After a year-plus hiatus, it looks like Ivy League basketball is ready to return!
The Brown men’s basketball team released its 2021-22 schedule on Wednesday with an early-season trip to Chapel Hill and a visit to the Spring Break capital of the northeast before New Year’s Eve. Bruno will also head to the Virgin Islands before Thanksgiving to compete in the 2021 Paradise Jam. (Hopefully, the Bears have a better travel experience than the Quakers did back in 2018.)
“This is probably the most challenging nonconference schedule our program has faced in my time as head coach and I think it is well timed,” head coach Mike Martin told Brown Athletics. “I believe that the roster we have in place will be prepared to take on every challenge and grow through the experiences as we ready ourselves for the Ivy League schedule.”
Brown kicks things off against local D-III Salve Regina before visiting North Carolina on November 12. This will be one of the first games in the Hubert Davis era as the former Tar Heel player and long-time assistant coach replaced Hall of Famer Roy Williams in April.
On the 19th, Bruno takes on Creighton of the Big East in the first of three guaranteed games in the Paradise Jam. A second round matchup will take place against Bradley or Colorado State, depending on the results against the Bluejays. The last game will be against a team in the opposite bracket, Colorado, Duquesne, Northeastern or a Walt “Clyde” Frazier-less Southern Illinois.
Following the Thanksgiving holiday, the Bears will close out the fall semester with games against New England rivals Bryant, Quinnipiac, UMass Lowell, Sacred Heart, Merrimack and Vermont. Bryant, one of the strongest teams in the NEC since Jared Grasso arrived three years ago, made it to the CBI quarterfinals last year. The Catamounts, led by John Becker and the alma mater of Brown associate head coach T.J. Sorrentine, have won the America East title five years in a row.
Bruno starts the second half of the season with an intra-state contest against the University of Rhode Island on December 22. The Brown and White will look to make it two in a row, after defeating the Rams, 85-75, in 2019. The Brown and White then head to the Xfinity Center to close out the non-conference slate against Maryland on December 30. A matchup against a preseason top-10 Terrapins team should be a huge benefit for the Bears as they get ready for the Ivy season.
The new-look Ancient Eight schedule kicks off on January 2 with a trip to the Palestra against Penn, the team that has knocked them out of the Ivy Tournament the last two competitive seasons. Week Two sees Brown in a traditional back-to-back weekend against Harvard and Dartmouth. The Bears start the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend with a Saturday visit to Princeton, the last of four straight games away from the Pizzitola Center. On Monday, the team returns home to face its travel partner Yale, the 2019 and 2020 Ivy champs.
Brown faces the Empire State Ivies on successive Saturdays with a visit to Columbia on the 22nd and a visit from Cornell on the 29th. February starts with a home back-to-back against the Crimson and Big Green, followed by a trip to Ithaca to take on the Big Red on the 12th. The Bears will welcome the Ps the following weekend with the Tigers on Friday and Penn on Saturday.
The Lions arrive for Senior Night on the 26th and the regular season concludes with a travel partner showdown at the Bulldogs on March 5.
Martin’s squad has never made it to the Ivy Tournament but has a solid chance this season with the recent news that Tamenang Choh would be returning for a special pandemic-related graduate school season. The two-time All-Ivy, who should be in the conversation for Ivy Player of the Year, will be joined by Ivy Defensive Player of the Year Jaylan Gainey to anchor a powerful frontcourt.