When the LSU football team faces Western Kentucky on homecoming weekend, fans can stop by the Pete Maravich Assembly Center that afternoon to watch Trent Johnson’s basketball team play Nicholls State to open the 2011-12 season.

And the basketball game is free of charge.

The time of LSU basketball’s season opener Nov. 12 will be set to accommodate fans who are on campus to attend the football game. It marks only the second basketball-football doubleheader on the LSU campus, according to a university news release. The time of kickoff for football has not yet been determined.

Other highlights of the LSU basketball schedule released Thursday include home games against Boise State, Marquette and Virginia in nonconference play and against NCAA tournament participants Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky in Southeastern Conference action. LSU will travel to face Coastal Carolina, Houston, North Texas and Rutgers in nonconference and has a trip to Vanderbilt among its eight SEC away games.

In the final year of divisional play, LSU will play each team from the West Division home and away.

The final schedule must be approved by the LSU Athletic Council.

“The entire nonconference and conference schedules are very challenging, but our team is ready to accept the challenge and move forward,” Johnson, entering his fourth season, said in the release.

The opener gives LSU a chance to avenge its 62-53 defeat by the Colonels at the PMAC last season.

The Tigers will then travel to face Coastal Carolina in what the Conway, S.C., school hoped to be the first game in its new basketball arena. Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek announced in April the arena would not be completed in time for the LSU game.

From there, the Tigers will stay on the road for the Charleston Classic, which begins Nov. 17 in Charleston, S.C. LSU will open the eight-team tournament against Northwestern, with either Tulsa or Western Kentucky to follow.

Also announced earlier, LSU will travel to Rutgers on Dec. 3 as part of the new Big East/SEC Challenge.

The games against Coastal Carolina, South Alabama, North Texas, Houston and Virginia complete home-and-home series. LSU will owe Marquette, Boise State and Cal-Irvine a return trip after playing those teams at home this year.

North Texas is coached by former LSU player/assistant Johnny Jones, whose Mean Green won at the PMAC last season. Boise is the alma mater of Johnson, who starred for the Broncos in basketball from 1974-78.

As the SEC enters its third year of historic contracts with CBS and ESPN, all 94 league games will be televised.

LSU will appear three times on the ESPN family of networks, three times on Comcast/Cox Sports TV, twice on FSN and seven times on the SEC Network during the conference season. The regular-season finale at Auburn on March 3 will be shown by CBS Sports, marking LSU’s first regular-season appearance on the network since late in the 2008-09 season.

Non-conference game times and television games, including the early-season appearances on Cox Sports TV, will be announced in later weeks.

The SEC tournament is March 8-11 and will be played at the New Orleans Arena.

LSU season ticket holders have until Aug. 31 to renew their season tickets, and $50 deposits for new season tickets are being accepted at this time at the LSU Athletics Ticket Office and at LSUtix.net. Season ticket holders will also have the first opportunity to purchase tickets in the LSU section at the SEC tournament.

Tigers, Lady Tigers chip in

Members of the LSU men and women’s basketball teams helped ease the load of families moving their students into the dorms at LSU Thursday during the annual Department of Residential Life “Roaring Into The Halls.”

Justin Hamilton, Malcolm White, Chris Bass and Eddie Ludwig from the LSU men’s basketball team worked the morning shift when student with last names beginning with A-K checked into the South/West Halls on campus and women’s basketball players Destini Hughes, Theresa Plaisance, Taylor Turnbow and Shanence McKinney helped with the afternoon move-in of those with last names beginning with L-Z.

“I like how we can help the incoming freshmen,” said Hamilton, who will be a junior for the LSU team after transferring from Iowa State before the 2010-11 season. “It’s nice to be able to explain to them where things are on campus and help get them on the right track.”

In all, over 4,000 students moved in Thursday on campus and after moving in all were treated to an ice cream social in each residence.

2011-12 LSU men’s basketball schedule

(Schedule subject to approval of the LSU Athletic Council; Television networks in parenthesis):

All times CST

NOVEMBER

12 Nicholls State TBA

15 At Coastal Carolina TBA

Charleston (S.C.) Classic

17 Northwestern (ESPNU) 2 p.m.

18 Tulsa/W. Kentucky Noon or 2:30 p.m.

20 Opponent TBA TBA

23 South Alabama TBA

29 At Houston TBA

DECEMBER

Big East-SEC Challenge

?3 At Rutgers (ESPNU) 6 p.m.

10 Boise State TBA

15 UC-Irvine TBA

19 Marquette TBA

22 At North Texas TBA

29 Grambling State TBA

January

?2 Virginia TBA

?7 *Ole Miss (SEC) 12:30 p.m.

11 *At Alabama (CSS/CST) 8 p.m.

14 *At Arkansas (FSN) 8 p.m.

17 *Auburn (ESPNU) 6 p.m.

21 *At Florida (FSN) 5 p.m.

25 *At Mississippi St. (SEC) 7 p.m.

28 *Kentucky (SEC) 3 p.m.

February

?4 *Arkansas (SEC) 12:30 p.m.

?8 *At Vanderbilt (CSS/CST) 8 p.m.

11 *Alabama (ESPN2) TBA

14 *Miss. State (ESPNU) 8 p.m.

18 *At South Carolina (SEC) 12:30 p.m.

22 *Georgia (SEC) 7 p.m.

25 *At Ole Miss (SEC) 12:30 p.m.

29 *Tennessee (CSS/CST) 8 p.m.

march

?3 *At Auburn (CBS Sports) 1 p.m.

8-11 SEC Tournament, New Orleans TBA

*Southeastern Conference games