A year removed from a second-place finish in the Big West Conference, the Cal Poly men’s basketball team has decided to up the ante.
The school released the 2011-2012 schedule Monday, and the Mustangs will play several teams that were in last year’s NCAA Tournament or the NIT.
The Mustangs will open the season at Mott Gym for the first time in three years, hosting San Jose State on Nov. 12. The Spartans were 17-16 last year, and have Adrian Oliver, who was third in the nation last year with 24 points per game, returning for his senior season.
Cal Poly’s home nonconference schedule also features St. Mary’s, which played in the NIT last year. That game is Dec. 3.
The road schedule includes USC (Nov. 19) and UNLV (Nov. 22), which both lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year.
Cal Poly will also travel to DePaul to play a Big East Conference team for the first time since 1973, when the Mustangs lost at Seton Hall.
The conference schedule begins at Mott Gym against UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 2, and Cal Poly opens its conference road schedule Jan. 5 at Long Beach State.
The Mustangs return four starters from last season’s 15-15 squad, including David Hanson, an all-conference second team selection, and Big West Conference co-freshman of the year Maliik Love.