The University of California, Riverside's men’s and women’s basketball teams have released their Big West Conference 2020-21 schedules.
The Big West Conference added a pandemic-era qualifier to the men’s and women’s schedules: “Dates are subject to any necessary state and local approvals. All 11-member institutions will play 20 conference games under a modified format that will reduce travel and emphasize the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and staff."
The schedule will have men’s and women’s teams competing against the same universities on consecutive days at one site, with most games on Fridays and Saturdays. The schedules will be over 11 weeks. Games won’t be rescheduled if a team undergoes quarantine.
Teams will begin the season without spectators, a Big West decision that will be revisited as the season progresses.
"I appreciate the Big West Conference and the leadership at UC Riverside making this schedule and this season happen,” said Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Magpayo, in his first season as head coach. “It will have a little bit of an NBA Playoff feel, playing the same team on back-to-back nights.”
Conference play will commence for the Highlanders men's team with back-to-back home games against Long Beach State University on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28. Regular-season conference competition will end on March 6. The full schedule is posted on the Highlanders web site.
The men’s team is coming off a 17-win season, a UCR program record.
“We have seven returning players who have started games for us at some point in the last two years, so we should be comfortable playing our Big West rivals,” Magpayo said.
Women’s coach Nicole Powell, also in her first season at UCR, said the team is “ecstatic” to have a schedule this year. The full women’s schedule is also on the Highlanders web site.
Their season tips off on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28 on the road at Long Beach State University.
“I am absolutely thrilled we are able to have a season,” Powell said. “This year has been so difficult for everybody in so many ways.”
Coach Powell was named the Highlanders head coach in March after serving in the same role at Grand Canyon University.
The 2021 Big West Basketball Tournament is scheduled to begin Wednesday, March 10 and play to Saturday, March 13 at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Eight men's and eight women's teams will compete under one roof over the four days.