By Ells Boone
Stanford men’s basketball’s schedule is starting to take shape. The Pac-12 announced Thursday a 20-game conference schedule for its member schools. All games will be televised on the Pac-12 Network, ESPN networks, CBS or FOX networks.
It will be the first time in Pac-12 history that each team will play 20 league games and Stanford will play every team, except UCLA and Arizona State, twice.
Although the academic quarter ends on Nov. 20, the Cardinal will kick off Pac-12 play on Dec. 13 at USC. The game will be an intriguing matchup featuring two potential lottery picks in the 2021 NBA Draft — USC’s freshman center Evan Mobley and Stanford’s freshman forward Ziaire Williams.
Six days later, Arizona will visit Maples Pavilion for the Cardinal’s first home conference game of the season. Stanford lost its sole matchup with the Wildcats last season.
The first of two games against Cal will be at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley during the week of Feb. 2, and the Cardinal will also close the regular season at home in the second matchup between the two on either Mar. 6 or 7. Stanford went 1-2 against the Golden Bears last year after losing to them in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament, a record the team will look to improve upon.
While it is unlikely that fans will be in attendance this season, the Pac-12 will meet in early January to decide the best course of action for the remainder of the 2020-21 academic year. If the conference votes to allow any number of fans, Cardinal faithful will be able to see games in-person starting the week of Jan. 6-10 — barring conflicting state and county mandates — when Stanford takes on Washington and Washington State at home.
Stanford’s non-conference schedule is not yet finalized, but Utah Valley announced earlier in the week that it would face the Cardinal in Maples on Nov. 25. at home. The Wolverines are coached by former Stanford All-American player Mark Madsen ’00.
That game will be followed by a trip to Asheville, North Carolina to play in the Maui Invitational Tournament beginning on Nov. 30. The Cardinal will open the Invitational against Alabama in a field that also includes Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Texas and UNLV. This will be the first time in the 37-year existence of the tournament that it will not take place in Maui.
With just four weeks until the season starts, there is a palpable buzz around the team, which finished 20-12 (9-9 Pac-12) last season and earned its highest win total since the 2014-15 season. Head Coach Jerod Haase returns four starters from a year ago and also added the nation’s 11th-ranked recruiting class, according to 247sports, to the mix.
Contact Ells Boone at eboone24 ‘at’ stanford.edu.