YSU men’s schedule starting to take shape

Youngstown State is making some headway on the 2013-14 men’s basketball schedule.

With Tuesday’s addition of Oakland University to the Horizon League, it closes the gap of uncertainty the YSU men’s basketball team had in filling its slate.

“This information got to us (Tuesday) like everybody else,” YSU men’s basketball coach Jerry Slocum said. “We had five games to get, now we only have three. We’re doing the best that we can, trying to hold out for some home games, looking at some exempt tournament stuff.”

With Oakland as the ninth team in the Horizon League, added to YSU, Cleveland State, Wright State, Detroit, Valparaiso, UIC, Green Bay and Milwaukee, the Penguins have 16 league games to their slate. It’s the same amount as last season with Oakland replacing Loyola, which left for the Missouri Valley Conference.

Beside the league games, there are only three non-conference games that have been officially released.

YSU Assistant Athletic Director Rick Love, who signs off on the game contracts, said last month the Penguins would host Bethune-Cookman and play at Kent State next season. Wednesday, he said YSU signed a home-and-home deal with Missouri-Kansas City with the Penguins traveling to UMKC next year. The Kangaroos, which are part of the Summit League, played YSU when the two were in the Mid-Continent Conference.

UMKC, 8-24 last season, had a coaching change in the off-season with former Louisville assistant Kareem Richardson taking over.

“We’re still doing a lot of talking,” Love said. “We do have some contracts pending.”

Slocum said he’s working to try to complete the schedule in the Penguins favor.

“Recruiting and scheduling are things we work on every single day and things that are part of our process of stuff we try to do every single day to try to get better,” Slocum said. “The recruiting process has gone well. The scheduling component here is very, very difficult – difficult to get teams to come into our building. We’re at 12 to 13 home games, possibly for next year, which everybody in our league has 15 or more. We’d like to get that to where we’re at 14 one year and 15 the next. This year we were at 13. Last year we were at 12. We’re just working really hard to get some home games.”

YSU is seeking money games like the one the Penguins played at George Washington and Georgia last November – games YSU won to start its season.

Love said YSU earned roughly $65,000 from George Washington and $80,000 from Georgia.

“We’re negotiating with some teams. We obviously have to have some money games involved with what we do here,” Slocum said.