On Thursday, both UTRGV and Chicago State put out their full schedule for 2020-21. Chicago State will be road warriors once WAC play starts in January. UTRGV is set to play some games in a larger arena to allow for fans and social distancing.
Both schools will compete in their home states, respectively. Chicago State has as trip to Iowa to face both Iowa State and Drake. But, other than that trip, the Cougars will stay in the state of Illinois for the entirety of its non-conference slate.
UTRGV is staying in Texas for its entire non-conference slate. Head coach Lew Hill wanted to minimize any risks as well as reduce travel in the non-conference slate. And it makes sense considering the travel UTRGV will deal with in WAC play. The Vaqueros are scheduled to travel to Chicago, Las Cruces, Riverside and Orem in WAC play.
Vaqueros Stay Close to Home
Head coach Lew Hill made it known that UTRGV would stay in the state of Texas for the non-conference slate. And, as UTRGV released its schedule on Thursday morning, that is exactly the case.
UTRGV opens at Texas on Nov. 25. The Vaqueros also play Texas A&M Corpus Christ twice. UTRGV will host Corpus Christ on Dec. 2 at the Bert Ogden Arena in Edinburg. Bert Ogden Arena is home to the Rio Grand Valley Vipers of the NBA G League. When WAC foe Grand Canyon comes to town in February, UTRGV will host the Lopes at Bert Ogden Arena, as well.
“It’s a tough, challenging schedule, which is something we put together every year” UTRGV head coach Lew Hill said in a release. “We want to challenge our guys by playing some of the best high and mid-majors in the country. We’re excited by the opportunity to go win some of these games and compete against some of the best players in the country.”
The Vaqueros also travel to College State to take on Texas A&M on Dec. 6. Other road games include at Corpus Christi on Dec. 10 and at Incarnate Word on Dec. 14. Home games include UTSA, Sam Houston State and Dallas Christian.
Per the release from the school, 255 fans will be allowed to watch the Vaqueros at the UTRGV Fieldhouse. Social distancing protocols will be in place to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
Brutal Non-Conference Slate for Chicago State
According to the KenPom rankings, Chicago State is ranked 353 out of 353 teams. Now, Chicago State puts out its non-conference schedule and it looks like it may be a long first month of the season. The Cougars open at home against IUPUI. And then everything changes.
Chicago State plays its next eight contests on the road including a trip to Iowa to take on Iowa State and Drake to finish off the non-conference schedule. Head coach Lance Irvin is keeping his team close to home, though.
The Cougars travel to DePaul, Eastern Illinois, Northwestern, Loyola University of Chicago, Illinois State and Northern Illinois. DePaul, Northwestern, Loyola and Northern Illinois are within an hour of South Chicago so it’s understandable these games will be played.
But, if the Cougars are expecting to improve from four wins in 2019-20, they have their work cut out for them.