22, in Atlanta. Practice officially began for the Bucks Oct. 1.
"This season's schedule is very challenging," said Burton. "We start off with a tough preseason schedule, which should prepare us for a regular season that is going to be an uphill climb."
Following their opener in Lebanon, the Bucks will travel to Niceville, Fla., for a pair of contests before returning home to play five of their next seven games. The first home contest is a prime matchup, as rival Columbia State rolls into Copperweld Arena. Tipoff for the men's game on Friday, Nov. 11, is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Jackson State visits the following day for a 2 p.m. contest.
"Our trip to Northwest Florida State College will be a good test for our young squad," continued Burton. "The opening conference weekend will feature Columbia State on Friday, who will once again be one of the top teams in our league. The next day Jackson State will be in town and they are going to be considerably better than they were last season."
This year's schedule features a pair of creative opportunities for fans. On Wednesday, Nov. 23, the Bucks will travel to Lawrenceburg and Lawrence County High School to host St. Gabriel Prep School at 6 p.m. Former Lawrence County player Kirk Kemp is a member of this year's Bucks squad.
On Friday, Dec. 9, the Bucks will host the Cumberland University JV team for a 10 a.m. start at Copperweld Arena. Elementary school children from throughout Motlow's 11-county service area are invited to attend as a field trip opportunity. The general public and Motlow student body are invited as well.
The Bucks will play a total of 13 home games and 17 on the road. In addition to the early season trip to Niceville, Fla., the Bucks will travel to West Plains, Mo., in early January for a pair of contests, one against North Arkansas and the second against the host team, Missouri West Plains. Their final game before the holiday break is Dec. 10, when they head to Fulton, Miss., to face Itawamba Community College.
Motlow will play 18 Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) games, with the first being the home opener against Columbia State and the final one coming on Feb. 18, with a visit from Dyersburg State. Homecoming will be celebrated Saturday, Feb. 4, when Cleveland State comes to Motlow, and sophomore recognition day is Feb. 18.
"We are a very young team that will be tested early," added Burton. "We play 17 road games, and that in itself will be a big challenge for all of us. As coaches, it is our job to get the guys ready to meet that challenge."
The regular season ends on Saturday, Feb. 25, with a road trip to Jackson State. The TCCAA/Region VII Tournament is scheduled for Mar. 6-10 at Walters State in Morristown. The National Junior College Athletic Association national tournament will be Mar. 20-25 in Hutchinson, Kan.
The Bucks finished the 2015-16 regular season with a 25-7 record and advanced to the conference tournament finals before falling to Southwest Tennessee 73-68. Motlow travels to Memphis to face the Saluqis on Jan. 20, and Southwest comes to Copperweld Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 15, for a 7:30 p.m. contest.