BOISE — The Boise State men’s basketball team will play one of its toughest league games of the year without an expected key contributor next season.
The Mountain West announced the 2019-2020 league schedule Thursday, and a change in the date of the Mountain West Tournament forced the league to play two conference games in early December.
For Boise State that means a road game at New Mexico on Dec. 4 and a home game against Colorado State on Dec. 7. But Oregon transfer Abu Kigab, who is expected to be a key contributor, won’t be eligible until the end of the first semester the following week because of NCAA transfer rules.
That means the Broncos will play maybe their toughest game of the league schedule — New Mexico is expected to be among the league favorites next season — without its full compliment of players.
“I hate the fact that you play two league games that early,” Boise State coach Leon Rice told KTIK radio. “That’s hard. I kind of like to get the preseason done and then progress into the league, and it’s a bad break for us because we won’t have Abu as of now to start two really important games in December. Those are big negatives.
“And playing at New Mexico, that’s one of the hardest places to play in the country, and they are going to be really, really good next year, so you could be talking about two teams contending for the title playing on December 4th.”
Other things of note on Boise State’s schedule include a New Year’s Day home game against Wyoming, a home game against Nevada on Feb. 1 and a home game against San Diego State on Feb. 15.
Boise State won’t travel to Colorado State and won’t host Fresno State as part of the league’s unbalanced schedule. The Broncos will play home-and-home games against the other eight teams in the league.
The Broncos have two byes, but one comes on the final weekend of the regular season. That means the Broncos will go at least a week without playing a game heading into the Mountain West Tournament. The other bye is Jan. 22.
The Mountain West Tournament is moving up a week to March 4-7, 2020, due to a construction conference in Las Vegas that’s expected to bring more than 100,000 people and cause spikes in hotel and flight costs.
Boise State is still finalizing its non-conference schedule, but the Broncos have known games against UNC-Wilmington (Nov. 27th at home), at Pacific (date unknown) and at Oregon (date unknown). They also will participate in the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii over Christmas along with a field that includes Houston, Washington and Georgia Tech.
The Boise State women’s basketball team will play a mirrored schedule to the men, meaning the days the men play an opponent at home, the women play that same team on the road. The defending Mountain West champs open up conference play hosting New Mexico on Dec. 4.
The full conference schedule for both the men and women is available at BlueTurfSports.com.
FULL MEN’S CONFERENCE SCHEDULE:
2019-20 Mountain West Schedule
Dec. 4 | at New Mexico
Dec. 7 | COLORADO STATE
Jan. 1 | WYOMING
Jan. 4 | at Nevada
Jan. 8 | UNLV
Jan. 11 | at San Diego State
Jan. 15 | at Air Force
Jan. 18 | UTAH STATE
Jan. 22 | BYE
Jan. 25 | at Fresno State
Jan. 29 | SAN JOSE STATE
Feb. 1 | NEVADA
Feb. 5 | at Wyoming
Feb. 8 | at Utah State
Feb. 12 | AIR FORCE
Feb. 15 | SAN DIEGO STATE
Feb. 19 | at San Jose State
Feb. 22 | New Mexico
Feb. 26 | at UNLV
Feb. 29 | BYE
March 4-7, Mountain West Tournament