As far as schedules go, last year was brutal on the Omaha men’s basketball team.
They played Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse – a team that would make the Final Four. They played Oklahoma, TCU and New Mexico, and all within the span of eight days – all three teams would make the NCAA tournament.
This year, the team unveiled a schedule that features a healthy dose of power-conference opponents, but with perhaps a bit less firepower.
“I think we have a little bit of everything,” head coach Derrin Hansen commented. “It’s going to be all we want and more. If we can progress accordingly through that, it’ll make us ready for conference season.”
Unlike last season, the 2018-19 schedule only gives one pair of back-to-back high major matchups–away games against Iowa State and Arizona State.
The season begins with an away game against Big 10 opponent Minnesota on Nov. 6 at 7 p.m., followed by home games against Buena Vista and Northern Arizona on Nov. 9 and 14, respectively. The home opener will tip off at 12:30 p.m.
The team will then travel to Boulder to play the Colorado Buffaloes on Nov. 16, and will travel down to Daytona Beach to face Bethune-Cookman on Nov. 20.
Before embarking on a large westward road trip, the team will face Montana State at home on Nov. 24. Omaha played the Bobcats twice last year in a home-and-home series; the teams split the series 1-1. The matchup is part of a conference schedule series between the Big Sky and Summit League conferences.
The Mavs will then play away games against Iowa State (Nov. 26); Arizona State (Nov. 28); Seattle (Dec. 6); Oregon (Dec. 8) and finally Idaho (Dec. 15) before returning to Baxter Arena to avenge the previous season’s loss against UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 19. Omaha wraps it its non-conference slate against Rice on Dec. 21.
The Mavericks will enter into conference play on Dec. 28 against Denver at home, followed by Oral Roberts (Dec. 30) and North Dakota State (Jan. 2), before taking a trip to new conference member North Dakota (Jan. 10). Identical to last year, Omaha will play each conference opponent twice over the span of the schedule, playing both home and away.
Last year’s Mavericks finished 9-22 on the season, their worst finish since 2001; however, since the 1961-62 season, the men’s basketball program has only ever had back-to-back seasons under 10 wins twice.