MISSOULA — A home-heavy slate of 17 games highlights the Montana Grizzlies' 2021-22 men's basketball schedule.

Montana released the full schedule Tuesday, giving answers to a number of nonconference games that were not known yet. Montana will open the season Nov. 9 in Dahlberg Arena against Dickinson State, which is coached by former Griz player Derek Selvig.

The Griz will also bring a few mid-major teams to Missoula over Thanksgiving weekend as part of the Zootown Classic multi-team event. The event will be a round-robin tournament that will feature two games on each day from Nov. 24 through Nov. 26. Montana, UC San Diego, UNC Wilmington and Southern Mississippi are the four teams. 

Using last season's rankings from KenPom.com, Montana has the highest rating of the four teams at the Zootown Classic at 189, followed by UC San Diego at 231, UNC Wilmington at 248 and Southern Mississippi at 256.

"We're hopeful we'll be able to do this every year, or at least regularly," Griz head coach Travis DeCuire said in press release regarding the home tournament. "No. 1, it gives us more home games, and gives our fans more basketball to enjoy, and No. 2, it's done in a format where we're playing on back-to-back days and preparing us for the conference tournament."

As for the Grizzlies' other nonconference games, they'll play at Mississippi State (Nov. 13), at North Dakota (Nov. 15), home against Omaha (Nov. 20), at Oregon (Nov. 29), home against Air Force (Dec. 8), home against Yellowstone Christian (Dec. 10) and at Santa Clara (Dec. 19).

The Grizzlies will face two non-Division I teams this season in Dickinson State and Yellowstone Christian but will face two high-majors in Mississippi State out of the SEC and Oregon out of the Pac-12.

The Big Sky Conference slate returns to its traditional 20-game format this season.

Lance Hartzler covers Griz men's basketball and prep sports for the Missoulian. Follow him on Twitter at @lance_hartz or shoot him an email at Lance.Hartzler@406mtsports.com.

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