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NAU, Big Sky announce 2020-21 basketball schedule format

Northern Arizona guard Cameron Shelton (20) drives past Arizona guard Josh Green during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The NAU men’s and women’s basketball teams announced their 20-game conference schedules and the new format for the 2020-21 season.

They will play against each Big Sky Conference team twice and have a home-and-home series with two opponents. Scheduling changes from a typical year will lead to a reduction in travel and expenses, NAU said Thursday.

Both the men’s and women’s teams will begin their seasons on Dec. 3 against Eastern Washington. The men’s team will open at Walkup Skydome while the women’s team will be in Cheney, Washington.

To limit travel, teams will play the same matchup at the same location in consecutive games. NAU will play Eastern Washington twice in a row, on Dec. 3 and 5, before facing off against Idaho for a pair of games.

There will be a long break between that Dec. 5 game and the Idaho matchups, which will take place Dec. 31 and Jan. 2.

After that break in December, games will take place every Thursday and Saturday until Feb. 27.

The home-and-home games will come against Northern Colorado on Jan. 28 and 30 and Southern Utah on Feb. 25 and 27.

Big Sky commissioner Tom Wistrcill said in a statement that the schedule prioritized a reduction in road trips.

“Our administrators – especially those on our basketball committee – worked tirelessly to vet multiple schedule models, and the feedback that we received from our head coaches, two student-athletes from every team, our Health and Safety Committee, and our certified athletic trainers proved invaluable throughout the process,” Wistrcill said.

The men’s and women’s teams have parallel schedules, facing the same matchups but playing at opposite locations. Here are the full schedules:

NAU men’s basketball schedule

Dec. 3 and Dec. 5 – Eastern Washington
Dec. 31 and Jan. 2 – at Idaho
Jan. 7 and Jan. 9 – Idaho State
Jan. 14 and Jan. 16 – at Montana
Jan. 21 and Jan. 23 – Montana State
Jan. 28 – Northern Colorado
Jan. 30 – at Northern Colorado
Feb. 4 and Feb. 6 – at Sacramento State
Feb. 11 and Feb. 13 – Portland State
Feb. 18 and Feb. 20 – at Weber State
Feb. 25 – at Southern Utah
Feb. 27 – Southern Utah
March 4 and March 6 – Open

NAU women’s basketball schedule

Dec. 3 and Dec. 5 – at Eastern Washington
Dec. 31 and Jan. 2 – Idaho
Jan. 7 and Jan. 9 – at Idaho State
Jan. 14 and Jan. 16 – Montana
Jan. 21 and Jan. 23 – at Montana State
Jan. 28 – at Northern Colorado
Jan. 30 – Northern Colorado
Feb. 4 and Feb. 6 – Sacramento State
Feb. 11 and Feb. 13 – at Portland State
Feb. 18 and Feb. 20 – Weber State
Feb. 25 – Southern Utah
Feb. 27 – at Southern Utah
March 3 and March 5 – Open


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