VERMILLION, S.D. — The South Dakota men’s basketball team has announced its 2017-18 non-conference schedule highlighted by trips to NCAA powerhouses Duke and UCLA along with a contest at 2017 NIT Champion, TCU.
In all, USD faces 17 opponents from 15 conferences and five teams that played in the postseason a year ago. South Dakota also has six games inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center and three more games at the Sanford Showcase hosted at the Pentagon in Sioux Falls.
“We are excited to announce our schedule,” head coach Craig Smith said. “Scheduling is always one of the most difficult parts of our positions and we are thrilled with the schedule we have set. When setting it up, we are always looking to play the best of the best and playing Duke and UCLA certainly achieves this goal.
“We want to prepare our guys the best we can for both the conference season and Summit League Tournament.”
The season opens Nov. 11 at home against Mayville State. Smith got his head-coaching career started with the Comets from 2004 to 2007, winning 72 games and finishing as the national runner-up in 2007.
South Dakota travels to Bowling Green on Nov. 13, immediately followed by the contest at TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, on Nov. 15. The Horned Frogs defeated Georgia Tech in the 2017 NIT Championship and doubled its win total from two years ago. TCU is expected to be a top-four finisher in the Big XII this season.
USD faces Southern Miss, Youngstown State and Northern Colorado in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for the Sanford Showcase with all three games played inside the Sanford Pentagon Nov. 24-26.
The Coyotes play previously announced and ESPN’s “Way-Too-Early” No. 1 Duke on Dec. 2. The Coyotes have home games against Drake and Eastern Washington on Dec. 6 and 10, respectively, looking for their second-straight win against each opponent.
South Dakota makes a West Coast swing beginning with a contest at Northern Arizona on Dec. 14 followed by games at San Jose State and UCLA on Dec. 17 and 19, respectively. The Coyotes last played NAU in the 1979-80 season and San Jose State in the 1974-75 season. UCLA, winners of an NCAA-record 11 National Championships, has never faced USD on the hardwood.
Key dates in the Coyotes Summit League schedule includes three-straight home games to open conference action beginning Dec. 30 against Denver followed by Western Illinois and North Dakota State. The Showdown Series is renewed in the SCSC on Jan. 24 and a return trip to Brookings on Feb. 22, which closes the conference season.