Less than two weeks before the first day of the 2020-21 NCAA basketball season, BYU has its nonconference schedule.
Cougars coach Mark Pope announced the team’s nonconference slate during a Zoom press conference Thursday, and it finalizes an 11-game schedule before BYU gets into West Coast Conference play.
While some of the details about the nonconference schedule had already been announced, among the highlights are a Dec. 12 matchup with Utah in Provo, road trips to Utah State (Dec. 5) and San Diego State (Dec. 18), and a two-game swing at the Legends Classic at Mohegan Sun casino and resort in Uncasville, Connecticut, to start December.
The Cougars will play five in-state teams before hitting league play, including Westminster (Nov. 25) in the season opener, Utah Valley (Nov. 28), the games a week apart against Utah and Utah State, and a neutral-site matchup against Weber State (Dec. 23) at the Utah Jazz’s arena. BYU will be looking to avenge a 102-95 overtime loss to the Utes last year in Salt Lake City, when the Cougars led by as many as 14 points in the second half before Utah rallied.
This is the third straight year that the Cougars will play former Mountain West Conference foe San Diego State. The Aztecs won their matchup the past two years, including a victory at Viejas Arena two years ago and a 76-71 BYU setback at the Marriott Center last season. San Diego State went on to a 30-2 record last year, winning the Mountain West regular-season title and rising as high as No. 4 in the national polls.
Last week, BYU learned it would face the Pac-12’s USC on Dec. 1 in its opening game of the Legends Classic, followed by a contest against either UConn and Vanderbilt two days later.
Home games against New Orleans (Nov. 26, Thanksgiving), Boise State (Dec. 9) and Texas Southern (Dec. 21) fill out the remainder of the Cougars’ nonconference schedule.
The school has not announced any details about the possibility of fans attending home games, with COVID-19 numbers rising at an alarming rate in the state. This week, both Weber State and Southern Utah have announced they will play basketball games through the end of the calendar year without fans in attendance.
Here’s a look at the full nonconference schedule:
Nov. 25 — Westminster
Nov. 26 — New Orleans
Nov. 28 — Utah Valley
Dec. 1 — vs. USC (Legends Classic)
Dec. 3 — vs. UConn/Vanderbilt (Legends Classic)
Dec. 5 — at Utah State
Dec. 9 — Boise State
Dec. 12 — Utah
Dec. 18 — at San Diego State
Dec. 21 — Texas Southern
Dec. 23 — vs. Weber State (Vivint Smart Home Arena)
BYU begins its 16-game WCC schedule on Dec. 31 with a game scheduled at Pepperdine. In recent weeks, both The Oregonian’s John Canzano and CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein have reported the WCC is actively exploring holding conference play in a bubble environment in Las Vegas. There has been no official announcement on that possibility.
When asked about the possibility of a Vegas bubble nearly two weeks ago, Pope said, “I don’t know what I am allowed to confirm or deny. … I know the WCC is exploring every possible option to give us the best chance to get through league play. That’s the truth.”