Photo by Sarah Sanchez
Coming off a season in which the UVU men’s basketball team got its first-ever win in the WAC tournament and came within a 4OT decision from the WAC championship game, the team has released its schedule for the upcoming season.
Following the yearly Midnight Madness event on Oct. 13, the Wolverines will begin the nonconference schedule with what has been branded the toughest 24 hours in college basketball history. In an unprecedented feat in UVU history, the team will travel to Lexington, Kentucky and Durham, North Carolina to take on the University of Kentucky and Duke within the span of a day on Nov. 10-11.
Following that daunting trip against two of the most historic programs in NCAA history, the rest of the nonconference schedule comparatively isn’t nearly as intimidating. The other game that jumps off the page will take place Nov. 29 when the BYU Cougars make their first-ever trip to the UCCU Center. They’ll be looking to avenge their 114-101 loss to the Wolverines in the Marriott Center in 2016. Weber State will also visit UVU Dec. 6. Home court has been significant historically with the Wildcats; the Wolverines are 4-0 at home and 0-6 on the road in the series.
Missing from the schedule are in-state opponents Utah State and the University of Utah. The Wolverines gave the Aggies and Utes all they could handle last season, but ultimately finished 1-3 during the complete Beehive State gauntlet.
The nonconference schedule also includes two other games against teams that made trips to the NCAA tournament last season by virtue of conference tournament titles. The first is a home game against California Davis Nov. 18, and the second is a road matchup with North Dakota Nov. 25.
After wrapping up nonconference play, the Wolverines will have a great opportunity to get off on the right foot in WAC play. Within the first week of conference play, UVU will welcome Cal State Bakersfield, Missouri-Kansas City and Chicago State to the friendly confines of the UCCU Center before taking its first WAC road trip Jan. 18-20, including the first matchup of the season against defending WAC tournament champion New Mexico State.
With Grand Canyon University being eligible for postseason play for the first time since joining the WAC, games against the Lopes Jan. 27 and Feb. 24 will have a little extra meaning. The Wolverines haven’t beaten GCU since sweeping the Lopes in the 2013-14 season. Since then, UVU has been on a six-game losing streak against GCU.