Nonconference schedule still in holding pattern for CU Buffs men’s basketball

Straggler remains for MGM Grand Resorts Main Event

Andy Cross / The Denver Post
Colorado head coach Tad Boyle and the Buffs are expecting to make a run at an NCAA Tournament berth will be battle-tested from a nonconference slate that will far surpass the early schedule from a year ago.

The plan was to have the nonconference schedule released months ahead of the long-delayed announcement last year.

But often even the best laid plans sometimes go awry. So while the Colorado men’s basketball program still has time to top last year’s mid-September announcement, it nonetheless will arrive much later than coach Tad Boyle preferred.

Nevertheless, essentially the entire nonconference slate is intact, with the lone void stemming from a hiccup not of CU’s making. As part of the MGM Grand Resorts Main Event in November, the Buffs originally were scheduled to host UT-Arlington as part of a showcase that includes two home games followed by two games in Las Vegas.

UT-Arlington, however, bowed out of the tournament, leaving CU to the whims of the tournament organizers to fill in the final blank on the 2019-20 nonconference schedule. Head coach Tad Boyle confirmed the other 11 nonconference foes are in place, but CU has refrained from releasing a schedule with one “To Be Determined” opponent until a specific date is cemented.

“I’m just kind of waiting until it’s all said and done,” Boyle said. “If I knew the game was going to be on November 21st, which is what it was supposed to be, I would do that and say, ‘November 21st, TBA.’ But November 21st, we may not play. We’d like the date to be settled, but with the tournament, there’s got to be some flexibility if they come with a different date and team. That’s the main reason, the date.”

Boyle crashed the football party Thursday in LoDo for the Front Range Media Huddle with reason to believe his club should enjoy better fortunes during the 2019-20 school year than any of the assembled football coaches. Even with a slot yet to fill, a Buffs team expecting to make a run at an NCAA Tournament berth will be battle-tested from a nonconference slate that will far surpass the early schedule from a year ago.

The lone previously undisclosed date on CU’s nonconference schedule will be Sacramento State, which also visited the CU Events Center for the opener of the 2016-17 season that marked the CU Buffs debut of San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White.

The home portion of the nonconference schedule also includes home dates against San Diego (Nov. 16), Northern Iowa, and UC-Irvine on Nov. 18, which is the Buffs’ other home date in the MGM Grand Resorts Main Event.

On the road, the Buffs visit CSU on Dec. 13 and open a much anticipated home-and-home set at Kansas Dec. 7. The neutral-court dates are equally solid, beginning with a season-opening date against Pac-12 rival Arizona State (played as a nonconference game) on Nov. 8 in the league’s annual game in China. At the MGM Grand Resorts Main Event in Vegas the Buffs will play regional foe Wyoming on Nov. 24 and face either Clemson or TCU in the finale Nov. 26. The nonconference slate wraps up Dec. 21 at the Chicago Legends doubleheader against Dayton, which CU defeated at home in March in the first round of the NIT.

“Our nonconference schedule has been ramped up significantly this year relatively to last,” Boyle said. “Absolutely.”