Utah Valley head coach Mark Madsen has assembled a decent non-conference schedule in his first season at the helm of the Wolverines.
Madsen is taking Utah Valley to Lexington to face No. 2 Kentucky on November 18. Remember the last time Utah Valley went to Kentucky? The Wolverines had a 12-point lead early in the second half before John Calipari switched to a zone defense that the Wolverines weren’t ready for. It could be a long night for Utah Valley this time around. The Wolverines feature a bevy of new faces and only two Utah Valley players return who played significant minutes in 2018-19.
Playing Kentucky is part of the Big Blue Nation Showcase. Utah Valley also plays at Alabama-Birmingham and Mount St. Mary’s while hosting Lamar as part of the BBN Showcase.
Along with Kentucky, Utah Valley has road games at Colorado State, Wyoming, Long Beach State, North Dakota State, Southern Utah and Denver. The trip to Fargo, North Dakota to face the Bison is part of the WAC/Summit League Challenge. Utah Valley knocked off Denver at the UCCU Center in the 2018 WAC/Summit League Challenge.
The last time Utah Valley travelled to the high plains of Wyoming, was to face off against the Cowboys in the semifinals of the College Basketball Invitational. Wyoming beat the Wolverines, 74-68 on March 22, 2017 in the Arena-Auditorium.
Along with Southern Utah, the only other in-state school UVU faces is Weber State. The Wolverines host the Wildcats at the UCCU Center on December 4. Another Big Sky Conference foe comes to the UCCU Center on December 14 when UVU hosts Northern Arizona.
So, Mark Madsen has three Big Sky Conference foes, two Mountain West Conference foes and two Summit League foes on the 2019-20 non-conference schedule. In fact, the Wolverines only play six of their 15 non-conference games in Orem. Utah Valley is going to be racking up the sky miles traveling roughly 20,148 miles through the air this season.
Perhaps the biggest question is: why is there no BYU on the 2019-20 schedule? It’s a good question. There have been rumbling as to why this game isn’t being played this season. However, these rumblings haven’t been confirmed so we won’t go into much detail here. Let’s just say this: it is disappointing considering if this game was to be played, the storylines would be outstanding considering all the movement between UVU and BYU this offseason.
Another question is why no Utah State? You would think that playing in-state foes would be a good thing. For the Aggies, it should be a no-brainer because they have never lost to UVU.
One huge takeaway from the UVU schedule is the amount of money the Wolverines get back from the guarantee games. Madsen secured $345,000 in guaranteed money from those games, which is $45,000 more than what UVU got back in 2018-19.
The Wolverines officially tip-off the season on Nov. 5 when they host in-state foe Westminster.