The Colorado men's basketball team won't play the star-studded non-conference schedule that it did a year ago, but the Buffaloes hope it's a slate that makes their young team better.
On Monday, the Buffs (23-12 a year ago) announced their non-conference schedule for the 2014-15 season. It includes home dates with Drexel, Auburn, Air Force, Lipscomb, San Francisco, Colorado State and Northern Colorado and road dates with Wyoming and Georgia. The Buffs will also play three games in the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu from Dec. 22-25.
"Two things that you want out of your non-conference schedule, is the opportunity to win and prepare your team for conference play," CU head coach Tad Boyle said in a press release. "I think the schedule we have put together accomplishes both those goals. It's a very good non-conference schedule given the fact we have only one senior (Askia Booker) and the jury is still out on this team; it challenges us enough to have to bring it every night."
A year ago, the non-conference schedule included games with Big 12 powers Baylor, Kansas and Oklahoma State.
The Buffs will open the season on Nov. 14 at home against Drexel, which went 16-14 a year ago. In Game 2, they will host Auburn (14-16 last year) in the ESPN Tip-Off Marathon. That game will start at 11 p.m. MDT and will be broadcast on ESPN2.
"The 24-hour hoops event gets the college basketball season kicked off," Boyle said. "Anytime you get a chance to be on the ESPN Network, it's nothing but good things for your program and it's an opportunity for us to showcase the atmosphere of the Coors Events Center. A lot of people saw last year in the Kansas game, now we can show it in a different light.
"Hopefully our students will come out in force; it's going to be a late game and a little unusual, but again, hopefully we can get our season kicked off on the right foot."
None of the nine teams the Buffs are scheduled to face played in the NCAA Tournament a year ago. However, the Buffs could potentially face 2014 NCAA Tournament qualifiers George Washington, Nebraska and Wichita State during the Diamond Head Classic.