DAYTON/INDIANAPOLIS – The Horizon League released the 2020-21 men’s basketball conference schedule on Wednesday afternoon, with the Wright State men’s basketball team set to embark on a 20-game conference slate unlike any schedule in the program’s history.
All teams are scheduled to play a 20-game League schedule, with teams playing one League opponent twice each week with games taking place on consecutive days at the same location. Schools will have five home weekends and five road weekends and will play 10 of 11 League opponents. Guided by the principle of safety, the scheduling model was developed in consultation with the League’s Return to Safe Play work group, athletic directors, senior woman administrators and faculty athletic representatives, with additional feedback provided by the HL men’s and women’s basketball coaches and student-athlete captain’s council.
In addition, the Horizon League Board of Directors is overseeing League-wide safety protocols focused on consistency and clarity for all League competition. As part of these protocols, the Board of Directors determined that due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, all League games in the month of December will be played without fans. Team pass lists and complimentary tickets will also be prohibited in December. The Board of Directors will reevaluate these changes at a later date. Fan attendance policies for non-League games will be determined by each institution.
The 2020-21 Horizon League schedule featuring back-to-back matchups will be a strange, but not an entirely new, experience for Wright State.
Entering their 51st season of basketball, the Raiders have played two consecutive games against the same opponent five times in their history, but have never faced the same opponent on consecutive days. Four of the previous instances have been a meeting in the final game of the regular season followed by a first-round tournament matchup, while the lone regular season instance came during the program’s Division II era. During the 1984-85 campaign, the Raiders faced SIU Edwardsville in consecutive games on the schedule – one and home and one away – on consecutive Saturdays in February.
“We appreciate all the work and time that the Horizon League has put in to piece together our conference schedule,” Wright State head coach Scott Nagy said. “We look forward to the opportunity to compete this upcoming season.”
“We are pleased to announce our basketball schedules,” said Horizon League Commissioner Jon LeCrone. “It has been a work in progress with input from a variety of stakeholders including our student-athletes, coaches, medical staffs, and sport administrators. This collaboration was guided by our fundamental commitment to protect the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, and other team personnel as we navigate competition in an unpredictable environment.”
The Raiders will open Horizon League play on the road with a pair of games at Detroit Mercy on December 19 and 20 before lifting the lid on their home Horizon schedule the following weekend (Dec. 26 and 27) when they host Green Bay inside the Nutter Center. Wright State rings in 2021 on the road, with a pair of games at Oakland (Jan. 1 and 2) and also has road January contests at IUPUI (Jan. 22 and 23). The Raiders will be at home for three weekends in January, hosting Youngstown State (Jan. 8 and 9) and Cleveland State (Jan. 15 and 16) in back-to-back weekends and also welcoming Horizon League newcomer Robert Morris to the Nutter Center to close the month (Jan. 29 and 30).
Wright State will play on the road two of the three February weekends to close the regular season, with a trip to UIC (Feb. 5 and 6) before hosting Milwaukee for a pair on February 12 and 13. The Raiders will close the regular season on the road with a pair of contests at Northern Kentucky on February 19 and 20 before the 2021 Horizon League Basketball Championship is scheduled to begin.
The 2021 Horizon League Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championship is scheduled to culminate at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis. More information on the championships will be released at a later date.
Detroit Mercy (Dec. 19 & 20, Detroit, MI) Detroit Mercy finished 2019-20 with an 8-23 record and a 6-12 mark in conference play, with the Raiders winning both meetings last season. Wright State earned a road win in early January before completing the season sweep with a 12-point home victory in February. The Raiders lead the all-time series 34-27 overall, and have won 11 of the last 13 overall over the last six seasons.
Green Bay (Dec. 27 & 28, Nutter Center) Green Bay finished the 2019-20 season with a 17-16 overall record, including an 11-7 mark in Horizon League play. The Raiders and the Phoenix split their regular season matchups with each winning at home last year, with Wright State winning in the Horizon League opener last December and Green Bay coming out victorious in February. A tight series throughout history, Green Bay has a slim, 33-32 overall series lead entering the season, but the Raiders have won seven of the last eight meetings.
Oakland (Jan. 1 & 2, Rochester, MI) Oakland finished 14-19 overall in 2019-20, compiling an 8-10 mark in Horizon League play. Wright State won both matchups last season by double digits, first tallying an 96-69 road win on ESPNU in January before am 83-71 victory at home. The Raiders lead the overall series 15-7 against the Grizzlies.
Youngstown State (Jan. 8 & 9, Nutter Center) Youngstown State finished 18-15 overall and 10-8 in the Horizon League last season as the teams split their regular season matchups last season. Each won at home last year – first the Raiders at home in mid-January before a Youngstown State win in late February. Wright State leads the overall series 48-13 entering the 2020-21 campaign, including wins in six of the last seven meetings.
Cleveland State (Jan. 15 & 16, Nutter Center) Cleveland State finished the 2019-20 season with a 11-21 overall record and a 7-11 mark in Horizon League play. The Raiders tallied a pair of victories over the Vikings last season, including Coach Nagy’s 500th career win last February, and enter the 2020-21 campaign with a 41-34 overall series lead. Wright State has won the last six matchups and 10 of the last 12 meetings overall.
IUPUI (Jan. 22 & 23, Indianapolis, IN) IUPUI finished with a 7-25 overall record in 2019-20, while the Jaguars were 3-15 in Horizon League play, with Wright State winning both regular season matchups. The Raiders took care of IUPUI on the road in January with a 14-point win before a 40-point victory on Senior Day inside the Nutter Center in mid-February. The Raiders hold a 15-3 overall series advantage entering 2020-21.
Robert Morris (Jan. 29 & 30, Nutter Center) Robert Morris joins the Horizon League in 2020-21 coming off of a 20-14 overall record last year, with a 13-5 mark in NEC play. The Colonials won 12 of their 15 home games last year, but were just 7-1 away from home. RMU has appeared in a postseason tournament nine times in the last 13 years, including winning the NEC Tournament last year to earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Championship before the tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19.
UIC (Feb. 5 & 6, Chicago, IL) UIC recorded an 18-17 overall record last season with a 10-8 mark in Horizon League play. The Raiders and Flames split their regular season matchups, with each winning on their home courts, before UIC eliminated Wright State in the Horizon League semifinals last March in what turned out to be the Raiders’ final game of the season. The Raiders hold a slight 32-31 lead in the overall series.
Milwaukee (Feb. 12 & 13, Nutter Center) Milwaukee finished 12-19 overall and 7-11 in the Horizon League last season, with the Raiders winning both matchups – a 12-point December win inside the Nutter Center and a 65-61 road victory in January. The Raiders hold a slight 33-30 lead over Milwaukee in the overall series, including four in a row and nine of the last 13 meetings.
Northern Kentucky (Feb. 19 & 20, Highland Heights, KY) Northern Kentucky was 23-9 last season with a 13-5 Horizon League record. The Raiders won both of the meetings last season – a 95-63 home victory in front of the national audience on ESPNU and a 64-62 win in February to clinch the Horizon League regular season championship. Wright State leads the overall series 26-12 entering 2020-21.
The 2020-21 season will also be the first year of Horizon League play for Purdue Fort Wayne, however the Raiders and Mastodons will not meet during the regular season. Fort Wayne is coming off of a 14-19 record (6-10 conference) in their final season in the Summit League last season. Wright State leads the short series 9-3, with the last meeting coming during the 2006-07 season. Seven of the 11 matchups came during the 1980’s.
COURTESY THE HORIZON LEAGUE AND WRIGHT STATE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS