The Murray State men's basketball team announced its 2020-21 schedule, the 96th season in school history and one that will be vastly different from any before it because of the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The biggest change comes from the Ohio Valley Conference adding two games to make a normal 18-game league schedule into 20 games. The Racers will play every OVC team once and nine teams twice, including a pair of flexible games with Austin Peay that will be contested before Christmas.
"We are looking forward to opening the 2020-21 season later this month at the CFSB Center," said MSU head coach Matt McMahon. "This has been a challenging process with the NCAA moving the season back and the OVC going to 20 league games. But most importantly, we get to play our season and we're very excited about our team and the opportunity to compete on the court."
The 2020-21 season is the 73rd in OVC history as the Racers attempt to win a fourth consecutive regular season championship for the first time since they won seven straight titles from the 1993-94 season to the 1999-00 season.
The 20-game OVC schedule means the Racers have five non-conference games for a total of 25, the number set by the NCAA.
The Racers are at home in the CFSB Center for the first two games including the opener with Brescia (Nov 25) and Kentucky Wesleyan (Nov. 28). The first road game for the Racers is at Middle Tennessee (Dec. 2).
The dates for the two flex-games with Austin Peay were mutually agreed upon by the schools. The first game has the Racers at home (Dec. 8) to start the Battle of the Border, the annual multi-sport competition in which the winner keeps the traveling trophy. Game two between the Racers and Governors is in Clarksville, Tennessee (Dec. 21).
In between the APSU games, the Racers hit the road for Carbondale (Dec. 11) for the 38th meeting with Southern Illinois, a series in which the Racers have won the last three. After the SIU game, MSU comes home to face Prairie View (Dec. 15).
The remainder of the regular season is all in the OVC starting with a game at Belmont (Dec. 30). Morehead State visits Murray for the first game of 2021 (Jan. 2). A four-game road begins with MSU at Eastern Illinois and SIUE (Jan. 7 & 9) and continues at, Southeast Missouri (Jan. 14) and UT Martin (Jan. 16). The Racers come home for four in a row against Jacksonville State (Jan. 21), Tennessee Tech (Jan. 23), Tennessee State (Jan. 28) and Belmont (Jan. 30).
In February, the Racers travel to Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky (Feb. 4 & 6). The OVC regular season comes down the stretch for the Racers with a four-game home stand with SEMO and UTM (Feb. 11 & 13) and EIU and SIUE (Feb. 18-20). The final road trip of the season for MSU is at JSU and TTU (Feb. 25 & 27).
The league returns to Evansville, Indiana (March 3-6) for the OVC Tournament. 2021 marks the fourth straight season in which the OVC will stage its premier event at the Ford Center.