UH basketball teams to play conference series back-to-back

Under a modified formula, the University of Hawaii basketball teams will play a Big West Conference schedule of five two-game series at home and five two-game series away, the league announced Wednesday.

Unlike past seasons, when games were played primarily Thursdays and Saturdays, to reduce travel during the pandemic the revised 2020-21 schedule calls for games to be played against the same opponent and at the same site mostly on Fridays and Saturdays rather than in the customary round-robin home-and-home format.

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The UH men’s and women’s teams will face the same opponents but at opposite sites. For example, the Rainbow Warriors will play host to Cal Poly on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28 while the Rainbow Wahine will face the Mustangs on those same nights in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Games will be played without fans in attendance to start the season, but that will be revisited later. A bye week is built into an 11-week schedule. Games will not be rescheduled should one team be forced to quarantine because of the coronavirus, the conference said.

“The Big West Board of Directors did due diligence in examining all of the factors involved in a safe and responsible return to competition, with basketball being the pilot moving forward,” conference commissioner Dan Butterly said in a statement.

“The Big West Conference understands the need for consistent and multi-layered levels of testing protocols that put safety at the forefront of our member institutions. Cognizant of state and county restrictions and the NCAA Core Principles of Resocialization of College Basketball, we feel we have a plan in place that will adhere to those matters.”

Butterly thanked Dr. Jim Borchers from the U.S. Council for Athletes’ Heath for his assistance during the process of scheduling the men’s and women’s conference games. Scheduling nonconference games is “at the discretion” of the individual schools, the conference said. Travel is expected to be limited.

Standardized coronavirus testing for players, coaches and staff members throughout the conference was one of the issues that needed to be addressed. Limiting travel and removing the traditional Friday off-day between games was another significant issue.

“We’ve been working on testing protocols for everyone,” Long Beach State athletic director Andy Fee told the Southern California News Group. “The weird one, the one you wouldn’t ever have thought about before now is whose policy do you use outside of the conference? Is UCLA testing us? Or are we bringing our own tests with us?”

Rainbow Warriors’ Big West Schedule

Dec. 27, 28—Cal Poly

Jan. 8, 9—At UC Riverside

Jan. 15, 16—Cal State Bakersfield

Jan. 22, 23—At Cal State Fullerton

Jan. 29, 30—UC Irvine

Feb. 5, 6—At UC San Diego

Feb. 12, 13—UC Santa Barbara

Feb. 19, 20—At Cal State Northridge

Feb. 26, 27—Long Beach State

March 5, 6—At UC Davis

Rainbow Wahine’s Big West Schedule

Dec. 27, 28—At Cal Poly

Jan. 8, 9—UC Riverside

Jan. 15, 16—At Cal State Bakersfield

Jan. 22, 23—Cal State Fullerton

Jan. 29, 30—At UC Irvine

Feb. 5, 6—UC San Diego

Feb. 12, 13—At UC Santa Barbara

Feb. 19, 20—Cal State Northridge

Feb. 26, 27—At Long Beach State

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March 5, 6—UC Davis

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Orange County Register contributed to this report.

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