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Minnesota Crookston men's and women's basketball schedules announced

Times Report
Ibu Jassey Demba and the Minnesota Crookston men's basketball team will open its 14-game season on Jan. 2 at Concordia-St. Paul.

After months of waiting, the Minnesota Crookston men's and women's basketball seasons finally have a start date.

The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference revealed schedules for men's and women's basketball Friday afternoon. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they'll look a little bit different than in years past.

Weekend back-to-back games, a staple of the NSIC, will still happen. But instead of playing two teams in one weekend, teams will play one opponent at the same site two nights in a row, in an attempt to mitigate potential COVID-19 exposure.

Each team is scheduled to play 16 games this season, meaning eight opponents: seven opponents from their division and one out-of-division opponent. The cross-division games will take place on the season's opening weekend, and will count as non-conference games.

The NSIC will only crown a North Division and South Division champion this year, instead of an overall regular season champion. However, the NSIC Tournament will still take place from Feb. 25-28 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls. The top four teams in each division will qualify.

Just as in years past, the Golden Eagle men and women's schedules are identical, with the women's games taking place before the men's games. Friday tipoff times are 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., as usual, while Saturday tipoff times are 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

UMC will open its season by hosting Concordia-St. Paul, its cross-division, "non-conference" opponent, on Jan. 2-3. The Golden Eagles are on the road Jan. 8-9 to take on Minnesota State Moorhead before returning to Lysaker Gymnasium Jan. 15-16 to play Northern State.

Following that series, Minnesota Crookston will face Minot State Jan. 22-23, before traveling to Bismarck Jan. 29-30 for a series against the University of Mary.

The Golden Eagles will play Minnesota Duluth on Feb. 5-6 in their final home series. They'll finish off the season with a four-game roadstand against St. Cloud State (Feb. 12-13) and Bemidji State (Feb. 19-20).

In a press release, the NSIC said it would "continue to monitor the landscape and conditions surrounding the pandemic, locally, regionally, and nationally, and make any decisions or announcements, at a later date, as necessary.

The Times welcomes your feedback. You can send any comments or questions to our office at (218) 281-2730 or sports editor Jacob Shames at jshames@crookstontimes.com.

Follow along on Twitter @crookstonsports and @Jacob_Shames for all the latest stories and live game updates.