The entire landscape of the 2020-21 college basketball was upended by COVID-19, which also impacted scheduling, locations, etc. While the season is slated to start on Nov. 25, schedules have been slow to be unveiled, to the point where we still don’t have a very good idea of who the Gophers will be playing in the non-conference portion of their season, let alone conference opponents.
Minnesota previously had a couple opponents confirmed for this year, who were on the docket before the pandemic screwed everything up, so it remains to be seen if and how they are rescheduled (Mississippi State and Saint Louis, specifically). Here’s what we do know:
At the very least we know that the Mohegan Sun Hall of Fame Tip-Off, which the Gophers are part of, is still expected to be played, albeit in a bubble scenario. So that means Minnesota has at least two games confirmed. However, as of this morning Minnesota’s first opponent, UCF, withdrew from the event in favor of a more local tournament. Where does that leave Minnesota? Hard to say.
Presumably, that leaves the other two participants, Rhode Island and Marquette, as potential opponents. What was supposed to be a four-team tournament now looks like it could be a round-robin scenario if it is played.
So, two games, one versus Marquette and one versus Rhode Island, will likely be played.
The Big Ten/ACC Challenge is also expected to be played in early December. The opponent and location is still unknown for now.
What’s up in the air?
Minnesota had entered into a home-and-home agreement with Mississippi State, with the Bulldogs expected to come to Minneapolis in 2020. Will that still occur? Unclear.
Minnesota had also expected to host Saint Louis, which is also up in the air. The shortened non-conference season has teams revisiting their schedules across the board to see what can work.
Another possibility of adding games is through the Hall of Fame Tip-Off. Much like other tournaments, there is an “extended” group of teams that are contracted to play games outside of the actual hosted event but are still considered part of it. In this case, LIU, Albany, Liberty and Quinnipiac are contracted to the event and could be in play for scheduling purposes. In fact, LIU was on Minnesota’s schedule early on before it was blown up. The existing relationship between these teams and the HOF Tip-Off might make scheduling a bit easier.
Other than that, there has been very little news coming out about schedules, almost across the board. Low-major teams are beginning to let them trickle out, which could indicate some movement in the bigger conferences soon.
Hopefully we will know more soon!