VERMILLION, S.D.—Road trips to 2014 NCAA Tournament teams Stanford and Creighton, and a game with UNLV in Sioux Falls in mid-December highlight South Dakota’s 2014-15 men’s basketball schedule announced Friday by head coach Craig Smith.
The Coyotes’ schedule includes a 14-game non-conference schedule leading into a 16-game Summit League campaign. Of the 14 non-conference foes, seven were 20-game winners a year ago, four competed in the NCAA Tournament and two others reached the postseason.
“Our schedule has a little bit of everything including games against high-profile programs with national name recognition,” said Smith. “Seven of our first eight are on the road, but we love that we have 13 games in the Dome. The cumulative RPI of our non-conference opponents is 169. The top four teams in the Summit League last year each had RPIs lower than 150, so we will be tested.”
South Dakota opens with four 20-game winners, each of which competed in the postseason. It starts Nov. 14 at Utah Valley (20-12, NIT). Two days later, the team takes on Stanford (23-13, NCAA), which reached the Sweet 16. Three games in three days at a tournament hosted by Fairfield starts with Sam Houston State (24-11, CollegeInsider) on Nov. 21 and Wofford (20-13, NCAA) on Nov. 22.
Smith coaches the Coyotes inside the DakotaDome for the first time on Nov. 26 against Wayne State (Neb.). The team also hosts Youngstown State (Dec. 5), Montana State (Dec. 18) and Milwaukee (Dec. 28) before the New Year, though nine of the team’s first 11 games will be played outside of Vermillion.
The Summit League slate starts Jan. 2 at home against Omaha. USD will play five of its first seven in league play on the road, and then host six of its last nine. The regular season concludes at home against South Dakota State on Feb. 28. The 2015 Summit League Tournament will run March 7-10 at the Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls.
- Bryan Boettcher, USD.