Big Sky goes back to 20-game conference basketball schedule

Idaho forward Arkadiy Mkrtychyan pulls down an offensive rebound while Eastern Washington’s Cody Benzel, Ty Gibson, Bogdan Bliznyuk and Mason Peatling, from left, watch during the first half Feb. 9 in Moscow, Idaho. (Pete Caster / AP)

The Big Sky Conference announced Tuesday that its men’s and women’s basketball teams will play a 20-game conference schedule this winter.

With the loss of the University of North Dakota, members of the 11-team conference, including Eastern Washington and Idaho, will each play each other twice, once at home and on the road.

North Dakota officially joined the Summit League earlier this month, resulting in the first 20-game Big Sky schedule since 2014.

Big Sky play begins Dec. 29 with the EWU men playing host to Weber State and Idaho State traveling to Idaho. The EWU women open Big Sky play at Weber State and the Idaho women travel to Idaho State.

Conference games are played on Thursdays, Saturdays and Mondays. Game times have not been determined.

EWU and Idaho face each other Feb. 18, the men’s game at Reese Court and the women’s game at Cowan Spectrum. The two rivals meet again in a March 9 conference finale.

The Eagles and Vandals will remain travel partners on Big Sky road swings.

Taco Bell Arena in Boise will host of the Big Sky Tournament March 11-16. The last three conference tournaments were held in Reno, Nevada.