Truman State men's basketball gets ready for the GLVC

Fans of the MIAA who flipped on the television on a Saturday in mid-December oftentimes saw a fellow conference team competing for the national championship.

For fans of the GLVC, the same thing could be said in March for men's basketball â?? the league's most-decorated and hardware-supplied sport.

Seven national championships in the sport since 1987 have landed in Great Lakes Valley Conference trophy case, most recently a 74-73 thrilling victory in last year's title by Drury (Mo.) against Metro (Colo.) State.

It marked the first men's basketball title for the Panthers, who helped the league earn its second national championship in three seasons following Bellarmine (Ky.)'s championship in 2011.

However, the Bulldogs â?? and the other 15 league schools â?? will catch a break in the upcoming season and beyond, as departing member Kentucky Wesleyan is responsible for four of the conference's seven titles.

The Panthers will begin play in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (GMAC) this season.

Truman, meanwhile, continued its upward climb in 2012-13 under the direction of now- third year head coach Matt Woodley, winning 10 games as part of the MIAA last season.

The Bulldogs went 7-11 in conference play and reached the MIAA tournament for the first time since the 2006-07 season.

The Bulldogs return four starters for the 2013-14 GLVC inaugural campaign.

GLVC Standings & Scheduling:

With all 16 league programs sponsoring the required core sport of men's basketball, the conference is split into two divisions â?? the East and the West.

Truman will compete in the West division, joining fellow Missouri schools Drury, Maryville, Missouri S&T, Missouri-St. Louis, Rockhurst and William Jewell, along with Quincy (Ill.) to make up the eight-team side.

The remaining eight schools â?? Bellarmine (Ky.), Illinois-Springfield, Indianapolis, Lewis (Ill.), McKendree (Ill.), Saint Joseph's (Ind.), Southern Indiana, and Wisconsin-Parkside â?? will make up the eight-team East division.

The top four teams from each division, along with four wild card teams, will qualify for the 12-team conference tournament following the end of the regular season.

The tournament will be seeded 1-12, with the winner of each division earning the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds based on winning percentage.

The top four seeds will receive first-round byes, with seeds 5 through 8 hosting first round games on campus before the field is reseeded for neutral-site competition in Evansville, Ind., March 6-9, 2014.

The Bulldogs will play 18 league contests during the regular season, matching both home and away against fellow "pod" programs Quincy, Missouri-St. Louis and Maryville. Truman will play each of the other 12 schools one-time each, with home dates scheduled against Illinois-Springfield and McKendree (Jan. 9-11), Missouri S&T and Drury (Jan. 30-Feb. 1), Southern Indiana and Bellarmine (Feb. 6-8), Maryville and Missouri-St. Louis (Feb. 20-22) and Quincy (Feb. 27).

Truman will have one road contest before the turn of the calendar to 2014 at Quincy on December 7 before traveling to Lewis and UW-Parkside (Jan. 3-5), Missouri-St. Louis and Maryville (Jan. 16-18), Rockhurst and William Jewell (Jan. 23-25), and Indianapolis and Saint Joseph's (Feb. 13-15).

Last Season in the GLVC:

Drury captured both the regular season (West division) and GLVC tournament championship en route to the national title.

The Panthers led all teams with a 16-2 record in conference play, winning the West division by four games. On the East side, UW-Parkside (14-4) picked up the league's No. 2 seed in the conference tournament by edging Southern Indiana (13-5) by one game. Bellarmine, Lewis and Maryville all checked in at 12-6, while Indianapolis and Kentucky Wesleyan finished at 11-7 out of the East division.

UW-Parkside's Jeremy Saffold, a senior last season, was named the league's Player of the Year, with teammate Andy Mazurczak and Kentucky Wesleyan's Lucas Barker sharing Freshman of the Year honors.

Six seniors highlighted the first-team all-conference listing, with Bellarmine's Vance Hall (then-JR), Lewis' Ryan Jackson (then-SO), Maryville's Asa Toney (then-JR), Quincy's Chris Babbitt (then-JR) and William Jewell's Dillon Deck (then-SO) all set to return for the 13-14 season off the first-team.

History Against the GLVC:

The Bulldogs have extensive history against four GLVC schools, most notably against Missouri S&T â?? an MIAA program through the 2004-05 season. Truman, with an all-time record of 91-48 against the Miners, has also met four other GLVC programs more than 10 times, including Quincy (52-59), Missouri-St. Louis (12-22), Rockhurst (19-13) and Drury (4-7).

Truman has faced Bellarmine (1-0), Maryville (1-2), Saint Joseph's (0-1), Southern Indiana (0-1), Wisconsin-Parkside (1-0) and William Jewell (6-3) on a limited basis and will be taking on Illinois-Springfield, Indianapolis, Lewis and McKendree each for the first time in the 2013-14 campaign.

Bulldog Non-Conference Schedule / Postseason Schedule:

The Bulldogs will open the season with a pair of road exhibition contests at Division I programs, starting at the University of Southern Mississippi on Sunday, Nov. 3 before traveling through Murfreesboro, Tenn., for a date with Middle Tennessee State the following night.

The season-opener comes at home on Saturday, Nov. 9, when the Bulldogs welcome Lincoln Christian (Ill.) to Pershing Arena at 6:00 pm.

Truman then hosts Moberly, Mo.-based Central Christian on Monday, Nov. 11 at 7:30 as part of a doubleheader with the Bulldog women prior to taking 12 days off before a road exhibition affair at Indiana State on Saturday, Nov. 23.

Truman heads to Springfield during Thanksgiving weekend to face both Cameron (Okla.) and Northwest Missouri as part of the Drury Classic on Nov. 29-30.

The home portion of the non-conference schedule wraps up on Dec. 14 and 17 against Concordia (Mo.) and Faith Baptist (Iowa), before the 'Dogs return to the Quincy Holiday Classic on Dec. 21-22 to tackle Hillsdale (Mich.) and Central (Ohio) State in a pair of regional contests.

The GLVC tournament runs from March 2-9, before the NCAA tournament kicks off one week later at a site TBD.

Courtesy Truma State University