Big games slated for basketball teams this season

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

The non-conference portions of both the Eastern men’s and women’s basketball schedules was posted Tuesday. Of course the status of the 2020-21 college basketball season is still up in the air, but there are several notable games scheduled for both teams.

Women’s Basketball

The women’s team is coming off a breakout 2019-20 campaign in which it finished fourth in the OVC and advanced to the semifinals of the OVC Tournament. The Panthers will open up this season against Evansville on Nov. 10 in Lantz Arena.

These two teams faced off last season in Evansville with Eastern winning the game 90-44, posting its highest-scoring game all season.

The Panthers’ fourth game of the season will be on the road against Miami-Ohio on Nov. 29. The RedHawks were 11-20 last season with a 4-14 conference record in the MAC.

The following weekend, Eastern is set to host the Compass Tournament, in which Northern Illinois, Southern Illinois and Western Illinois will be participating. Northern hosted the tournament last season and Eastern went 1-1, losing to Northern and beating Western.

Arguably the Panther’s biggest test of the non-conference will be on Dec. 20 against Big Ten opponent Minnesota. The Golden Gophers were 16-15 last season and finished 11th in the standings with a 5-13 conference record.

Eastern fared rather well against its Big Ten foe Wisconsin last season, losing 63-55.

The Panthers’ final con-conference game will be Dec. 28 at Illinois State.

Men’s Basketball

The men’s team finished strong last season, winning five of its last seven regular season games to clinch the six seed in the OVC Tournament. The team beat Jacksonville State in the first round before falling to Austin Peay in the quarterfinals.

The Panthers begin their 2020-21 season on Nov. 10, hosting Milwaukee. But it is the Panthers’ second game against Kansas on Nov. 16 that will likely be its biggest challenge of the season.

The Jayhawks were ranked No. 1 in the final AP Poll last season before COVID-19 cut the postseason short. Kansas was 28-3 at the time with a conference record of 17-1. It was also unbeaten in its final 16 games.

Kansas is not the only top-25 team Eastern is scheduled to face.

The Panthers will play Butler on Dec. 22 in the final non-conference game of the season. The Bulldogs ended last season ranked 23rd in the AP Poll with an overall record of 22-9 and conference record of 10-8.

 

Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]