Buffs To Participate In Little Apple Classic To Kick Off Season
BOULDER--Colorado will tip off the 2020-21 men's basketball with a trip to Manhattan, Kan., and participate in the inaugural Little Apple Classic on Wednesday and Friday, Nov. 25 and 27. The field will include old conference foe and host Kansas State, South Dakota State and Drake.
The Buffs will face South Dakota State on Wednesday and renew the old rivalry with Kansas State on Friday, the first time the Buffs and Wildcats have met in nearly a decade.
Ticket information, tip times and television will be released by Kansas State at a later date.
"Obviously we're excited to come up with an alternative to our Fort Myers tournament that did not work out," CU coach Tad Boyle said. "Our proximity to Kansas State, along with South Dakota State and Drake, who was on our schedule to begin with, the fact we can all get to Manhattan on short flights or a bus trip, we can travel safely and open up the season with two quality opponents."
The Fort Myers Tipoff was originally scheduled for Nov. 23 and 25, and when the NCAA altered the start date for college basketball to Nov. 25 and the Pac-12 subsequently approved the same timeline, finding a workable timeframe for the Buffs to participate in the became difficult.
South Dakota State captured a share of the Summit League regular season title last season with a 22-10 overall record, including a 13-3 mark in conference play, under first-year coach Eric Henderson. It will be the fourth meeting between the two schools dating back to 1978 and the Buffs hold a 3-0 advantage. The last time they met, the two played a double-overtime game that the Buffs won 112-103 on Dec. 15, 2017 at the CU Events Center. Then freshman McKinley Wright IV led six Buffs in double-figures with his first career 30-point game and was just one rebound shy of a triple-double with 30 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds.
This will be the 144th meeting between the Buffs and Kansas State and first since the second round of the 2011 Big 12 Conference Tournament. In Tad Boyle's first season, the Buffs last in the Big 12, the Buffs swept all three match-ups against the Wildcats, something the program hadn't accomplished in seven years at the time. CU's last trip to Manhattan and Bramlage Coliseum was a 74-66 win on Jan. 12, 2011. The game in Boulder was much closer, a 58-56 CU win on Feb. 12, 2011, and the Buffs won in the tournament, 87-75. K-State leads the all-time series 96-47 overall and 54-11 in Manhattan.
In Boyle's first season, Levi Knutson paced the Buffs in the first game in Manhattan with a 20-point performance and added 16 in the second game in Boulder just one point behind Cory Higgins' team high of 17 points. In the conference tournament, Higgins (28) and Alec Burks (24) combined for 52 of the team's 87 points as the Buffs advanced to the semifinals.
The remainder of the non-conference season and complete conference schedule will be released in the coming weeks.