One week ahead of the start date of the NCAA basketball season, Northwestern released its 2020-21 men’s basketball schedule alongside the Big Ten’s release of the full conference slate. The Wildcats open up at home against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on December 2 for the first of four nonconference games.
The full schedule is in the tweet below.
Full schedule release! Four non-con games: Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Chicago State, Pitt and SIU-Edwardsville. Then it's all conference from there on out. https://t.co/isuQrGaQJq— Inside NU (@insidenu) November 18, 2020
The Wildcats will also face Chicago State, Pittsburgh in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and SIU-Edwardsville to round out its nonconference schedule. Each B1G team can play up to seven games out of conference, per release.
Conference action begins December 13, but Northwestern will begin its B1G gauntlet with Michigan State on December 20 at home. Each team will play 20 conference games. Schools will play seven teams twice (one home and one away) and six teams once, with three of those games being at home and the other three away. Unlike for football season, the conference is building in two sets of collapsible byes during the weeks of January 18-21 and January 25-28, and the weeks of February 22-25 and March 1-5.
In a fitting homage to Pat Fitzgerald, the Wildcats will face Iowa on January 17 OR 18, and Nebraska on March 6 OR 7.
The Big Ten Tournament is scheduled for March 10-14, 2021 at the United Center in Chicago.
Similar to the conference’s restrictions for football, no fans will be allowed in Welsh-Ryan Arena to start the season, although that ruling could change depending on the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Wildcats play Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois twice, all consensus top four teams in the conference and top ten in the nation, according to the AP Top 25 Poll. They headline a Big Ten featuring several teams with Final Four aspirations. Thirteen of the Wildcats’ 20 conference matchups are against currently ranked opponents.