The University of Providence released both men’s and women’s basketball schedules for the 2020-21 basketball season Thursday.
The Argo menand women will begin their seasons Jan. 4 with a road game against Montana Tech, with their first home games coming Jan. 9 against Carroll College.
“We are very thankful and excited that we are able to fit in a schedule,” head men’s coach Steve Keller said.
“It’s going to be tough for us right off the bat,” Lady Argos head coach Bill Himmelberg said. “It isn’t going to be an easy road. I’m just happy we get to play.”
In an effort to limit travel, most Frontier Conference games will take place as weekend double-headers. In most cases, the first game will take place Saturday night with a second game against the same opponent occurring Sunday afternoon. There are some instances throughout the year where games will be played on Wednesday nights. All teams will play each conference team four times throughout the course of the season for a total of 20 games.
Schools in the conference that have their students on-campus for the first semester will begin play on Dec. 5, and will play for two weekends before winter break. Because the University of Providence is offering remote learning the first semester, they won’t be able to compete until January.
“We are in a different time and we have to be able to prepare for that,” Keller said. “I feel like our system is simple and that our new players will adjust quickly. We will be playing a lot of games in a short window. Keeping our players rested and healthy will be a big factor this season.”
The Argos hope to repeat the success they found last year. They return All-American Zaccheus Darko-Kelly, the first player in NAIA history to win NAIA Player of the Week Awards three times in a row, and NAIA Honorable Mention All-American Jaxen Hashley.The team finished the season 24-8 (11-7 in conference) and were awarded a 4-seed in the NAIA National Tournament before the tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Frontier Conference Men’s Tournament will take place from Feb. 25 to Mar. 2. The play-in tournament will take place on Mar. 12-13, and the 32-team tournament will take place in Kansas City, Mo. on March 19-23.
The Lady Argos also have high expectations for the season. The Argos return two All-Americans (Parker Esary and Emilee Maldonado) from last year’s team. The team, who finished with a 21-12 record (10-9 in the Frontier Conference), went on a legendary postseason run, winning three straight road games en route to claiming the Frontier Conference Tournament. They were awarded a 6-seed in the NAIA National Tournament, but the tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19 before any games were played.
“We just talk about that we need to worry about ourselves,” Himmelberg said. “Who cares that the other teams will have non-conference games before we get to play. We need to take care of the things that we can control. We can’t control how much time the other teams have, we can only use the practice time we have for the best of our ability.”
The Frontier Conference Women’s Tournament will take place from Feb. 25 to Mar. 2. The play-in tournament will take place on Mar. 12-13, and the 32-team tournament will take place in Sioux City, Iowa on Mar. 19-23.