The UC Riverside Men's Basketball Team has released its 2019-20 . This season's campaign under second-year head coach David Patrick features a 16-game non-conference slate for the Highlanders with eight of those contests scheduled to be played in front of a home crowd in the Highlanders' SRC Arena. The eight home games are the most the team has had since the 2015-16 season.
"I think having a challenging home schedule gives us an opportunity to be tested early on our home floor and gives us an opportunity to grow as a team in front of our home fans," Patrick said. "I believe these eight home games will prepare our student-athletes for a tough Big West Conference schedule and build a great environment with our fans in the SRC Arena."
The season kicks off on the road at Nebraska on Nov. 5, in the first-ever meeting between the Highlanders and the Cornhuskers. It will also be the first of two contests against Power Five schools, the second being UC Riverside taking on Pac-12 opponent Washington State on Dec. 15.
"Our first frame of the season will be a great challenge for our group," Patrick said. "The environment on opening night in front of 15,000 fans in Lincoln, Nebraska, will be a great experience and an opportunity to get better."
The Highlanders' home opener is scheduled for Nov. 9, when the team welcomes Idaho to SRC Arena. UCR will cap off the month of November with four straight home games against Redlands (Nov. 21), Denver (Nov. 23), Longwood (Nov. 26), and Southern Illinois – Edwardsville (Nov. 29).
Early December brings the annual "Crosstown Showdown" against California Baptist University. This time however, the Highlanders will make their way across town on Southern California's 91 Freeway to face the Lancers in their home arena. The battle between the two City of Riverside rivals is set for the night of December 4.
Just before getting to Big West play, UCR will face another tough road trip that features San Jose State (Dec. 22), Fresno State (Dec. 28) and Air Force (Dec. 29).
"Our three road games around Christmas will be a great indicator of where we are as a team," Patrick said. "All of those teams are going to give us a good game, especially on their home floor. If we can win those, we will have some good momentum heading into Conference play."
Big West Conference play begins on the road for the Highlanders who will visit UC Davis on January 9. From there, UCR will begin its home-and-home match-ups with all eight conference opponents before the Big West Conference Tournament on March 12.
Now just over a month away from the start of the second season in the David Patrick era, it is clear the leader of the Highlanders is expecting a huge improvement from his team in year two.
"I think as a coach you want to see growth in your team in year two, on and off the floor," Patrick said. "I believe our freshman who played significant minutes last year can continue to improve and our four student-athletes who transferred in will give us a different look with their previous Division I experience."
"I also believe that our two seniors, Dikymbe Martin and Khy Kabellis, will have winning senior seasons and leave our program with a great experience and degrees from the University of California, Riverside in their hands. Finally, if we can make strides on the defensive end of the floor with our added size and athleticism, it should put us in a great position to compete with the best in the Big West Conference."