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Boyle's Buffs Once Again Looking For Opening Opponent

Nov 2, 2020

BOULDER — In a year when everything is upside down and nothing is certain, the Colorado men's basketball schedule took yet another unexpected turn over the weekend.

Originally scheduled to open the season with South Dakota State in the Little Apple Classic in Manhattan, Kan., on Nov. 25, the Buffs are suddenly looking for an opening opponent again after the Jackrabbits jumped ship for another tournament, the Crossover Classic.

Understandably, CU coach Tad Boyle wasn't exactly happy with SDSU's departure.

"Welcome to scheduling in the 2020-21 basketball season," Boyle said in a Monday morning meeting with the media. "Unfortunately, everybody is self-serving. They're trying to do what's best for their own program. Contracts don't mean a whole helluva lot, people's words don't mean a whole helluva lot right now, which is kind of disappointing. But that's the way the world works."

When the Little Apple Classic field was announced in early October, the SDSU website published a story quoting head coach Eric Henderson saying, ""We're extremely excited to be a part of the Little Apple Classic. It was important for our team and University to find an (multi-team event)  that not only valued the safety of the student-athletes, but also provided high-quality competition. We can't wait to start our season in the Little Apple."

That excitement, though, evidently waned over the weekend when the Crossover Classic came calling — and it left Colorado, Drake and host Kansas State looking for another team for the Little Apple.

"Drake is still committed, Kansas state's still committed, we're still committed," Boyle said. "We're making phone calls. Made them this weekend, making them today. Trying to get a fourth team to step in for where South Dakota State bailed out."

Boyle said there are still a number of teams who are looking for a multi-team event to open the season. But if they can't find a replacement, they could be forced to make the Little Apple a three-team affair.

"That would be our last choice," Boyle said. "We'd like to get another team in there. The good news is there's still a lot of teams looking for games. Hopefully we can find one."

Boyle also expressed disappointment in the Pac-12 conference season pairings, which were released last week. CU and travel partner Utah, along with Washington and Washington State, will be forced to play four straight road games. Such stretches are not allowed under normal Pac-12 scheduling rules, but those guidelines were waived in order to deal with the coronavirus and the circumstances it could present in the event of postponements.

 The Buffaloes will play the Bay Area schools the week of Feb. 10-14, then travel to the Oregon schools the week of Feb. 17-21. It will be the first time Colorado has played four straight conference road games since 1946-47, the Buffs' final year in the Mountain States Conference.

"We have four (straight) games on the road, we'll play four games on the road," Boyle said. "We have 20 league games and we know 10 of them will be at home and 10 on the road. Life ain't always fair. You just keep on playing, that's all we can do."