College basketball teams return to the court Wednesday, nearly eight months after they were sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UNI men open their 2020-21 season at the Crossover Classic in Sioux Falls, S.D. The Panthers face Western Kentucky in a 3:30 PM game at the Sanford Pentagon, which can be viewed on ESPNU.

Other teams playing in The Crossover Classic are: Memphis, Saint Mary's, South Dakota State, Utah State, VCU and West Virginia. They will compete in an eight-team bracket format, with each squad playing games on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Due to the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, fans will not be allowed to attend any games at the event. The ESPN networks (ESPN/ESPNU/ESPN2) will provide complete coverage of the tournament. Here's the full schedule:

  • Wednesday, November 25 (All times CT):
    1 PM – Saint Mary's vs. Memphis (ESPN2)
    3:30 PM – Western Kentucky vs. Northern Iowa (ESPNU)
    6 PM – West Virginia vs. South Dakota State (ESPN2)
    8:30 PM – Utah State vs. VCU (ESPN2)
  • Thursday, November 26:
    11 AM – Semifinal No. 1 (ESPN)
    1:30 PM – Semifinal No. 2 (ESPN)
    4 PM – Consolation Semifinal No. 1 (ESPN/ESPN2)
    6:30 PM – Consolation Semifinal No. 2 (ESPN2)
  • Friday, November 27:
    12:30 PM – Championship (ESPN)
    3 PM – 5th or 7th place (ESPN2/ESPNU)
    5:30 PM – 5th or 7th place (ESPN2/ESPNU)
    8 PM – 3rd place (ESPN2)

UNI is coming off a 25-6 overall record and 14-4 finish in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Panthers won the MVC regular season championship.

The Panthers enter the 2020-21 season with two returning First Team All-MVC selections in AJ Green and Austin Phyfe, as well as Most Improved Team member Trae Berhow. Green was named the league's Preseason Player of the Year after earning the honor last season. Phyfe landed on the 2020-21 Preseason First Team while Trae Berhow landed on the Preseason Third Team.

UNI received votes in both the preseason Associated Press (one vote) and the USA Today Coaches (eight votes) poll.

The UNI women also open their season on Wednesday. They travel to Iowa City to battle in-state rival Iowa.

After beating the Hawkeyes by 22 points at home a year ago, the Panthers are seeking their first victory over Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena since 2006.

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2020-21 UNI Basketball