On the final Friday night of the Texas high school football regular season, the UTPA men’s basketball team will begin its journey under new coach Dan Hipsher.
That game —November 8 at home against Sam Houston State — is one of 31 regular season games the Broncs will play in 2013-14. Their schedule was officially released Tuesday.
“It’s pretty tough, but what I like about it is our exposure in the state,” said Hipsher, whose team will play eight road games in Texas. “Should get us ready to play in the (Western Athletic) conference.”
WAC play begins Jan. 2 in Phoenix against Grand Canyon. The Broncs will play 16 conference games — one home and one road game against the other eight teams in the league. Most games will be Thursday/Saturday, with four open dates mixed into compensate for the odd number of teams the WAC currently has.
The regular season concludes March 8 against GCU. The WAC tournament starts March 13 in Las Vegas.
“Everybody gets excited about the NCAA tournament and the conference tournament because that’s the little horseshoe at the end of the rainbow,” Hipsher said. “It’s great to be a part of that. It’s great to be playing for a championship.”
Of course, the Broncs cannot get to that point before going through a regular season that will be quite challenging to a program that hasn’t been in a real conference since 1998. It starts with three home games, including a Nov. 11 contest with Houston, which is now in the newly formed American Athletic Conference.
“I wasn’t trying to plan out three at home,” Hipsher said. “It’s good, I guess being new, it gives people a chance to come out and see us early on.”
The homestand concludes Nov. 13 against Texas Lutheran, the lone non-Division I team on the schedule. The game is a prerequisite to play in a currently-unnamed tournament at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, where the Broncs head that weekend to play three games in three days against Tennessee Tech, Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne (IPFW) and the Islanders.
It also starts a stretch of 13 games over 56 days where the Broncs will play just two home games (Dec. 7 against UTSA and Dec. 29 against Duquesne). In that span, they’ll get in four guarantee games against Bradley, SMU, TCU and Texas A&M, and also visit UTSA, Lamar and SIU Edwardsville.
The A&M game takes place Jan. 4, two days after the Broncs open WAC play. After that, they’re in conference for the remainder of the season.
In all, the Broncs will have 13 home games. They also host Texas A&M-Kingsville in an exhibition Nov. 2.
UTPA men’s basketball schedule
Opponent Time Date
vs. Sam Houston State 7 p.m. Nov. 8
vs. Houston 7 p.m. Nov. 11
vs. Texas Lutheran 7 p.m. Nov. 13
Tennessee Tech^ TBA Nov. 15
IPFW^ TBA Nov. 16
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi^ TBA Nov. 17
at UTSA TBA Nov. 21
at Lamar TBA Nov. 27
at Bradley TBA Nov. 30
at SIU Edwardsville TBA Dec. 2
vs. UTSA 7 p.m. Dec. 7
at TCU TBA Dec. 15
at SMU TBA Dec. 18
vs. Duquesne 7 p.m. Dec. 29
at Grand Canyon* TBA Jan. 2
at Texas A&M TBA Jan. 4
vs. Idaho 7 p.m. Jan 9
vs. Seattle 7 p.m. Jan 11
at UMKC TBA Jan. 16
at Chicago State TBA Jan. 18
at New Mexico State TBA Jan. 25
vs. Utah Valley 7 p.m. Jan. 30
vs. CSU Bakersfield 7 p.m. Feb. 1
at Seattle TBA Feb. 6
at Idaho TBA Feb. 8
vs. Chicago State 7 p.m. Feb. 13
vs. UMKC 7 p.m. Feb. 15
vs. New Mexico State 7 p.m. Feb. 19
at CSU Bakersfield TBA Feb. 27
at Utah Valley TBA Mar. 1
vs. Grand Canyon 7 p.m. Mar. 8
WAC tournament (at Las Vegas) Mar. 13-15
^Tournament in Corpus Christi