LARAMIE — Wyoming’s men’s basketball team will head to Hawaii for Christmas to compete in the Diamond Head Classic, highlighting the Cowboys’ non-conference schedule for the 2021-22 season.
UW will play three games in the multi-team event (MTE), according to a copy of UW’s agreement with the tournament obtained by the Star-Tribune through a public records request. The tournament, which will be hosted by the University of Hawaii, will be played in Honolulu sometime between Dec. 20-25.
The rest of the tournament field has yet to be officially announced. But CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reported Stanford, BYU, Northern Iowa, New Mexico State, South Florida and Liberty will be joining UW and Hawaii in the tournament. BYU and Liberty were NCAA Tournament teams this past season.
The Cowboys’ inclusion in the Diamond Head Classic field means they’ve had to reschedule their game against Arizona, one of a handful of games pushed back from last season because of the coronavirus pandemic. That game, which was originally rescheduled for Dec. 21 at the McKale Center in Tucson, Arizona, has been moved to Dec. 8, according to an addendum to the game contract. Arizona will pay UW $90,000 for making the trip, a financial guarantee that was mutually agreed to originally.
The Cowboys will also travel to Cal State Fullerton for another game that was supposed to be played last season. A date for that game, which will finish a home-and-home between the teams that began in 2019, hasn’t yet been determined.
UW is scheduled to host Utah Valley on Dec. 11 in the last of a three-game series. UW will pay Utah Valley a financial guarantee of $40,000, according to the series contract.
Other non-conference games last season that were postponed because of the pandemic may now be off. UW had a contractual agreement with Jackson State to play one game in Laramie, but UW did not provide an update to that contract in its response to the Star-Tribune’s request for non-conference game contracts for the upcoming season. The Cowboys were also scheduled to play Duquesne in the Mountain West-Atlantic 10 Challenge that was initially postponed until the 2021-22 season, but those games are no longer expected to be played, according to Rothstein.
But the Cowboys are far from done with their non-conference slate.
The previous season was condensed after the NCAA delayed the start of it a few weeks amid the pandemic, but under normal circumstances, men’s college basketball teams playing in an MTE are allowed to play up to 31 regular-season games. Since UW is scheduled to play three games in the Diamond Head Classic, the Cowboys would be permitted to play 28 other regular-season games.
Depending on whether the Mountain West sticks with the 20-game league schedule it implemented last season or goes back to 18 conference games, UW could play as many as 10 non-conference games in addition to the MTE, leaving the Cowboys with the possibility of adding a handful more games to next season’s schedule.
The Cowboys went 6-1 during the non-conference portion of their schedule in the first year of the Jeff Linder era. UW finished last season 14-11 overall, nearly doubling its win total the previous two seasons combined (17).
Follow UW athletics beat writer Davis Potter on Twitter at @DavisEPotter.