Key matchups with Texas Tech, Massachusetts and Southern Miss in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center and road games against West Virginia and UAB highlight the nonconference portion of the LSU men’s basketball schedule released Thursday.

The Tigers, who won 20 games last season and reached the second round of the National Invitation Tournament, will play eight nonconference home games and one exhibition in the PMAC before beginning Southeastern Conference play the first week of January.

The SEC is expected to announce the 18-game league slate for its 14 schools later this month.

LSU, which was 20-14 a year ago, will launch coach Johnny Jones’ third season at noon Nov. 15 against Gardner-Webb in the PMAC before hosting Texas Tech at 8:30 p.m. Nov. 18 in the ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon.

The game with Texas Tech will be televised on ESPN2.

Other nonconference home games are against McNeese State (Nov. 29), UMass (Dec. 2), Sam Houston State (Dec. 13), College of Charleston (Dec. 22), Southern Miss (Dec. 29) and Savannah State (Jan. 3).

Game times and broadcast networks for those six home games will be determined soon.

“We feel we’ve put together a very challenging non-conference schedule that has several demanding games for our team,” Jones said in a news release. “We think there are a number of exciting matchups that our fans will enjoy watching in the Maravich Center.”

Two of the more attractive games on this season’s home schedule are against UMass and Southern Miss.

LSU opened the 2013-14 season in the ESPN marathon against UMass and lost 92-90. The Minutemen went on to win 24 games and earned a berth in the NCAA tournament.

Southern Miss, which was coached last season by former LSU assistant Donnie Tyndall, won 29 games a year ago and reached the quarterfinals of the NIT for the second year in a row. Tyndall is now the head coach at Tennessee.

The Tigers’ first road tests will be in the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. They’ll take on Old Dominion on Nov. 21 and either Illinois State or Weber State the next day. They will play a third game Nov. 24 against an opponent to be determined.

LSU’s other road games are at West Virginia in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge (Dec. 4) and at UAB (Dec. 18).

“We feel our nonconference schedule, including our trip to the Virgin Islands where we’ll have three games in four days, will certainly prepare us for SEC and postseason play,” Jones said.

The Tigers will also play an exhibition game in the Maravich Center, which is free to the public, on Friday, Nov. 7 against Morehouse College.

LSU is taking $20 deposits for season tickets for the 17-game home schedule at LSUsports.net/madness. Current season-ticket holders can renew their tickets at LSUtix.net.

Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter: @MicklesAdvocate.

2014-15 LSU nonconference opponents

Friday, Nov. 7: Morehouse, 7 p.m. (exhibition)

Saturday, Nov. 15: Gardner-Webb, noon

Tuesday, Nov. 18: Texas Tech, 8:30 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 21: vs. Old Dominion, at St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday/Sunday, Nov. 22/23: vs. TBD, at St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

Monday, Nov. 24: vs. TBD, at St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

Saturday, Nov. 29: McNeese State, TBA

Tuesday, Dec. 2: Massachusetts, TBA

Thursday, Dec. 4: at West Virginia, TBA

Saturday, Dec. 13: Sam Houston State, TBA

Thursday, Dec. 18: at UAB, TBA

Monday, Dec. 22: College of Charleston, TBA

Monday, Dec. 29: Southern Miss, TBA

Saturday, Jan. 3: Savannah State, TBA

NOTE: LSU’s 18-game Southeastern Conference schedule will be released by the league office later this month.