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Air Force men's hoops unable to land a third major opponent this year; DU added for 2015

July 19, 2014 Updated: July 19, 2014 at 4:59 pm
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Air Force's Kamryn Williams (4) drives to the hoop guarded by New Mexico's Alex Kirk (53) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M., Wednesday, March 5, 2014. New Mexico won the game 80-52.(AP Photo/Juan Antonio Labreche)

Air Force is nearly finished building its 2014-15 men's basketball schedule, but hasn't managed to find an additional big-name opponent.

The Falcons will be adding Denver as a future foe, but not this season.

The nonconference schedule this year will be highlighted by games at Colorado and Texas Tech on Thanksgiving week, but Air Force couldn't find a comparable program to visit their home floor.

"We've tried so hard, but I don't think it's going to happen," coach Dave Pilipovich said. "I don't want to be selfish, but we want to get somebody here."

Playing at The Broadmoor World Arena was considered, but Pilipovich said a team couldn't be lured there or into what he called the "comfy confines of Clune Arena."

As of now, the Falcons open at the Military Classic and will later face opponents that include UC Davis, Nebraska-Omaha and Grambling. They play at Colorado on Nov. 25 and at Texas Tech on Nov. 30.

The Mountain West schedule has not yet been announced, so Air Force doesn't know which two opponents it will face only at home or on the road. The remaining eight teams will be played twice.

The conference did announce a change to its tournament format, since San Jose State is not eligible due to low academic progress rate scores. The teams finishing the regular-season seventh through 10th will play in the first round March 11, with the top six finishers receiving automatic berths into the quarterfinals. Games will be held over four consecutive days.

While it won't impact this year's schedule, Air Force has signed a four-year deal with Denver that will begin with a game in Denver on 2016 and then alternate each year to give each team a pair of home and road games.

The Pioneers are coached by Joe Scott, who helmed the Falcons' program from 2000-04.

"He and I have gotten along really well since I've been here," Pilipovich said. "It's a road game that's only an hour away, tops. It is a quality opponent and it's another Front Range team, so we play them all now."

Pilipovich said plenty of possibilities exist for the 2015-16 nonconference schedule. He has reached out to St. John's for a game at Madison Square Garden, to Arizona State and even to Duke and other ACC teams.

This year's game at Texas Tech resulted from a desire to give seniors Justin Hammonds and Max Yon a game in their home state. Hammonds is from Houston; Yon from San Antonio.

"We wanted to get closer than that, but we're in the state," Pilipovich said. "We've reached out to some of the other teams but couldn't get them to say yes. Texas Tech did."

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