There are less than eight days until the start of the 2020-21 college basketball season. And scheduling issues continue to be a problem especially for teams dealing with COVID restrictions in their home state. Just ask New Mexico State who may possibly play its 2020-21 season in either Phoenix or Las Vegas. However, for Seattle and Grand Canyon, the schedules have come together rather nicely.
Seattle put out its full schedule on Nov. 6 that features a home-and-home with a West Coast Conference opponent. Grand Canyon released its schedule on Monday and first-year head coach Bryce Drew isn’t afraid to play anyone.
Let’s take a look at the recent scheduling news.
Lopes to Play Most Non-Conference Games at Home….Again
For the first time in program history in the Division I era, GCU will play crosstown foe Arizona State. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the game will be played in a mostly empty GCU Arena. GCU hasn’t released any information on whether fans will be able to attend. But, Paul Coro, on the newest episode of the WAC Hoops Digest podcast, said it will be limited due to COVID protocols. Could you imagine the atmosphere if GCU Arena was full when the Sun Devils come to town?
— GCU Men's Basketball (@GCU_MBB) November 16, 2020
Bryce Drew put together a challenging schedule, nonetheless. The Lopes will host Grambling State, Mississippi Valley State and Prairie View A&M. Former WAC school Nevada travels to the desert on Dec. 11, two nights before Arizona State comes to GCU Arena. One week later, GCU travels to Las Vegas to face San Francisco and Colorado at T-Mobile Arena. And for those at home paying attention, former Lope Damari Milstead is the starting point guard at San Francisco. Milstead will face his replacement in WAC Freshman of the Year Jovan Blacksher Jr. That will be a fun matchup to watch.
The Lopes take on Denver in Phoenix on Dec. 29 in the final tuneup before conference play begins. However, the Lopes have one more non-conference game on the slate right in the middle of WAC play. On its off-weekend from WAC play, GCU hosts CSU Northridge on Feb. 12.
New Mexico State 2020-21 Season Still in Limbo
The defending WAC champions have some scheduling issues they are dealing with. Most of these scheduling issues come because of COVID-19 restrictions in the state of New Mexico. And because of these restrictions, the Aggies might not even play in Las Cruces in 2020-21. There are reports that the Aggies are looking at either Phoenix or Las Vegas as places to play their 2020-21 season.
Quick update on New Mexico State basketball: The Aggies have narrowed their relocation search down to Phoenix and Las Vegas. They’re hoping to know more by the end of the day tomorrow.
— Justin Martinez (@JTheSportsDude) November 16, 2020
Martinez talked about the issues facing the Aggies right now on a recent episode of the podcast. Chris Jans is frustrated as are his players who posted tweets to just let them play that have since been taken down. There should be more news on this front in the coming days. But for now, scheduling remains an issue as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on the World.
Home-and-Home vs. WCC Highlight Seattle Schedule
Seattle U head coach Jim Hayford makes it a must to play two Pac-12 schools each season. And, Seattle will do just that. The Redhawks play at UCLA on Dec. 3 and at Washington on Dec. 9. All in all, Seattle has 11 non-conference games. Two against WCC foe Portland in a home-and-home series. In fact, the Redhawks open their season in Portland where they will play Idaho and Cal Poly.
“We worked very hard to put together a quality non-conference schedule and we’re excited to have a full schedule of games,” said Hayford, who enters his fourth seasons at Seattle U and 22nd overall as a head coach. “We’ll be playing teams that represent all five DI conferences on the West Coast, which will prepare us well for a very competitive WAC season.”
Let’s try this again (with a small correction).
On this #NationalBasketballDay, we announce our non-conference schedule!
— Seattle U Men's Basketball (@seattleumbb) November 6, 2020
Following the trip to Portland to open the season, Seattle travels to Las Vegas to take on Air Force and CSU Northridge in the 2020 Men’s Vegas Bubble. The Redhawks then take a trip to California for the UCLA contest and a game at Long Beach State on Dec. 6. Following that California trip, Seattle returns home to play three straight games at the Redhawk Center against two non-DI opponents and Portland. The final tuneup before conference play comes Dec. 30 at Portland.