Bellarmine's exhibition schedule is tough

Bellarmine University, the NCAA Division II national champion, is setting itself up for an interesting start to its season. The Knights are scheduled to play at Duke on Oct. 29 and then follow that up by playing at Louisville and at Xavier in the first week of November.

That's three exhibitions against powerhouse teams Bellarmine will be playing, and possibly the toughest three-game stretch any team in the nation will face. Bellarmine, which knocked off Xavier last year in exhibition action, is looking forward to the schedule gauntlet as a learning experience.

"Everyone associated with Bellarmine University from our administration to our student body is very appreciative of the opportunity to play three exhibitions against these first class programs," Bellarmine coach Scott Davenport said in a statement. "These tradition-rich programs allow us to prepare to be the best team we can be. It would be impossible for me as a coach to simulate a better teaching environment that the three games we have been fortunate to schedule. Again, I would like to publicly thank Coach (Rick) Pitino, Coach (Mike) Krzyzewski and Coach (Chris) Mack."

Duke in particular has been great about giving the Division II national champion the opportunity to play at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Because Duke won the national 2010 national title, last year's exhibition against Cal Poly Pomona ended up being a clash among champs.

For Bellarmine, playing at Cameron Indoor Stadium, KFC Yum! Center and Cintas Center is quite the road trip.

"I'm very excited by our exhibition schedule," forward Luke Sprague said in a statement. "To get to play in such a storied arena as Cameron Indoor, then to get to play in the YUM! Center -- one of the newest and nicest arenas in the country -- will be quite a thrill.

"Then, we get to go to another great arena and try to knock off Xavier again, which we were fortunate to beat in an exhibition last season."