Every Friday for the next nine weeks, WAC Hoops Digest is going to take a look at the 2019-20 schedule for each individual school.
This week, it is California Baptist. The Lancers begin their second year in the WAC with an experienced squad led by WAC Player of the Year candidate Milan Acquaah.
Head coach Rick Croy has put together a schedule that will help his Lancers bolster their confidence. California Baptist leaves the state of California just once in its non-conference schedule. The lone non-California game is a trip to Austin, Texas to take on the Texas Longhorns. CBU only has two other road games at Pac-12 foe Cal and at UC Irvine.
UC Irvine won the Big West Conference Tournament and regular season crowns. The Anteaters knocked off Kansas State in the Round of 64 of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Oregon in the Round of 32.
Texas is coming off a run to the NIT Championship but lost its top two scorers from that Championship run.
Cal is coming off a miserable 8-23 season. However, new head coach Mark Fox is revamping the Golden Bears roster and culture and this will be an interesting matchup.
As part of the WAC/Summit League Challenge, CBU hosts South Dakota. CBU is 1-0 in the WAC/Summit League Challenge as the Lancers picked up a road win at Oral Roberts a season ago.
The rest of the non-conference will favor the Lancers. Along with South Dakota, CBU has nine more home games. Perhaps the biggest one will be against crosstown rival UC Riverside on Dec. 4. CBU also hosts the 2k Empire Classic Benefitting Wounded Warrior Project, which features Central Arkansas, Georgia State and Prairie View A&M. The Lancers play Central Arkansas first and then the winner/loser of Georgia State/Prairie View A&M.
CBU’s non-conference schedule doesn’t really jump out much on paper. But, for its second year as an NCAA Division I participant, it will do its job. The Lancers will get tested on the road and take advantage of the CBU Events Center. Milan Acquaah and company should have all the confidence in the world when WAC play begins. The Lancers host UTRGV and defending champion New Mexico State on the opening weekend in January. And we all remember what happened when California Baptist hosted New Mexico State last year, right?
It wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone to see California Baptist enter WAC play with a 12-2 record. The losses come at Texas and at UC Irvine. However, CBU should be able to win every other game leading up to conference play.
You can look at the full California Baptist schedule here.