In 42 days, Jalen Crutcher (#10), Dwayne Cohill (#35, far left) and the rest of the Dayton Flyers men’s basketball team will take the floor against Wichita State to tip-off the 2020-21 season. Photo courtesy of Keegan Gupta, Flyer News.
For the first time since March 7, the University of Dayton men’s basketball team officially has games on their schedule, beginning on Nov. 25 in the Crossover Classic against Wichita State in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a press release announced.
Officially branded the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic, the event will be played at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, with the first games on Nov. 25, followed by semifinals (and consolation semifinals for the losing teams) and a finals day for Nov. 27.
“Since opening in 2013, the Sanford Pentagon has earned the reputation of being a premier place to host Division I basketball games,” said Jesse Smith, vice president of operations for the Sanford Sports Complex. “We are privileged to welcome these eight teams to Sioux Falls and will provide them a safe and memorable experience to start their season.”
The final day would include a final between the winning semifinal teams, and consolation third-, fifth- and seventh-place games between the losing teams.
Scheduled to play Nov. 25 at 8:30 p.m. CST against the Wichita State Shockers, Dayton head coach Anthony Grant now has an official gameday in place to prepare his team for.
Wichita State has been involved in some controversy this off-season, with head coach Gregg Marshall under fire for alleged abuse of his players. Nonetheless, the Shockers will be a worthy opponent to begin the season.
The other match-ups feature West Virginia-Texas A&M (1 p.m. local time), Ohio State-Memphis (3:30 p.m.), and Creighton-Utah (6 p.m.). If the Flyers beat the Shockers, they would face the winner of Creighton-Utah.
A limited number of tickets will go on sale Nov. 1, and masks will be required for all spectators.
“This is going to be an epic three days of basketball, and we are excited to help bring some of the most prominent teams in college basketball to Sioux Falls,” said Lennie Foree, marketing director of Bad Boy Mowers. “It’s become a Thanksgiving tradition to kick the college basketball season off with a bang, and we’re so proud to be able to give fans a taste of hoops during the holiday week.”
The health and safety of all involved will of course also be at the forefront as the battle against COVID-19 continues.
Jeremy Cauwels, M.D., who is the senior vice president of quality at Sanford Health, is also a member of the NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group. The committee also provides guidelines for practice, training and competition to NCAA schools.
“We aim to provide the blueprint for safely returning to competition for college sports as we navigate COVID-19’s presence in our lives,” said Cauwels. “We want student-athletes to be able to play the sports they love, but we want them and everyone else around them to be in a safe environment.”
The press release also states, “All members of each team’s traveling party will be tested regularly for COVID-19 once they arrive in Sioux Falls,” and will remain in a “controlled environment.”
As long as the proper health protocols are followed and the event stays on, Flyer fans can now circle Nov. 25 as the official start of the Flyers’ 2020-21 season.
The countdown? 42 days.