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Tad Boyle, CU Buffs sorting through “wild, wild west” in pursuit of 27-game schedule

Two-game MTE at Kansas State fills key spot on nonconference slate

Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer
Colorado head coach Tad Boyle and the Buffs still have four spots to fill on their schedule.

The Pac-12 Conference still doesn’t have a football schedule. At this rate, maybe the basketball schedule will come into focus first.

Earlier this week, Colorado men’s basketball coach Tad Boyle told BuffZone his team is tentatively scheduled to open the 2020-21 season at a multi-team event hosted by Kansas State. With teams scrambling to fill potential nonconference games amid the COVID-19 pandemic, expect more programs to attempt cobbling together regional multi-team events in hopes of filling a 27-game schedule.

Two weeks ago, the NCAA Division I Council approved a maximum of 27 games for the 2020-21 basketball season, with teams allowed 25 regular season games along with a two-game multi-team event or 24 regular season games with a three-game multi-team event. Squads unable to find a spot in any MTE bracket can schedule 25 games overall.

On Friday, CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reported that Washington State is looking to put together its own four-team, two-game multi-team event. “Scheduling for everybody is like the wild, wild west,” Boyle said, and the ability to coordinate testing protocols among regional foes in order to field a multi-team event is likely to become more prevalent as teams attempt to finalize schedules in the coming weeks.

The two-game, four team event at Kansas State is expected to include a pair of mid-major teams in addition to the Buffs and the host Wildcats. The first game will be held on college basketball’s opening night of Nov. 25, with the finale on Nov. 27. If the Buffs tip off against KSU, it will mark the teams’ first matchup since CU left the Big 12 Conference 10 years ago.

It will replace the Fort Myers Tip-Off on the Buffs’ schedule. CU had been set to play South Florida on Nov. 23 and either Butler or Wisconsin on Nov. 25, but the forced rescheduling of the Fort Myers event created too tight of a scheduling crunch for CU. The Buffs were facing the prospect of playing either Wisconsin or Butler on Nov. 30 in Florida before opening Pac-12 play just two days later at Arizona.

“It’s not etched in stone,” Boyle said of the Kansas State event. “Not all the contracts have been delivered yet, but we’ve had agreements verbally. That will be our multi-team event. We will be able to charter there or bus there depending on the situation come November, and hopefully make that thing happen.”

Assuming the Pac-12 goes forward with its move to a 20-game league schedule this season, the Buffs still have four open slots to fill on their 2020-21 schedule. In addition to the two games at Kansas State, Boyle said the rivalry game against Colorado State will proceed as scheduled in Boulder in early December. The Dec. 22 home date against Kansas as well as the Dec. 19 game against TCU in Las Vegas are two matchups still up in the air.

“It will come together. The goal is to get all 27 games filled,” Boyle said. “I think we owe it to our players to get that done. And that’s what I plan on doing. We should have a much better feel, I’m hoping, by the middle of next week. That’s what I’m hoping for. I think the whole key is we have to do our league schedule, number one. That’s priority number one. And an MTE is priority number two. And then we’ve got to fill in the rest. I feel like we’re at that fill-in-the-rest part and we’re in the process of doing that. But you can’t fill in the rest until you know your league schedule.”