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Nonconference schedule revealed for CU Buffs men’s basketball

South Dakota steps in to face Buffs on opening night

CU athletics
The Colorado men’s basketball team will begin play in the 2020-21 season on Nov. 25, against South Dakota in Manhattan, Kansas.
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The Colorado men’s basketball team found a new dance partner for opening night.

And with that all-important void in the schedule filled, the remainder of the Buffaloes’ nonconference schedule has finally been revealed less than two weeks before college basketball’s opening day.

On Monday, the Buffs released their nonconference schedule a scant nine days ahead of opening night, a slate highlighted by an opening game against South Dakota and the second straight year of playing a Pac-12 Conference rival in a nonconference game.

CU will open its 118th season of basketball as planned on Nov. 25, with South Dakota stepping in for South Dakota State at the Little Apple Classic in Manhattan, Kansas. SDSU bailed on the multi-team event earlier this month to play at a different MTE closer to home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. CU will play the host Kansas State Wildcats on Nov. 27 and has faced South Dakota just once, posting an 82-58 win two years ago in Boulder.

“We were scrambling, but we were fortunate enough to get one to make it a four-team tournament (at Kansas State),” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “The fallback would’ve been Drake, K-State and us would’ve just done a three-team round robin. It works out for all involved.”

The Buffs will play their first two games of their first 20-game Pac-12 schedule the following week, visiting Arizona on Dec. 2 and hosting Washington State on Dec. 5.

CU then plays three consecutive regional foes at home, beginning with a Dec. 8 game against Colorado State in a rivalry Boyle previously said would remain on the schedule. The Buffs host former teammate Daylen Kountz and the Northern Colorado Bears on Dec. 14 followed by a home date two days later against Omaha.

As reported last week by BuffZone, the Buffs will complete the nonconference portion of their schedule with two games at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in the Great West Classic, beginning with a Dec. 20 matchup against Pac-12 rival Washington in a game that will be played as a nonconference game. As was the case last year when the Buffs matched up against Arizona State in the Pac-12’s annual game in China, CU is slated to play the Huskies just once this season, allowing for the squads to pair off in a quality nonconference matchup.

Like the Buffs, Washington was scheduled to play a Big 12 foe (Oklahoma) in Las Vegas at the Pac-12’s new Coast to Coast Challenge, so it was an easy pivot for CU and UW when that event was canceled.

“When all three Big 12 teams pulled out of that, we were all looking around that we have to play somebody,” Boyle said. “We already play Oregon twice and we don’t want to play them three times. They don’t want to play us three times. So Washington and us, we gave each other a couple weeks to find another game against a Power 5 school. After two weeks went by and we didn’t have anything, we decided to play each other.”

The Pac-12 released its weekly pairings nearly three weeks ago, with the Buffs opening the more traditional portion of the league schedule on the road against the Los Angeles teams over New Year’s weekend. The Buffs play their next four games at home against the Oregon and Bay Area schools. CU plays five of its final seven regular season games on the road, including the program’s first four-game road trip within league play in over 70 years.

CU Buffs men’s basketball 2020-21 Pac-12 schedule

(Times, TV info TBD except as noted; Home games in CAPS)

NOV. 25 — vs. South Dakota (at Kansas State, 6 p.m. MT; TV TBD)

NOV. 27 — at Kansas State (6:30 p.m. MT, ESPNU)

DEC. 2 — at Arizona*

DEC. 5 — WASHINGTON STATE *

DEC. 8 — COLORADO STATE

DEC. 14 — NORTHERN COLORADO

DEC. 16 — OMAHA

DEC. 20 — vs. Washington (Far West Classic, T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas)

DEC. 22 — vs. Grand Canyon (Far West Classic, T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas)

*Pac-12 Conference game

Remainder of Pac-12 Conference pairings

(Specific dates, matchups, times TBD)

DEC. 30-Jan. 3 — at UCLA/USC

JAN. 6-10 — OREGON/OREGON STATE

JAN. 13-17 — CAL/STANFORD

JAN. 20-24 — at Washington/Washington State

JAN. 27-31 — UTAH

FEB. 3-7 — ARIZONA/ARIZONA STATE

FEB. 10-14 — at Cal/Stanford

FEB. 17-21 — at Oregon/Oregon State

FEB. 24-28 — UCLA/USC

MARCH 6-7 — at Utah

MARCH 10-13 — Pac-12 Conference tournament, T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas.