With the COVID-19 pandemic finally showing signs of slowing down in the United States and stadiums and arenas returning to full capacity, it’s never too early to start thinking about the return of a normal college basketball season this fall.
And the return of a normal college basketball season means the return of a normal non-conference schedule. The start of last season was delayed due to the pandemic causing scheduling issues resulting in cancellations, rescheduling, and plenty of headaches.
COVID-19 is still playing a bit of a role in scheduling this spring as Green Bay only has two signed contracts for next season so far, though more are in the works.
One of those contracts is for a multi-team event (MTE) in Florida in November, the Jersey Mike’s Classic, which will be held on the campus of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg from November 18th through the 21st. The Phoenix will play three games as part of the event, however those three opponents are not known at this time.
The event is run by Van Wagner Sports and has previously been played in Jamaica. While it was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, the 2019 event featured eight teams including Nicholls State, North Carolina A&T, UMBC, Eastern Michigan, North Texas, Rhode Island, LSU, and Utah State with each game being broadcast on CBS Sports Network.
It will be Green Bay’s first true neutral court non-conference tournament since 2014 when they won the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Florida and followed it up with a second place finish at the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic in Las Vegas a month later.
The Phoenix also have a signed contract to play a guarantee game at Kansas State on December 12. The Wildcats, coached by Wisconsin native Bruce Weber, are coming off a 9-20 season that ended in a 74-68 loss in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals to eventual national champion Baylor.
It will be the fourth meeting all-time between Green Bay and K-State with the Wildcats winning 80-61 in the most recent meeting back in 2016. The Phoenix lone victory in the series came in a 68-64 victory at the Resch Center back on December 7, 2002.
In addition to the three game MTE in Florida and the buy game at Kansas State, the Phoenix will also play a buy game at Minnesota on December 22nd according to a report from the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Green Bay fell in the season opener against the Gophers last season.
With a 22-game Horizon League schedule this season, that leaves four non-conference games left to fill.
The Phoenix were slated to start a home-and-home series with Northern Iowa last season but the first game of the series was cancelled due to COVID issues within the UNI program, likely scrapping that contract. It is unclear what the status of that potential series is today.
However, Green Bay is due a home game as the second part of a home-and-home series previously signed with Montana State. The Phoenix won 98-72 in Bozeman in 2019 and the Bobcats were set to play in Green Bay last November but the delayed start to the season and a move to more regional-based non-conference scheduling nixed that game.
Green Bay also was scheduled to face Northern Illinois last season at the Resch Center but that game, like the Montana State game, became a victim of schedule shuffling and didn’t happen.
It is also unclear if the Horizon League-Summit League Showdown will take place this year. The event, which was announced in March of 2019 to begin last season, did not end up happening. Each Horizon League team was to play two Summit League opponents as part of the event but the Horizon has since expanded to 12-teams – including poaching Purdue Fort Wayne from the Summit League since the announcement – while the Summit now stands at 10-teams after the addition of Division III school St. Thomas in the Twin Cities.