Air Force basketball was supposed to spend part of the upcoming November in Alaska. Instead, the Falcons have found a considerably warmer climate.
The program announced on Tuesday that it will compete in the Bimini Jam tournament in the Bahamas from Nov. 16-19. The Falcons will open with UMBC, which pulled off the all-time NCAA Tournament stunner in March by knocking off No. 1 overall seed Virginia as a No. 16 seed in the first round.
The Falcons will also face High Point and South Dakota in the event.
Coach Dave Pilipovich said the Falcons were initially slated to play in the Bahamas in 2019-20 after playing in the Great Alaska Shootout in the upcoming season. But the state of Alaska dropped its event, putting the Falcons in the Bahamas for the next two years.
“That would have been a neat thing for our program,” Pilipovich said of playing in Alaska.
However, like anyone, he had no issues with playing in the Bahamas.
The rest of Air Force’s schedule remains somewhat tentative, but planned games include a trip to 2018 runner-up Michigan in December and home games against Army, Colorado and Denver.
The Michigan game was negotiated several years ago as part of the deal that sent the football team to Ann Arbor in 2017 and will bring Pilipovich back to face the program that he once served as an assistant.
Pilipovich and Wolverines coach John Beilein overlapped for only about a month during the offseason that Beilein arrived and Pilipovich left for Air Force.
“I tease him that I’m not a branch on his tree, but I’m a twig,” Pilipovich said.
Air Force (12-19 this past season) will return key big men Lavelle Scottie and Ryan Swan as part of what will be an experienced junior class that also includes guards Sid Tomes and Caleb Morris.
"We’re not going to be very tall, but we’ll be athletic," Pilipovich said. "We’ll be interchangeable. I think we’ll be exciting to watch and play and I’m looking forward to it, if we stay healthy."