Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Importance of Non-Conference Scheduling

If you look at some of the non-conference schedules for Big Sky teams, it is no surprise that it is tough to schedule in the Big Sky, and especially difficult to get a quality non-conference opponent to visit at your home arena.

This is a problem, as a blog post from ESPN makes it clear that non-conference SOS is a key criterion for selecting NCAA teams.

Memphis coach Josh Pastner went straight to the source to get his information, picking the brain of Division I men's basketball committee chair Jeff Hathaway [the embattled UConn athletic director] and to gain the knowledge he needed to possibly put the Tigers in a better position to make the tournament.

"I talked to him about what is the committee going to look at as you go into next year for the '11-'12 year, and he talked about non-conference strength of schedule -- who you play, where you play and how you did," a smiling Pastner told the team's website.
Now, you may be asking what this has to do with the Big Sky, since we have never received a second bid to the NCAA Tournament, and it is unlikely that this is the year a team will be selected as an at-large. That is missing the point.

If non-conference scheduling is key for getting selected, it stands to reason that it is a key factor in determining where a team that gets in the Tournament gets seeded. Non-conference scheduling could be the difference between the Big Sky winner getting a 15 seed or getting a 13-14 seed, and obviously that plays a huge role in their chances to win in round 1 (ahem, round 2). This is why it is vital for Big Sky teams to schedule as many games against good opponents as they can, and hopefully win a couple of them.

And who knows, maybe someday we will see 2 Big Sky teams in the NCAA Tournament.

1 comment:

  1. It can be a double edged sword, too. If you play too tough of a schedule and lose most of the games, if not all, the RPI will still take a hit. Some Big Sky teams do schedule too easy, but there are some who scedule way over their heads.