UT Martin head men’s basketball coach Ryan Ridder has released his schedule for the upcoming season as the Skyhawks will play 31 games – including 13 contests inside the Elam Center – in 2021-22.
Included in UT Martin’s 2021-22 docket are four teams (Tennessee, Western Kentucky, Ohio State, and Morehead State) who made the postseason last year and a pair of first-time opponents (Carolina Christian College, and Carver College). The Skyhawks will play 13 nonconference games against teams from nine different leagues, including the three-day Boca Raton Classic hosted by Florida Atlantic in November.
“We are looking forward to getting started,” said Ridder, who was hired as the program’s 12th head coach on March 30. “We wanted to challenge our team night-in and night-out during the nonconference season and we feel this schedule matches us up against several quality opponents. Our goal is to be clicking on all cylinders by the time OVC play rolls around.”
Following a Nov. 4 home exhibition against nearby Bethel, the Ridder Era will officially open five days later when UT Martin travels to Knoxville to face the Tennessee Volunteers. It marks the Skyhawks’ first visit to Thompson-Boling Arena since 2010.
The home opener is slated against Carolina Christian College as UT Martin welcomes the Association of Christian College Athletics squad out of Winston-Salem, NC on Nov. 13.
The Skyhawks then take part in their fifth in-season tournament of the last seven years when they head to the Boca Raton Classic, squaring off against Florida Atlantic, Troy and North Dakota on Nov. 19-21. UT Martin is 2-0 all-time against Florida Atlantic and will be playing Troy and North Dakota for the first time in its Division I Era (since 1992).
Carver College visits the Elam Center on Nov. 24 before a three-game road swing follows. The Skyhawks will play back-to-back Conference USA opponents in Western Kentucky (Nov. 27) and Middle Tennessee (Dec. 1) before making a return trip from last year to Western Illinois on Dec. 5.
Two straight home games are next on the schedule as Middle Tennessee comes to Martin on Dec. 11 for the first time since 2000. Three days later, UT Martin hosts UNC Asheville out of the Big South Conference.
The Skyhawks make the short trip to Evansville on Dec. 18, looking for their second victory in as many years over the Purple Aces. UT Martin closes out its nonconference slate on Dec. 21 when it travels to Ohio State for the first time since 2010.
OVC play starts on Dec. 30 when the Skyhawks go to Austin Peay. UT Martin hosts SIUE on New Year’s Day before heading to Tennessee State on Jan. 6. The Skyhawks then play defending OVC champions in back-to-back games, hosting regular season champion Belmont on Jan. 8 before traveling to tournament champion Morehead State on Jan. 12.
UT Martin hosts two straight in-state OVC foes in Tennessee Tech (Jan. 15) and Austin Peay (Jan. 20) before traveling to Murray State on Jan. 22. A home matchup against Eastern Illinois is set for Jan. 27 as the month closes out with a Jan. 29 road contest at Belmont.
The Skyhawks host Southeast Missouri and Tennessee State on Feb. 3 and Feb. 5, respectively. UT Martin’s annual trip through the Land of Lincoln occurs on Feb. 10-12 when it travels to SIUE and Eastern Illinois.
The final two home games of the season take place on Feb. 16 (Morehead State) and Feb. 19 (Murray State) before the regular season ends with road games at Southeast Missouri on Feb. 24 and at Tennessee Tech on Feb. 26.
For the fifth consecutive season, the OVC Championship tournament will be held at the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind. as this year’s event is scheduled for March 2-5.