Note: The Talented And Inherently Awesome Mr. Opper hasn't weighed in on this yet. When he does, ignore this.
When you're in a big-time basketball conference, the non-conference schedule serves three purposes: provide a gaudy record so you're ten games over .500 when ish gets real in January, build confidence for your new players, and sell a few tickets. This schedule manages to....
accomplish all three, and even throws in about three tough OOC games for the masochists in the fanbase. (Remember the crying and complaining about our RPI and how easy the schedule was and how this would keep us out of the tournament? We ended with an RPI of 26 and a SOS of 49. Never let the facts interrupt a good argument.) I don't see a loss in these thirteen games, but I do see three types of opponents.
Potential Signature Wins (last year's RPI in parentheses)
Iowa St.-n/s(27), @UNLV(38), Alabama(30), Avondale Jesuit-n/s(51),
Iowa State is small, fast, and is gonna shoot a lotta threes. Sounds familiar. UNLV's a darkhorse Final Four team (inasmuch as EVERYBODY is a darkhorse Final 4 team in August*) and has a guy named Khem Birch who's gonna give us hell. Alabama's a tourney team and that game may set offensive basketball back 25 years. Avondale Jesuit: grudgingly, nuff said.
Will Require A Pulse
New Mexico (19), @Marshall (79), Arkansas-Little Rock (177), Wright St. (221), Mississippi Valley St. (257)
New Mexico is one of those games you love to see. We're gonna beat them by 20 and look awesome before conference play exposes them to not be very good. Marshall was supposed to be great last year...not quite. UALR doesn't completely suck and they have like 3 6'10" white guys. Wright St. is gonna be a bad local team. Bad local teams give us absolute Hades. MVSU was a tourney team, so they go here too.
Tennessee-Martin(334), NCA&T(299), Campbell(241), Maryland-Eastern Shore(331)
Designed exclusively to see if Justin Jackson can drop 30 one magical December night in front of friends, family, and Tom Gelether.
*except Miami. the Redhawks look GAAAAAHHHHH on paper