West Virginia basketball piecing together non-conference schedule
West Virginia’s basketball non-conference schedule has almost come together.
The Mountaineers are set to rekindle an old eastern rivalry when the Big 12 Conference program takes on Connecticut as part of the annual Big East-Big 12 Battle.
Over the first two years of the event, West Virginia has gone 1-1 beating Georgetown last season and falling to St. John’s the year prior.
Connecticut is set to come to Morgantown as part of the event and it will be the 23rd meeting between the two programs with the Huskies holding a 6-16 edge. However, the Mountaineers have won 3 of the last 7 including the most recent game in 2014 in the Puerto Rico Tip-off Final.
It’s just the most recent addition to the non-conference slate which has been filled out with some interesting games.
The Mountaineers will play non-conference home games Nov. 9 against Oakland, Nov. 12 against Pittsburgh in the renewal of the Backyard Brawl, Nov. 26 against Eastern Kentucky, Nov. 30 against Bellarmine, Dec. 4 against Radford, Dec. 12 against Kent State and Dec. 22 against Youngstown State.
Out of those matchups there is obvious appeal with the Pittsburgh game as well as the meeting with Radford which will bring former West Virginia point guard Darris Nichols to the Coliseum.
There is only one true road game with the triip to UAB Dec. 18, but the Mountaineers will compete in an early season tournament which will add to the competition level of the schedule as a whole.
West Virginia will participate in the Charleston Classic set to take place November 18, 19 and 21 inside TD Arena in Charleston, S.C. giving the Mountaineers a possible nice slate of games.
The event will feature 12 games across those three days with a field that includes some very talented clubs heading into the 2021 campaign. Outside of West Virginia, the field includes Boise State, Clemson, Elon, Marquette, Ole Miss, St. Bonaventure and Temple.
St. Bonaventure is expected to be one of the better teams in college basketball next season, while Marquette and Clemson are both coming off appearances in the NCAA Tournament last season. Meanwhile several of the others are expected to make jumps. It will be a classic tournament format, with the two teams that advance without losing playing for the title which will be held November 21.
West Virginia will be looking for its third consecutive early season tournament title after winning the Cancun Challenge in 2019 and the Crossover Classic last season.
The Mountaineers additionally will have a non-conference matchup against an unnamed SEC team as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge with that game likely coming on the road. West Virginia will be looking to change their fortunes after a 2-6 start to the challenge since it began but details on the game has yet to be released.
That gives a nice balance to the schedule already with some games against some highly thought of clubs, some traditional rivals and some quality mid-major options.
It’s a solid mix and one that should provide plenty of interest when it comes to the fan base.
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