SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth University will play seven of its nine non-conference men's basketball games at the Whitworth Fieldhouse, the most non-league home games the Pirates have had since becoming NCAA Division III members in 2001.
Whitworth head coach Matt Logie announced the Pirates' 2017-18 schedule this week.
Whitworth will play two teams that competed in the 2017 NCAA Division III tournament and four other schools that fell in their conference playoffs. Three of the non-conference opponents hail from two of the toughest leagues in NCAA Division III.
"The 2017-2018 schedule will be a great one for Pirate fans as we enter a new era of men's basketball at Whitworth University," Logie said. "Our fans will have seven home non-conference games to get to know some of the new and emerging faces of Pirate Basketball, following the graduation of four key senior contributors this spring. This schedule will again provide the opportunity to build an NCAA-ready team by the end of the season."
The non-conference slate will include an exhibition game at the University of Montana for the fourth straight year. The official date and time of the game with the Grizzlies is still to be finalized.
For the second time in three years Whitworth will open the official 25-game schedule with a Midnight Madness game against the University of La Verne (Calif.), that will tip off at 12:00 am on November 15th in the Fieldhouse. The Leopards went 16-10 in 2016-17.
Gallaudet University, from Washington D.C, visits on November 17th and Waynesburg University comes to the Fieldhouse on the 18th. The Gallaudet Bison went 20-6 last winter and compete in the North Eastern Athletics Conference. The Waynesburg Yellow Jackets (6-19 in 16-17) are members of the Presidents' Athletic Conference. Whitworth has never played either team before.
The Pirates will travel to play in Hawaii over Thanksgiving. The Bucs will take on North Central College (Ill.) on Friday, November 24th. The Cardinals (18-11 in 2016-17) play in the powerful Collegiate Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin and won their league tournament before advancing to the second round of the NCAA playoffs in March. On November 25th Whitworth will take on Arcadia University (9-16 in 2016-17), members of the Commonwealth Conference in Pennsylvania. The Pirates and Knights have never played each other.
After a pair of Northwest Conference games at Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran on December 1st and 2nd, Whitworth will host Colorado College on December 10th. The Tigers finished 11-15 last year, but were 10-4 in the Southern Collegiate Athletics Conference and made the league tournament.
The Pirates will host Wheaton College (Ill.) following final exams on December 19th. Like NCC, the Thunder are members of the CCIW and Wheaton went 12-13 last year.
Whitworth will close out 2017 with games against the University of Wisconsin-Stout and Calvin College on December 29th and 30th, respectively. UW-Stout plays in the powerful Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletics Conference and went 13-13 last winter. Calvin (17-11 in 16-17) is a traditional power out of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletics Association and made the 2017 NCAA playoffs by winning the MIAA Tournament.
The 2017-18 Northwest Conference schedule will be as challenging as ever. The league continues to show dramatic improvement and competitive balance from top to bottom. The schedule includes five conference home games in January and three in February.
The Pirates, coming off of a 23-5 record, are aiming for a 12th straight trip to the NCAA Division III tournament in 2017-18.