Men's Basketball Announces 2006-07 Schedule
Aug. 9, 2006
GREELEY, Colo. - Match-ups with the other four Division I teams in the state of Colorado, trips to Arizona State and Purdue and a full 16-game Big Sky Conference schedule highlight the 2006-07 University of Northern Colorado men's basketball schedule, which was released by first-year head coach Tad Boyle on Wednesday.
"This is certainly a schedule that will challenge our players through the season," said Boyle, who spent the past six seasons as the associate head coach at Wichita State before returning to his hometown to guide the Bears into the Big Sky. "The non-conference schedule will allow our program to compete against a wide variety of college basketball programs which should prepare us well for our first venture into the Big Sky."
For the first time in its history the Bears will play the four other Division I in-state teams during the regular season in the same season. That includes games at Colorado (Dec. 2) and Colorado State (Dec. 6), a home game with Air Force (Dec. 23) and a home-and-home series with Denver (Nov. 19 in Denver and Dec. 10 in Greeley). The Bears have faced off with Colorado State and Denver in each of the past two seasons, but have not faced CU since the 2003-04 season. The meeting with the Buffs will be only the third between the teams since the 1937 season.
The home meeting with Air Force is the first in Greeley since March 1, 1978. Air Force was the first-ever opponent for the men's team in Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion when the building opened on Feb. 4, 1975. This season the building gets a major renovation that includes new chairback seats, a new sound system and video message center and renovated entrance among other things. The building will debut when the team hosts Division II Colorado-Colorado Springs on Nov. 17. The Bears also host Division II Colorado Christian (Nov. 21).
The other home non-conference game is on Nov. 24 when Pac-10 foe Oregon State pays a return visit to Greeley; the Beavers topped the Bears last season in Corvallis. OSU will be the first Pac-10 Conference team to play in Greeley since Arizona did on Jan. 5, 1960 (an 82-73 Northern Colorado victory). The only other meeting between the Bears and a Pac-10 team in Greeley occurred during the 1932-33 season when Northern Colorado topped Stanford 32-24.
The season starts with a road trip to Ball State (Nov. 11) and Big Ten foe Purdue (Nov. 13). The Bears and Boilermakers have met once before, on Dec. 4, 1978 in West Lafayette. The Bears take their first-ever trip to Tempe, Ariz. on Nov. 28 when they battle another Pac-10 team in Arizona State. Other non-conference road contests include Bowling Green State (Dec. 19) and Eastern Michigan (Dec. 21), a team the Bears defeated 76-70 last season in Greeley.
The Bears first-ever Big Sky Conference game will occur on Dec. 28 when Weber State comes to town. In fact, Northern Colorado will play its first five Big Sky games at home, also hosting Sacramento State (Dec. 30), Eastern Washington (Jan. 4), Portland State (Jan. 6) and Northern Arizona (Jan. 11) during the home-stand.
Those five games are part of an overall six-game home-stand, the longest for the team since the 1988-89 season, the year the squad won 24 games and advanced to the Division II Regional Championship.
Other home Big Sky games include Montana State (Jan. 25), Montana (Jan. 27) and Idaho State (Feb. 8), which will be Senior Night for the team's trio of seniors (Dwayne Birden, Matt Kline and Cory Lowe).
The Bears go on the road in the Big Sky for the first time on Jan. 13 when they play at Idaho State. Other Big Sky road games include Portland State (Jan. 18), Eastern Washington (Jan. 20), Sacramento State (Jan. 31), Weber State (Feb. 1), Montana State (Feb. 21), Montana (Feb. 24) and Northern Arizona (Feb. 27).
"I'm excited for our players and fans to experience competition in the Big Sky Conference and hopefully develop some rivalries along the way," said Boyle. "There will be a learning curve in terms of where we stack up talent-wise in the league. I am anxious to find out how steep that curve will be."
Northern Colorado is 21-63 all-time against current Big Sky teams, having played Idaho State (32 times) and Montana State (39 times) the most, when each of the teams were members of the Rocky Mountain Conference. The Bears have never played Sacramento State and Weber State and have matched up with Eastern Washington just once previously. The Bears, who officially finish the reclassification process to Division I this season, are ineligible for the Big Sky and NCAA Tournaments until 2007-08, but could compete in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). The Big Sky Conference regular season champion gets an automatic bid to the NIT.
Northern Colorado returns six players from last year's squad including Division I Independent first-team selection Sean Taibi (15.3 points/game, 84 3-pointers) and second-team selection Kirk Archibeque (12.9 points/game, 7.1 rebounds/game).