Air Force's Dave Pilipovich wanted rugged challenges to prepare his men's basketball team for the Mountain West Conference.
He found those challenges in nonconference games against Colorado, Wichita State and Florida, all NCAA teams in 2011-12. The teams combined to win 77 games last season.
“I think we need to be challenged,” Pilipovich said Tuesday at his office. “It may not be good for us as far as wins and losses, but it will be good for us in January and February.”
In January and February, the Falcons will be playing Mountain West opponents.
The annual CU game, which is at Boulder this season, will offer Air Force fans a chance to watch freshman forwards Josh Scott and Wesley Gordon. Scott led Lewis-Palmer to a dramatic victory over Gordon and Sierra in last season’s 4A state final.
Pilipovich has long watched Scott’s growth as a player. Pilipovich’s son, Kyle, played alongside Scott at Discovery Canyon before Scott transferred to Lewis-Palmer.
“I have a lot of respect for Josh and his family,” Pilipovich said. “I love his hunger and thirst for the game. I hope he has a great year except for one game.”
A Jan. 2 game at Richmond was a late addition to the schedule. Richmond is led by former Air Force coach Chris Mooney.
Mooney and his Spiders are scheduled to play a return game at Air Force’s Clune Arena in 2013-14.
“More than wanting to play them, the date worked,” Pilipovich said.
Richmond is coming off a rebuilding 16-16 season. The Spiders won 29 games and traveled to the NCAA round of 16 in 2010-2011.
“I think we have a chance to be really good,” Mooney said.
Mooney worked at Air Force from 2000-2005, the first four seasons as Joe Scott’s top assistant and the last as head coach. He’s looking forward to returning to Clune in 2013-14.
“It will be really interesting,” he said. “I was at Air Force Academy for five years and loved every day of it. I’m really excited about being back there.”
Senior center Taylor Broekhuis is recovering from mononucleosis. “He’s at about 50 percent,” Pilipovich said. Broekhuis, a Colorado Springs Christian School grad, has started 58 of Air Force’s last 59 games.