With the start of the college basketball season just three weeks away, the America East Conference (AE) announced its schedule for the upcoming men’s and women’s basketball seasons on Monday. Binghamton’s teams will open conference play on Saturday, Dec. 19 against Stony Brook, with the men’s team hosting the Seawolves and the women’s team playing on the road.
A full 18-game double round-robin schedule will be played, albeit with significant changes given the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are excited to return to competition with the start of the 2020-21 basketball season,” said AE Commissioner Amy Huchthausen. “We acknowledge this will be a unique season with many variables both within and outside of our control but believe this format along with our health and safety protocols will best position each institution and the conference for basketball competition. By prioritizing conference play, reducing travel and preserving flexibility, this schedule will give us the best opportunity to successfully navigate this season in the safest way possible.”
Two weeks ago, the AE released its return to competition plans, outlining how the basketball schedule would work. With the addition of NJIT as the 10th member of the conference, the AE will maintain the double round-robin schedule it has used in past seasons, with the total number of games increasing from 16 to 18.
Instead of the traditional Wednesday and Saturday schedule, teams will play a two-game series at the same site on consecutive days. Most of these series will be held on Saturdays and Sundays. However, for the weekend after Christmas, the series will be held on Sunday, Dec. 27 and Monday, Dec. 28.
After the opening weekend, BU is set to continue playing two-game series every weekend through the end of January, when they, along with the majority of the league, are scheduled to have two weeks off.
Those off weeks were built into the schedule later in the season to accommodate postponements caused by positive COVID-19 test results, and Sunday, Feb. 28 is set to be the final day of the regular season.
Since both matchups of the round robin will be held at the same site, it is impossible for each team to play an even number of home and road games. As a result, the Binghamton’s men’s team will host 10 regular season games, and the women’s team will host eight.
While the majority of the conference, including Binghamton, won’t begin to play until Dec. 19, NJIT and New Hampshire will start earlier. Their women’s teams are set to play the weekend of Dec. 6, and their men’s teams will face off one week later.
For the remaining eight institutions that will open conference play on Dec. 19, they will have the preceding three and a half weeks to play nonconference matchups. BU has yet to finalize plans regarding its nonconference schedules.
Following the regular season, the AE tournament will be held in early March. The details for how its format may change with the addition of a 10th team to the conference and the challenges presented by the pandemic have not been determined.