Ranking the Big luka jersey East’s Non-Conference Basketball Schedules for 2018-19
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Ranking The Teams
With two national championships in three seasons, it’s no surprise that Villanova tops the four-year rankings for the second straight season. A full 60 percent of the Big East ranks within the top 50, with Providence barely hanging on and Marquette knocking on the door. With St. John’s edging up to 93rd from 102nd, DePaul is now the lone league member ranked outside of the top 100.
KenPom Gaps For 2018-19
KenPom’s preseason projections expect half of the conference to outperform their four-year histories, with the bulk of those teams outfits that struggled last season. The other half, including Villanova and four of the league’s other five NCAA teams, are expected to take a step back. However, in all cases, the metrics project that each of these squads should still contend for at-large bids.
Ranking The Schedules
The strength of the Big East’s exempt events boost its collective average schedule ranking to sixth nationally (out of 32 conferences). With half of the league’s non-conference slates ranking in the top 100, the Big East should probably be higher, but the weak slates DePaul, Georgetown, and St. John’s built really weigh the league down. And with two of those teams expecting to compete for at-large bids this season, they could find themselves in trouble with the Selection Committee if they’re average in conference play.
Note: The number of asterisks (*) represent the number of pending games on a team’s schedule.
Who Over- And Under-Scheduled?
Xavier, a team known for building strong non-conference schedules, is the only Big East squad that over-scheduled this season. Everyone else under-scheduled relative to their four-year ranking, with DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, and St. John’s all doing so by at least 100 spots. The Blue Demons’ slate is nearly 200 places worse than their (not great) recent performances, while the Hoyas’ is 255 spots below their four-year team score.
Road And Non-D1 Games
For the second season in a row, the Big East will play fewer true non-conference road games than any Power 7 conference that’s not the Big 12. However, the league’s average of nearly two such games per team is far more respectable when compared to their typically more-bloated power league brethren. While the Big East’s overall number of road games increased by three, the number of such games played against non-power opponents dropped by a whopping five.
While the Big East’s number of non-D1 games is half of what it was a season ago, this is the third straight season in which Creighton has scheduled such a contest.
Non-Conference Games By League
Looking For A Deeper Season Preview?
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For the second straight season, the Big East’s Gavitt Games partner, the Big Ten, tops this table—with 14 set games for the second straight season. The rest of the top four—the NEC, A 10, and MEAC—remain in place, though in a slightly different order. Meanwhile, the ACC and Horizon jump into a tie for fifth, replacing the Pac-12.
Next season, the Big 12, currently 10th, will likely jump to the top, thanks to its new challenge series with the Big East. Four of those games will be return contests for matchups scheduled this season.
In 2017-18, three conferences were missing from Big East schedules. This time around, that number has dropped to one, and it’s the CAA—a mild surprise (though the two leagues met just once a season ago).
No single non-conference opponent appears on more than a pair of Big East schedules. St. John’s loaded its non-league slate with four squads from the weak NEC and DePaul put three MEAC clubs on its slate. Meanwhile, Seton Hall went in a different direction, as the Pirates will play a trio of Big Ten teams.
Non-Conference Games By Quad
Big East squads will entertain just 11 top 75 teams (according to the four-year ranking) this season, while they’ll play 17 such games away from home. That’s a good thing for the conference’s overall prospects. However, the fact that 52 of the conference’s 78 total home games feature teams from Quad 4 (or outside of D1) isn’t great for fans or Fox NHL Car AccessoriesSports’ ratings.
Teams are listed in order of their Super Average Schedule Ranking. The number in front of an opponent name is its Four-Year Ranking. Logos via SportsLogos.net.
11. Xavier Musketeers
*Exempt Event: Maui Jim Maui Invitational
Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 2 wins (@Wisconsin, Cincinnati) and 0 losses
With Chris Mack finally lured away from his alma mater by Louisville, it’s up to Travis Steele to keep the great Musketeer basketball tradition going. And Xavier will be tested by the first non-conference slate of the Steele administration, even if the home schedule is not all that thrilling outside of the Gavitt Games contest against Wisconsin. That’s because the Musketeers will participate in a loaded Maui Jim Maui Invitational in November and visit a pair of 2018 NCAA teams, Crosstown Shootout rival Cincinnati and Missouri, in December.
39. Creighton Bluejays
*Exempt Event: Cayman Islands Classic
Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 1 win (Nebraska) and 1 loss (@Gonzaga)
Even with a non-D1 game scheduled, the Bluejays slate still ranks second in the Big East, thanks largely to home contests against Ohio State and Gonzaga, along with regional Power 7 trips to Nebraska and Oklahoma, even if the Huskers are a stronger at-large bet at this point. Plus, there’s the Cayman Islands Classic, which will see SoCon power ETSU visit Omaha before Greg McDermott’s club heads to Caribbean. The Jays must like their chances reach the final, where 2018 Sweet Sixteen club Clemson would be the most likely opponent.
54. Seton Hall Pirates
*Exempt Event: Wooden Legacy
Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 2 wins (@Louisville, Wagner) and 1 loss (@Rutgers)
The Pirates will play games on both coasts as they attempt to earn their fourth consecutive NCAA bid. For starters, Kevin Willard’s team will play six contests in Newark, highlighted by a visit from Chris Mack’s first Louisville squad, and another in New York, as the Cards’ Bluegrass rivals, Kentucky, will meet the Hall at Madison Square Garden. The Pirates will also head to the Midwest to take on Nebraska in the Gavitt Games, then go all the way to the O.C. for the Wooden Legacy, where a potential semifinal against Utah could be a vital matchup with March Madness implications. And if those contests weren’t enough, the Hall also takes on a Maryland squad that should be much improved in College Park.
78. Villanova Wildcats
*Exempt Event: AdvoCare Invitational
Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 7 wins (Penn, @Saint Joseph’s, La Salle, @Temple, @UConn, Kansas (N), Michigan (N)) and 0 losses
Really, the first two games on the home schedule, featuring Morgan State and Quinnipiac, weigh the defending National Champs’ schedule down, as there’s plenty of quality here. For starters, Jay Wright’s Wildcats will face both of the teams it defeated in last season’s Final Four—championship game victim Michigan at home in the Gavitt series and semifinal opponent Kansas at Phog Allen. Nova will also travel to Florida for the AdvoCare Invitational, where they’ll hope to improve upon the 2-1 second-place finish they recorded in 2007. Florida State, a 2018 Elite Eight squad, is a possible championship game foe mets camo jersey for the ‘Cats in that event. And as always, there’s the Big Five, which sees Villanova face both Ivy champ Penn and La Salle at the Palestra and Temple and Saint Joseph’s, both expected to be improved, at the refurbished Finneran Pavilion.
96. Butler Bulldogs
*Exempt Event: Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis
Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 1 win (Saint Louis) and 0 losses
LaVall Jordan’s first season in charge at Hinkle Fieldhouse was a success, as the Bulldogs reached the NCAAs and managed to win a game. In year two, Butler should be able to rack up some home non-conference wins, with an Ole Miss team that’s breaking in a new coach and Big West favorite UC Irvine the most dangerous visitors, while potentially struggling away from home. Not only will Butler take part in the Battle 4 Atlantis, where Virginia looms as a potential semifinal opponent, they’ll travel to both A 10 favorite Saint Louis and Florida, an SEC sleeper (and a team the Bulldogs could meet on day three in the Bahamas). And if all that weren’t enough, Indiana, expected to take a leap forward in Archie Miller’s second season in charge, is this season’s Crossroads Classic opponent.
103. Providence Friars
*Exempt Event: Air Force Reserve Tip-Off (Naismith Bracket)
Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 1 win (Boston College) and 2 losses (@Rhode Island, @UMass)
Despite putting up some indifferent non-conference results a season ago, the Friars pushed themselves into the NCAAs late, thanks in no small part to reaching the Big East Tournament final. And Ed Cooley’s squad could find itself in a similar position this season, as there are some challenges on this slate, even if a few teams found on it (like Veterans Classic opponent Wichita State and in-state rival Rhode Island) are likely to take a step or two back in 2018-19. That’s because there are just more teams—like Boston College, Texas, and Hall of Fame Tip-Off opponent South Carolina—likely to be stronger than they were a season ago.
153. Marquette Golden Eagles
*Exempt Event: NIT Season Tip-Off
Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 1 win (Wisconsin) and 0 losses
With the Golden Eagles playing their first season in Milwaukee’s new downtown arena, it’s no surprise that Steve Wojciechowski’s non-conference slate is home heavy. And while Marquette fans will have to endure their share of blowouts, at least archrival Wisconsin, Elite Eight squad Kansas State, and MAC champ Buffalo visit, as does UMBC, a team that will look to follow up its historic 16-over-1 upset by ruining opening night for the Golden Eagles. But it’s the three games scheduled to be played away from home that keep this schedule from dropping too far down the standings—the NIT Season Tip-Off is one of the strongest exempt events this season, while a road game at Indiana in the Gavitt Games will be an excellent early test.
256. St. John’s Red Storm
*Exempt Event: GotPrint.com Legends Classic
Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 2 wins (Sacred Heart, Duke) and 0 losses
Chris Mullin’s fourth season in Jamaica, Queens is setting up to be a vital one, as the Red Storm only managed to finish 16-17 a season ago despite defeating Duke at Madison Square Garden. The problem was—that win snapped an 11-game losing streak that had completely wrecked St. John’s season. With the Red Storm expected to be in the at-large hunt this season, Mullin didn’t really put together a schedule that will help his team reach that goal. For starters, the Red Storm will leave the Tri-State area just twice in NFL Underwearnon-league play, with only the February rematch with Duke at Cameron Indoor likely to provide a boost to the Johnnies’ profile. As for the 11 games scheduled for New York or New Jersey, St. John’s had better hope they win the Legends Classic and that Princeton challenges for the Ivy League crown.
325. Georgetown Hoyas
*Exempt Event: Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic
Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 3 wins (Maryland Eastern Shore, @Richmond, Howard) and 1 loss (Syracuse)
While Patrick Ewing’s first Hoya team only finished with a .500 record, thanks to a season-ending five-game losing streak, Georgetown managed to provide its fan with glimmers of hope during Big East play and during its 10-1 run through a very weak non-conference slate. This year’s version, featuring nine teams ranked outside of the four-year ranking’s top 200 and a trip to Ewing’s native Jamaica for their exempt tournament, is slightly better, but still won’t help the Hoyas if they get themselves into the at-large picture in March. With SMU likely to take another step back and Illinois not likely to be Big Dance threat yet, a trip to former league rival Syracuse will almost assuredly be Georgetown’s only non-conference game that should feature a potential 2019 NCAA team.
340. DePaul Blue Demons
No Exempt Event
Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 1 win (@UIC) and 2 losses (Notre Dame, Northwestern)
While Georgetown’s schedule is bad, the Blue Demons’ is a little worse, thanks to the five home games against teams ranked among the bottom 50 and two more against teams ranked in the bottom 100. Road trips to Notre Dame and Northwestern and visits from Penn State and Boston College don’t really help boost DePaul’s slate. Making matters worse, DePaul is the lone power conference team not participating in an exempt tournament this season, which means the Blue Demons are quite possibly missing a couple of mid-tier games that would have improved this slate’s ranking. But with Dave Leitao’s second tour of duty in Chicago having only resulted in 29 wins, the Blue Demons should at least be able to enter Big East play with some wins and confidence this January.
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