Memphis men’s basketball announces 2020-21 schedule

20-game conference schedule begins Dec. 16
Memphis Tigers
Memphis Tigers Photo credit Memphis Tigers

Memphis men’s basketball announces 2020-21 schedule
20-game conference schedule begins Dec. 16; Crossover Classic, Auburn and Ole Miss highlight non-conference play 

MEMPHIS — The 2020-21 Memphis men’s basketball team will begin its 27-game regular-season schedule Wednesday against Saint Mary’s in the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic in Sioux Falls, S.D., at 1:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2.

The Tigers will play either the No. 15 West Virginia/Northern Iowa winner/loser in the second round in South Dakota on Thanksgiving Day with the winners playing at 11 a.m. on ESPN and the losers at 4 p.m. on either ESPN or ESPN2. Memphis’ third-round game in the Crossover Classic next Friday would be against either South Dakota State, Utah State, Wichita State and a team to be determined.

Memphis will return to FedExForum for the first time since a 68-60 win over Wichita State on March 5 to play Arkansas State Dec. 2 in its home opener, the first of 12 games in FedExForum. The Tigers play at Ole Miss on Dec. 5 followed by a home game vs. Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 8 before facing its seventh and final non-conference game vs. Auburn on Dec. 12 in the Holiday Hoopsgiving in State Farm Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks.

The Ole Miss game is a return game after Memphis’ 87-86 win over the Rebels last Nov. 23.

“I think our players just want to play,” said third-year Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway. “They know right now we’re going to South Dakota and that the season is going to start there. I think if we were indecisive about what we were going to do to begin the season, then the frustration would probably set in, but knowing that we’ll be playing next week, they are pretty calm about everything else.”

The 20-game American Athletic Conference schedule begins at Tulane Dec. 16, the earliest Memphis has begun conference play since 2006-07 when the Tigers opened with Conference USA foe Marshall on Dec. 4. This marks the fifth earliest conference opener in history. Memphis and freshman Penny Hardaway opened the season against Great Midwest Conference opponent DePaul in the first game in The Pyramid on Nov. 29, 1991. Hardaway sent the game into overtime with an NBA 3-pointer with five seconds to play.

Memphis opened the season against Metro Conference rival Louisville on Nov. 29, 1975, a season in which the Tigers only played two regular-season conference games in the Metro’s first season. Memphis played at Bradley to open Missouri Valley Conference play on Dec. 7, 1967.

The Tigers return from Tulane to play their AAC home opener against Tulsa on Dec. 21 and USF on Dec. 29. Five of Memphis’ next seven games are on the road beginning at Temple Jan. 2 followed by at UCF Jan. 6, SMU Jan. 14, at Tulsa Jan. 17, Wichita State Jan. 21, at ECU Jan. 24 and at SMU Jan. 27.

February begins with three-straight home games vs. UCF Feb. 3, ECU Feb. 6 and Cincinnati Feb. 11. Memphis plays at No. 17 Houston on Valentine’s Day and at Wichita State on Feb. 18. Three of the Tigers’ final five games are vs. Temple Feb. 21, Tulane Feb. 24, at Cincinnati Feb. 28, at USF on March 3 and vs. No. 17 Houston on either March 6 or 7 in the regular-season finale for the senior-less Tigers.

Memphis returns four starters – Damion Baugh, Boogie Ellis, D.J. Jeffries and Lester Quinones -- from last season’s team that finished 21-10 overall and 10-8 in the AAC. Jeffries, who averaged 10.8 points and 4.3 rebounds, is one of 20 players nationally on the preseason watch list for the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year and is a preseason All-AAC second-team selection.

Fans can purchase 12-game ticket packs beginning Wednesday, Nov. 25, by visiting gotigersgotix.com or calling the ticket office at 901.678.2331. Television and times to be determined.

2020-21 Memphis men’s basketball schedule 

Nov. 25 (Wed.) — (1) Saint Mary’s (ESPN2), 3:30 p.m.

Nov. 26 (Thu.) — (1) No. 15 West Virginia/Northern Iowa (ESPN/2), 11 a.m./4 p.m.

Nov. 27 (Fri.) — (1) South Dakota State/Utah State/Wichita State/TBD (ESPN/2/U)

Dec. 2 (Wed.) — Arkansas State

Dec. 5 (Sat.) — at Ole Miss

Dec. 8 (Tue.) — Mississippi Valley State

Dec. 12 (Sat.) — (2) Auburn

Dec. 16 (Wed.) — at Tulane*

Dec. 21 (Mon.) — Tulsa*

Dec. 29 (Tue.) — USF*

Jan. 2 (Sat.) — at Temple*

Jan. 6 (Wed.) — at UCF*

Jan. 14 (Thu.) — SMU*

Jan. 17 (Sun.) — at Tulsa*

Jan. 21(Thu.) — Wichita State*

Jan. 24 (Sun.) — at ECU*

Jan. 27 (Wed.) — at SMU*

Feb. 3 (Wed.) — UCF*

Feb. 6 (Sat.) — ECU*

Feb. 11 (Thu.) — Cincinnati*

Feb. 14 (Sun.) — at No. 17 Houston*

Feb. 18 (Thu.) — at Wichita State*

Feb. 21 (Sun.) — Temple*

Feb. 24 (Wed.) — Tulane*

Feb. 28 (Sun.) — at Cincinnati*

Mar. 3 (Wed.) — at USF*

Mar. 6 or 7 (Sat. or Sun.) — No. 17 Houston*

(1) Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic (Sioux Falls, S.D.)

(2) Holiday Hoopsgiving (Atlanta)

*American Athletic Conference game

All times Central