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YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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UCD men release Hornet-less hoops schedule

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UCD coach Jim Les, right, rallies his guys during a game last season at The Pavilion. The Aggies released their 2014-15 schedule recently, a slate that includes 14 home outings. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise file photo

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From page B1 | August 13, 2014 |

The 2014-15 UC Davis men’s basketball schedule is out, and missing from the 29-game slate is a Causeway Cup series contest with Sacramento State.

But that’s not entirely bad news for local fans (more about that in a minute).

With 14 home games, the Aggies will open Nov. 16 at The Pavilion against Division-III Holy Names.

Along the road to Big West Conference play, UCD will host Mountain West contenders Utah State (Nov. 26)) and San Jose State (Dec. 3). Another MWC school, Air Force, flies in Dec. 20 before the Aggies head out to Washington State and Seattle during the final week of 2014.

Cal Maritime kicks off the new year (Jan. 3 at UCD) and completes the nonleague schedule. The Aggies start the Big West slate Jan. 10 when Long Beach State comes to town.

Seven-foot-six Mamadou Ndiaye and conference champion UC Irvine finish the regular season at The Pavilion (March 7) for the second consecutive campaign. The Big West Tournament is in Anaheim, March 12-14.

“I am happy with it,” Les says of his team’s schedule.

“Scheduling is the toughest thing we do, in part because we don’t control The Pavilion and the date. Being able to put together a well-balanced schedule that not only has quality of teams and different styles of play, but being able to balance home versus away … all those kinds of things make the scheduling process very challenging.

“It’s a giant puzzle.”

So, back to the absence of Sacramento State, a school UCD has played every season since 2004-05.

In playing at NCAA champion Connecticut last season, the Aggie women got dibs on The Pavilion for the Nov. 14 rematch, forcing the men’s season-opener against Portland (slated for that day) into the Twilight Zone.

In hoping to move that home game to another date, Les had no luck trying to re-insert the Pilots into his schedule.

While still negotiating with Sac State coach Brian Katz about where to put the road game with Sac State, Les managed to replace his lost home game with the visit from Utah State.

Still following the flow?

Meanwhile, Katz filled his last remaining Hornets’ Nest slot with, of course, Portland.

But all is not lost …

“Neither of us is very happy about it,” Les said of the hiatus. “So what we did … we said ‘Let’s play home-and-home every year.’ It’s a good rivalry and we’ve signed the contract for 2015-16 to start the agreement.”

Les and Katz want to keep the arrangement going for the foreseeable future.

“We’ll more than make up for this season’s game,” Les promised.

Thank you, Lady Huskies and Geno Auriemma.

Notes: “We wanted to do right by the women’s program.” Les said, adding “in no way” would the Aggies stand in the way of UConn coming to town. “We wanted them to have their day. (UCD women’s coach Jennifer Gross) made sacrifices when we had the ESPN game last year. It’s a huge marketing benefit … but Portland didn’t have another date for us, so we had to find another home game.”

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-320-4456.

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