The Tritons prepare to enter the Big West era in men’s hoops in January. Photo credit: Derrick Tuskan, via ucsdtritions.com

will open its inaugural Big West men’s basketball season with a pair of games at Cal Poly beginning Jan. 1, according to the Big West Conference schedule announced this week.

Subject to any state and local approvals, the 11 Big West members will play 20 conference games under a modified format. Their goal is to reduce travel and emphasize the health and safety of athletes, coaches and staff as the pandemic continues.

Competing in their first Division I season, the Tritons will host a Big West foe for the first time on Jan. 8-9 when UCSD plays host to CSU Northridge.

“We are excited to compete in the Big West for the first time,” said UC San Diego head coach Eric Olen.

Games follow with UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis, Long Beach State, Hawaii, CSU Bakersfield, UC Riverside, UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton.

The traditional home-and-home round-robin schedule has been altered so that teams will play the same opponent on consecutive days at one site. The majority of games will take place on Fridays and Saturdays.

Each team will contest the schedule over an 11-week period with one bye week. Games will not be rescheduled should a team need to quarantine.

The NCAA recently announced that Nov. 25, is the official start date for the 2020-21 basketball season. It is at the discretion of Big West members to determine the number of games conducted during non-conference play.

The status of UC San Diego’s non-conference schedule has yet to be determined.

Per the direction of the Big West Board of Directors, all teams plan to begin the season without spectators. The issue of fan attendance will be revisited as the season progresses.

“The Big West Board of Directors did due diligence in examining all of the factors involved in a safe and responsible return to competition, with basketball being the pilot moving forward,” said Big West Commissioner Dan Butterly.

– Staff reports

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