Steve Pikiell should be able to keep some of the non-conference dates on Rutgers’ schedule this coming season – but likely only the marquee ones.

The NCAA approved a Nov. 25 start date, the day before Thanksgiving, for the 2020-21 men’s and women’s basketball seasons on Wednesday, pushing the season back until most campuses are expected to be empty following early winter breaks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The NCAA also changed the maximum number of games a team can play to 24 games plus a multi-team event or 25 without one. The Division-1 men’s and women’s basketball committees also suggested each program play a minimum of four non-conference games.

The Big Ten already plays 20 league games. So Rutgers could be largely confined to its anticipated date with preseason top-5 Baylor in the Jimmy V Classic (although who knows if and where that will be played), as well as its in-state rivalry game against Seton Hall, the Gavitt Games against a Big East team and the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.

Teams will not be able to hold closed-door scrimmages or play exhibition games prior to the Nov. 25 start date.

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James Kratch may be reached at