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CU basketball withdraws from Fort Myers Tip-Off; likely to open season at Kansas State

Tad Boyle says CSU rivalry game remains scheduled as planned

Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
Colorado head coach Tad Boyle and the Buffs could open the season in a tourney at Kansas State.

Whatever the schedule ultimately looks like for the Colorado men’s basketball team, it will not include a trip to Florida.

On Wednesday, head coach Tad Boyle confirmed the Buffaloes have withdrawn from the Fort Myers Tip-Off, the multi-team event in Florida that had assured the Buffs of at least one game against either Wisconsin or Butler. CU was scheduled to open the tournament against South Florida in Fort Myers, with a home game also set to be tied to the event.

While the Buffs will not be traveling to Florida, tentative plans are in place for CU to open the season with a two-game multi-team event hosted by Kansas State. Additionally, in regards to the rivalry game against Colorado State, Boyle has talked with CSU coach Niko Medved and said, “The Colorado State game will be played.”

Although Florida governor Ron DeSantis earlier this week made a controversial decision ordering his state’s economy to completely reopen despite spiking coronavirus numbers, Boyle said the decision to withdraw from the Fort Myers Tip-Off was less about health concerns than a simple schedule crunch.

The Buffs were set to play South Florida on Nov. 23 in Fort Myers, followed by the game against either Wisconsin or Butler two days later. But two weeks ago, the Division I Council settled on Nov. 25 as the start date for the 2020-21 season, so the Fort Myers tourney has been eyeing a later start. Boyle said his team was facing the prospect of facing either Butler or Wisconsin on Nov. 30 in Florida, then traveling directly to Tucson to open Pac-12 play at Arizona on Dec. 2.

CU also is scheduled to host Washington State on Dec. 5, which would have equated to three games in six days in three different cities.

“It wasn’t so much the hot spot,” Boyle said. “That can be fluid, but obviously getting on a plane and going there and having it be a hot spot is part of it. But the biggest thing was the date got changed. When the start of the season got moved to the 25th (of November), you’ve got four teams going there. And what’s best for three of the teams might not be best for the fourth team. Everybody has to be on the same page.

“The fact of the matter is, we’re supposed to play at Arizona on December the second. It just wasn’t going to work in terms of the days off and the travel.”

Instead, the tentative plan is to play a two-game event in Manhattan, Kan., to open the 2020-21 season, with games on Nov. 25 and Nov. 27. Although details of the event have yet to be finalized, it is expected to include the Buffs, Kansas State, and two mid-major programs. Boyle also noted it gives his team the flexibility to charter or plane or even take a bus.

Boyle remains confident the Buffs will be able to fill a full 27-game schedule but said two marquee events of the nonconference schedule — the Dec. 19 date against TCU in Las Vegas and the Dec. 22 home game against Kansas — remain up in the air. However, the annual rivalry matchup against CSU is expected to remain on the schedule as planned.

“I’m not at liberty right now to say what we’re going to do with the rest of (the games),” Boyle said. “We’re still in discussions. We’re in active negotiations daily. But Niko and I have talked, and that game will be played this year.”