Friday, July 2, 2021

July 2 Update:

Conference Challenge News and More

In this transition week between June and July scheduling news is starting to pick up, not so much in the teams releasing schedules but in other news. This week the ACC/B1G Challenge match-ups were released, a few MTE schedules dropped and on top of that schedule hounds like the Docket and beat writers have a dug up a slew of games. Among all the noise, four teams were able to release their non-conference schedule.

Ole Miss got in on the game early by releasing their home schedule on Monday, but by the end of the week their complete schedule was released with the announcement of the Holiday Hoopsgiving event details. The Rebels will only have to leave Oxford for their trip to South Carolina for the Charleston Classic and their trip to Atlanta for the above mentioned event, will they will meet perennial SEC spoilers Western Kentucky. COVID delays means that Ole Miss' games against Memphis and Dayton will both be at home during the same season. The Rebels also drew a home game in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, hosting Kansas State at home in late January. The rest of the home slate is filled with guarantee games and the return game with Middle Tennessee from the Kermit Davis buy-out series.

Conference mates Iowa State and Kansas State both also joined the party this week as both teams look to crawl out of the Big 12's basement this season. The Cyclones will get baptized during the first week of the season when Oregon State visits Ames fresh off their Elite 8 run. Conference challenge games against Creighton and Missouri along with their rivalry game with Iowa will be Iowa State's shot to make a statement that last season is behind them. Getting a win against a NIT Tip-Off field of Memphis, Virginia Tech and Xavier will be a tough task but any success will be an indicator of improvement. Kansas State's road to an NCAA resume relies on knocking off Arkansas and or Illinois in front a Wildcat heavy crowd at the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City, MO. Their remaining higher profile match-ups are all road games at Wichita State, Nebraska and Ole Miss. Both Iowa State and Kansas State fill out a large share of their schedule with buy-games, looking to keep their overall win-loss record strong going into conference play.

George Mason also released their schedule, which would not surprise regular readers as the bulk of George Mason's games have been nailed down for a few weeks. What the Patriots were waiting is the schedule for the Crossover Classic which was announced within their schedule. The Patriots open with Washington and close with the hosts, South Dakota State, sandwiched around their game with Nevada. 

The biggest news this week, however, was the release of the ACC/B1G Challenge games, being the last to feature Coach K's Duke and the first since 2002 without Roy Williams. Duke drew a road game at Ohio State, being their first trip to Columbus since running into the Jared Sullinger buzz-saw in 2011. Juwan Howard will take Michigan into the Dean Dome for Hubert Davis' first go-round in the competition as North Carolina's head coach. Other big match-ups include Louisville at Michigan State, Wisconsin at Georgia Tech, Iowa at Virginia and Florida State at Purdue

Contract Duffle Bag

It was a slow week for receiving contracts, with most responsive documents only including one or two games which have been tweeted out as received. But one bonafide duffle-bag did arrive.

Western Illinois

The Leathernecks have a built a schedule filled with regional contemporaries, among the 8 games committed to this season 3 are part of home & homes with close opponents, while two more neighbors are being played as part of a round-robin MTE. Western Illinois opens up on the road at Nebraska and will also visit DePaul as part of their MTE. Also of note, while the original contract signed in 2019 with Miami-Ohio stipulated a December 4th game this season a contract which can be assumed to supersede that deal was signed last November which shifts this year's game date into the realm of uncertainty. A game at Central Michigan on December 5th puts the idea of playing that game on December 4th on very shaky ground.

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