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Nonconference schedule nearing finish line for CU Buffs men’s basketball

Tad Boyle to begin 11th season at home of once-familiar foe

BOULDER, CO - JANUARY 5, 2020:  Colorado's Tad Boyle watches the clock tick away in the loss to  Oregon State  during the game in Boulder on January 5, 2020.
 (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
BOULDER, CO – JANUARY 5, 2020: Colorado’s Tad Boyle watches the clock tick away in the loss to Oregon State during the game in Boulder on January 5, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

The 118th season of men’s basketball at Colorado is expected to begin in the home of a once-familiar foe.

As BuffZone reported last week, coach Tad Boyle will begin his 11th season leading the Buffaloes at a four team, two game multi-team event hosted by Kansas State. On Wednesday, Boyle said the Buffs are just one game away from finalizing their seven-game nonconference schedule, though he declined to share details. Last week, Boyle said the state rivalry matchup against Colorado State will be played as planned at the CU Events Center, and the Buffs also will play two games in Manhattan, Kan., tipping off on college basketball’s opening night on Nov. 25 and playing again two days later.

While Boyle still would not say if previously scheduled games like a home matchup against Kansas, or the Pac-12 Coast to Coast Challenge against TCU, remain part of the equation, he did note his program is waiting to see if the Pac-12 will move forward with its first season of a 20-game league schedule before inking in that final game. That could mean the TCU date, originally set for Dec. 19 in Las Vegas, remains in play.

“The schedule being moved back from the 10th to November 25th has kind of compressed things. And then not knowing your league schedules has brought another level of uncertainty,” Boyle said. “Right now, we have one nonconference game to get. We’ve solidified the MTE. We’ve solidified four of the (other) five nonconference games. But there’s one of those five we don’t have a date for yet. And until we get the conference schedule, we won’t be able to plug that date in.”

CBS Sports reported earlier this week the other two teams involved in the Kansas State MTE will be South Dakota State and Drake, though at least one of those teams have yet to finalize its contract. If the tournament-style event opts for matchups based on last year’s final NET rankings, CU (25) would match up with Drake (156), with Kansas State (99) taking on South Dakota State (126).

Assuming the other two teams indeed are Drake and South Dakota State, the Buffs have posted memorable wins against both programs in recent seasons. CU topped Drake early in both the 2017-18 season and the 2018-19 season, the first of which featured current Colorado State coach Niko Medved as the Bulldogs’ leader. On Dec. 15, 2017, the Buffs defeated South Dakota State 112-103 in double overtime behind a near-triple-double from McKinley Wright IV (a career-high 30 points, 11 assists, nine rebounds).

A potential matchup with Kansas State will be the 145th in program history. The Buffs have played only four teams more frequently — Kansas (164), Missouri (151), and Nebraska and Iowa State (148 each).  The Wildcats finished last in the Big 12 last season, going 11-21 overall and 3-15 in league play. The former rivals haven’t met since CU’s final season in the Big 12 in 2010-11, with the Buffs going 3-0 that season (Boyle’s first at CU) against the Wildcats.