By BRAD KEITH
(September 28, 2015) — Tarleton State, the No. 1 team in The Sporting News Division II preseason poll, is facing the University of Texas in an exhibition contest and admission is free of charge.
The game is set for 5 p.m. on Friday, November 6, at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, where veteran Tarleton head coach Lonn Reisman says he expects a large contingency of Tarleton followers.
“For years our program has had a great following, there’s no doubt about that. I feel like this is a marquee game, not just your typical exhibition, and its the type of game we’ve become familiar with,” said Reisman, the winningest active college coach in Texas. “We’ve been to TCU, Baylor, Texas A&M and even Texas before. We know the opportunity we have to compete against a great team from a higher level and to bring great visibility to our basketball program and to Tarleton State University.”
Tarleton won 31 games last season, a modern era school record, while reaching its third Division II Elite Eight and second final four. Texas went 20-13 last season then fired head coach Rick Barnes and replaced him with Shaka Smart from Virginia Commonwealth.
“This is going to be a great experience for our guys. We want to put them in situations where they face excellent competition in big-time atmospheres, and that’s what this is. It will be great for us to gauge where we’re really at entering the season,” Reisman said. “And the experience won’t be just for us. It’s for our students, our fans, our alumni and our faculty and administration and this community that have supported us so strongly through the years.”
Tarleton celebrates the return of basketball with Midnight Madness on October 15. After the Texas exhibition, Tarleton opens its regular season against Colorado-Colorado Springs and Adams State (Colo.) in the annual Texan Tipoff Classic on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 13-14.