TAMPA, SEPT. 10, 2019 – Fresh off one of the greatest seasons in school history that included the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) championship and a single-season school record 24 victories, the USF men’s basketball team and third-year head coach Brian Gregory announced the non-conference schedule for the 2019-20 season.
The schedule features seven teams that earned postseason bids last year, eight games inside the Yuengling Center and three of the top holiday tournaments in the nation.
“We put an emphasis on assembling a strong non-conference schedule this season and I believe we have accomplished that objective with this challenging slate of opponents,” Gregory said. “We have also upgraded our home non-conference schedule, insuring an exciting November and December in the Yuengling Center. Outstanding teams like ACC opponent Boston College, NCAA qualifier Wofford, 25-win Furman and in-state postseason participant Florida Atlantic create a strong foundation for our home schedule.”
Following a home exhibition game against Saint Leo on Tuesday, Oct. 29, the Bulls make their regular season debut and begin a four-game home stand one week later on Tuesday, Nov. 5 when USF welcomes Arkansas-Pine Bluff to the Yuengling Center for the first-ever matchup between the two schools.
A marquee matchup against ACC foe Boston College follows at home on Sunday, Nov. 10 as the Bulls and Eagles will tangle for the first time in school history. Another first-time meeting follows on Wednesday, Nov. 13 when USF battles 2019 CIT participant IUPUI at the Yuengling Center.
The Bulls close the home stand on Thursday, Nov. 21 against Southern Conference foe Wofford, a team that reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season and nearly upset No. 2 seed Kentucky before ultimately falling, 62-56.
USF next heads south to the Caribbean to face Loyola Chicago on Monday, Nov. 25 in the opening round of the Cayman Islands Classic. The Ramblers reached the Final Four two seasons ago, earned a berth to the NIT last season and have won a total of 52 games over the previous two years. The Bulls will play either New Mexico State or Colorado State the next day in the second round. New Mexico State made the NCAA Tournament last season and was seconds away from knocking off eventual Final Four participant Auburn in the first round. The rest of the field includes George Mason, Nebraska (NIT), Washington State and Old Dominion (NCAA Tournament).
USF returns home to open the month of December with a game against 2019 NIT participant Furman (Dec. 2) that begins a three-game home stand that includes matchups against Dartmouth (Dec. 6) and Drexel (Dec. 15).
A second holiday tournament pits USF against 2019 Mountain West Tournament champion Utah State in one of the games of the Battleground 2K19 to be played at the Toyota Center in Houston on Wednesday, Dec. 18. The Aggies earned a No. 8 seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament and return four starters from a team that won 28 games a season ago.
The Bulls head back to the Sunshine State for a marquee matchup with in-state rival Florida State on Saturday, Dec. 21 in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic in Sunrise, Fla (Tickets Link). It will be the first meeting between the two schools since playing in the event in 2014.
“We also positively impacted our strength of schedule by securing games versus Utah State, Florida State and Loyola Chicago, a Final Four team from two seasons ago, in neutral site games during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays,” Gregory added. “The totality of our non-conference schedule will be a tremendous challenge for us, but we return a veteran group that is hungry to build off the success of last season.”
USF puts the finishing touches on the non-conference schedule on Sunday, Dec. 29 against Florida Atlantic at the Yuengling Center. The Owls played in the CIT last season but are just 2-13 all-time against the Bulls