OMAHA, Neb. — The Omaha men’s basketball program has released its 2016-17 season schedule, head coach Derrin Hansen announced Monday. The Mavericks’ upcoming regular-season slate comprises 29 games, including 12 home contests at Baxter Arena.
Omaha opens with a packed three-game road swing, visiting UC Santa Barbara (Nov. 12), USC (Nov. 13) and Kansas State (Nov. 15) over four days. On Nov. 19, the Mavericks make their home debut by hosting Rice, followed by another home tilt with Buena Vista (Nov. 22).
From there, UNO undertakes another challenging four-game road stint, heading to Eastern Michigan (Nov. 26), Cal State Fullerton (Nov. 30), Iowa (Dec. 3) and Iowa State (Dec. 5). The Mavs then return home for Montana State (Dec. 10) before a midweek visit to UMKC (Dec. 15). One more non-conference home game with Cal State Fullerton (Dec. 18) precedes a trip to Pittsburgh (Dec. 21), after which Omaha goes on winter break.
“Once again, we have a highly competitive schedule in the non-conference as well as Summit League play,” Hansen said. “Games at USC, Kansas State, Pittsburgh, Iowa State and Iowa will allow us to grow as the non-league portion of our schedule progresses. Our home games with Rice, Montana State and Cal State Fullerton should be very entertaining for our fans at Baxter Arena, and road games at UC Santa Barbara, Eastern Michigan and a return trip to Fullerton will provide additional challenges we hope will pay dividends within the league.”
The Mavericks open Summit League play on the road, traveling to South Dakota (Dec. 29) and North Dakota State (Dec. 31) to cap 2016. The following week, they head back to Baxter Arena with Fort Wayne (Jan. 4), then begin another away jaunt for the next two dates at South Dakota State (Jan. 7) and IUPUI (Jan. 11).
Omaha brings in Western Illinois (Jan. 14) and Denver (Jan. 18) and visits Oral Roberts (Jan. 21) to close the first half of league play. The Mavs then come home for another homestand with South Dakota State (Jan. 28) and South Dakota (Feb. 1), followed by a return call to Western Illinois (Feb. 4).
Omaha continues to alternate home and away matchups for the remaining five dates, welcoming IUPUI (Feb. 8), trekking to Fort Wayne (Feb. 11), hosting Oral Roberts (Feb. 16) and making its final league road trip at Denver (Feb. 22). The Mavericks close the regular season with a final home game against North Dakota State (Feb. 25) for Senior Night.
The Summit League Tournament, which builds its field from the top eight teams in the conference standings, is set for March 4-7 at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, S.D.
“Fans should expect another exciting and competitive year in the Summit League,” Hansen said. “Last year, our league ranked 11th out of 32 leagues in the conference RPI standings, which was an all-time high. To finish third by ourselves and have three all-league performers was an outstanding achievement for last year’s squad, and we look forward to building upon that success in 2016-17.”
Over the regular season, UNO will play in 13 states against schools from nine other Division I conferences. The schedule has two opponents from both the Big 12 and Big West and one each from the Pac-12, Big Ten, ACC, Conference USA, MAC, Big Sky and WAC. Five opponents – Iowa, Iowa State, Pittsburgh, USC and defending Summit League champion South Dakota State – played in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
Hansen enters his 12th season at the helm of the Omaha program, boasting a career record of 179-152. UNO returns nine letterwinners from the 2015-16 squad, including four with significant starting experience.