MOSCOW – The Idaho men’s basketball team will play 29 regular season games, including 14 home games and 18 Big Sky Conference games in 2014-15, as head coach Don Verlin announced the slate Wednesday.
The Vandals open the season at home against Eastern Oregon on Nov. 14 and also play non-conference home games against South Dakota State (Nov. 17), Northern Kentucky (Nov. 29), UC Davis (Dec. 6) and Walla Walla (Dec. 18).
“Once again we’ve put together a challenging non-conference schedule,” Verlin said. “We have a little bit better balance this year than we did last year in that we don’t play more than two consecutive road games, which should help a team that’s going to have some new starters and young guys, especially on the front line.”
Idaho’s non-conference schedule also includes rivalry games at Boise State (Nov. 25) and Washington State (Dec. 3), return games at South Dakota State (Dec. 13) and Northern Kentucky (Dec. 22), and games at Northern Illinois (Nov. 20) and Western Illinois (Dec. 11).
“As always we’re really excited -- and I know the players are as well -- about the Boise State game and the Washington State game,” Verlin added. “Those are games that we look forward to and are exciting for not only the coaches and the players, but I’m sure the fans as well.”
The Vandals will rejoin the Big Sky Conference after a 19-year absence, beginning with three consecutive home conference games against Idaho State (Jan. 1), Weber State (Jan. 3) and Eastern Washington (Jan. 10). Idaho will play home-and-home series against Idaho State, Weber State, Eastern Washington, Montana, Montana State, Portland State and Sacramento State, and face North Dakota, Northern Colorado, Northern Arizona and Southern Utah once each during conference play.
“We have familiarity with Montana, Idaho State, Portland State and Eastern Washington, teams that we’ve played recently,” Verlin said. “The regional rivalries will be exciting for our fans, who would much rather see us play conference teams like Montana, Montana State, Eastern Washington and Idaho State. Rejoining the Big Sky will be exciting for our players and our fans.”
The 2015 Big Sky Tournament will be hosted by the league’s regular season champion Mar. 12-14. The league’s top eight teams will qualify for the tournament, with the winner earning the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.