By Ells Boone
The Stanford men’s basketball schedule is now set for the upcoming 2020-21 season. The non-conference slate, the last piece of the puzzle to be released, was announced Monday. The Pac-12 had previously published the conference schedule two weeks ago.
The Cardinal’s season will start on Nov. 25 in Maples Pavilion against Utah Valley, who is coached by former Stanford great Mark Madsen ’00. Madsen was an All-American his junior and senior seasons on the Farm, and helped lead the Cardinal to the 1998 Final Four. It will be the first-ever matchup between the two schools on the hardwood.
The Cardinal will then fly to Asheville, North Carolina, to take part in the Maui Invitational, which was relocated due to COVID-19 precautions. Stanford will play three games in the tournament, with the first on Nov. 30 against No. 29 Alabama. The other teams in the field are Davidson, Indiana, No. 16 North Carolina, Providence, No. 19 Texas and UNLV. Depending on the result of their first game, Stanford will either play North Carolina or UNLV in the second game.
Five days after the Cardinal’s third and final matchup of the Maui Invitational, the team will return home to face Cal Poly on Dec. 7. The two sides last played in 2017, which ended in a 78-62 Stanford victory. The Cardinal own a 7-1 all-time record against Cal Poly.
On Dec. 9, the Loyola Marymount Lions will come to Maples Pavilion. That game will come with plenty of intrigue as Kodye Pugh ’20 will face-off against his former team. Pugh appeared in 38 games for the Cardinal, averaging 1.6 points per game, before deciding to transfer to LMU this past offseason. Stanford has never lost to the Lions in their six games against each other.
To close non-conference play, Stanford will host Sacramento State on Dec. 21. It will be the first meeting between the two since the Cardinal won 70-60 in 2015. Stanford is 5-0 against the Hornets.
“We are excited to have put together a competitive schedule this year,” head coach Jerod Haase said. “There were obvious challenges with completing this, but we are excited to face off against many high quality opponents at home and in the Maui Invitational.”
The Associated Press released its official preseason poll on Monday as well, with the Cardinal receiving 14 votes — good for No. 33 in the nation. Of Stanford’s guaranteed out-of-conference opponents, only Alabama is ranked. Of the other Pac-12 schools, only No. 18 Arizona State, No. 20 Oregon and No. 22 UCLA are ranked.
In total, Stanford will play at least 27 regular season games this year — seven non-conference and 20 Pac-12.