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Duke game, Shootout highlight UT slate

The first exhibition game is just six weeks away, and the Toledo men's basketball team finally has a schedule for the 2004-05 season.

A Dec. 29 game with Lake Superior State at Savage Hall was the last addition to the schedule, which also features a non-conference matchup with Nevada on Dec. 7, and an ESPN Bracket Buster game Feb. 19 against an opponent to be determined earlier that month.

The highlight of the schedule for the Rockets, who were 20-11 last season, is a Dec. 12 nationally televised game at Duke. Toledo will also play Vanderbilt, Wright State and East Carolina on the road, and take part in the San Juan Shootout tournament in Puerto Rico.

"We have a very competitive schedule, and it will challenge us and prepare us well for the Mid-American Conference season," UT coach Stan Joplin said.

"We're coming off a successful season and it's nice to receive some national exposure in our game against Duke, as well as possibly being involved in a nationally televised game as part of Bracket Buster Saturday."

The Rockets, who most MAC insiders expect to be the favorite to win the West Division this season, return all five starters from last year. Toledo opens the season on Nov. 19 in Nashville against Vanderbilt after a Nov. 14 exhibition game at Savage Hall against Wayne State.

Toledo plays five of its first seven MAC games on the road, and the conference schedule has the Rockets playing Akron twice this season and the remaining East Division schools once each. UT plays each West opponent twice, with the exception of defending West champ and overall MAC champ Western Michigan.

"We certainly have our work cut out for us," Joplin said. "But we're always looking for the best way possible to get ready for conference play."

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