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Big Sky Conference announces official basketball challenge series with Summit League

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Posted at 8:18 PM, Apr 18, 2023

(Editor's note: Big Sky Conference press release.)

FARMINGTON, Utah — In an effort to provide their teams with more high-caliber non-conference men’s and women’s basketball contests, the Big Sky Conference and the Summit League have announced a three-year challenge series that will start during the 2023-24 campaign, commissioners Tom Wistrcill and Josh Fenton announced Tuesday.

These contests will be part of the officially titled Big Sky-Summit Challenge. Each men’s and women’s team will play one home and one road game against two opponents from the other conference in each of the next three seasons.

“Securing more Division I non-conference home games for our schools is a top priority as we continue to seek ways to elevate our league in the increasingly competitive national landscape of college basketball,” Wistrcill said. “I want to thank Josh and the entire staff and membership of the Summit League for helping make this agreement happen, and we’re excited to see it tip off this upcoming season.”

This incoming campaign, the challenge will take place on January 3 and 6, 2024. For the Big Sky, this means there will be one weekend of in-conference competition on December 28 and 30, leading into the challenge the following week.

“The Summit League is excited to partner with the Big Sky and its member institutions on this innovative concept,” Fenton said. “This series will help each conference’s member schools with guaranteed non-conference games in a challenging scheduling environment. It also gives us an opportunity to creatively engage with fans, while allowing our basketball programs to enhance their resumes. We are appreciative of the Big Sky and Tom Wistrcill for the partnership.”

The matchups will be determined annually using data from past seasons NET rankings and regular-season conference finishes, along with consideration for the prior season matchups. The matchups for next season will be announced at a later date.

For the challenge games during the 2023-24 season, the leagues will also take into account previously scheduled non-conference contests as a factor in determining the matchups.