Last year the MIAA had voted to play a 22-game conference schedule because some teams were having problems finding games to fill their nonconference slate.
Now as a cost-saving measure from the COVID-19 pandemic, NCAA Division II schools will play four fewer games — from 26 to 22 — for the 2020-21 season.
That leaves MIAA schools with basketball regular-season schedules of only league games, exactly like football. The basketball schedule was released Thursday afternoon.
"I think it's as good as we can do," Missouri Southern women's basketball coach Ronnie Ressel said. "They did a good job as far as spacing things out a little bit. We already had planned on 22 games for a conference schedule, but it is what it is. However many games we can get, we'll play them."
Teams can schedule up to three exhibition games or scrimmages. The MSSU women already have an exhibition game at Wichita State.
"We'll try to find some exhibitions so our guys at least can play three exhibitions in front of fans, whether on the road or at home," Lions men's coach Jeff Boschee said. "A concern is the long break through Christmas (Dec. 19 through Jan. 9). It's a little longer than what we've had in the past."
The Lions are scheduled to open the season on Thursday, Nov. 19, at Central Oklahoma. They will play two days later against Newman in Wichita.
The next games come two weeks later when the Lions open their home slate against Northeastern State on Dec. 3 and Rogers State on Dec. 5.
The Lions have two games against Pittsburg State, on the road Jan. 9 and at home Feb. 20. The Lions play five of their seven games in February at home.
Changes to the schedule can be made with the approval of both schools. The Lions likely will look to find new dates for their Dec. 10 and 12 road games against Central Missouri and Lincoln, respectively, because of finals week.
The smaller schedule cost both MSSU teams the chance to host classics.
"I'm disappointed we missed out on having the Chris Tucker Classic," Boschee said. "That was going to be us, Pittsburg State, Southwest Baptist and Truman State, four good teams. We'll do it next year. We were also going to go to Kansas City again for the MIAA-NSIC crossover challenge."
Missouri Southern's women were scheduled to entertain Henderson State and Harding in the MIAA-GAC Challenge. The challenge also involves Emporia State, and after three years on the road, it was the Lions' turn to be the host.
In fact, the Lions' original November schedule had all home games for the first time in many years.
The MIAA Postseason Tournament will again be held in Kansas City at Municipal Auditorium, but it is only four days this year with eight-team brackets, another cost-cutting move. Last year's tournament had 12-team brackets and five days of games.
Missouri Southern Basketball
Nov. 19 — at Central Oklahoma
Nov. 21 — at Newman
Dec. 3 — vs. Northeastern State
Dec. 5 — vs. Rogers State
Dec. 10 — at Central Missouri
Dec. 12 — at Lincoln
Dec. 17 — vs. Northwest MIssouri
Dec. 19 — vs. Missouri Western
Jan. 9 — at Pittsburg State
Jan. 14 — at Washburn
Jan. 16 — at Emporia State
Jan. 21 — Fort Hays State
Jan. 23 — Nebraska-Kearney
Jan. 28 — at Rogers State
Jan. 30 — at Northeastern State
Feb. 4 — Lincoln
Feb. 6 — Central Missouri
Feb. 11 — at Missouri Western
Feb. 13 — at Northwest Missouri
Feb. 20 — Pittsburg State
Feb. 25 — Washburn
Feb. 27 — Emporia State
March 4-7 — MIAA Tournament
Pittsburg State Basketball
Nov. 19 — at Newman
Nov. 21 — at Central Oklahoma
Dec. 3 — Rogers State
Dec. 5 — Northeastern State
Dec. 10 — at Lincoln
Dec. 12 — at Central Missouri
Dec. 17 — Missouri Western
Dec. 19 — Northwest Missouri
Jan. 9 — Missouri Southern
Jan. 14 — at Emporia State
Jan. 16 — at Washburn
Jan. 21 — Nebraska-Kearney
Jan. 23 — Fort Hays State
Jan. 28 — at Northeastern State
Jan. 30 — at Rogers State
Feb. 4 — Central Missouri
Feb. 6 — Lincoln
Feb. 11 — at Northwest Missouri
Feb. 13 — at Missouri Western
Feb. 20 — at Missouri Southern
Feb. 25 — Emporia State
Feb. 27 — Newman
March 4-7 — MIAA Tournament