FanPost

Basketball Non-Conference Review and Predictions

This year's non-conference schedule will differ from years past in that it has far fewer automatic wins, but the possibility still exists of a non-con sweep as I would put no game below the 50/50 mark in terms of chance of victory. Here is how I would categorize the games in order of difficulty, from least difficult:

CUPCAKE WINS (Yes, just one cupcake in my view!)

1. IUPUI --- 6-26 (1-15) -- WIN
This team is truly the only awful team we face, a dramatic change from year's past and a nod to the new scheduling philosophy.

LIKELY WINS

2. SE Louisiana -- 13-18 (10-8, 4th) - WIN
13-18 was certainly not a good record, but the Lions improved throughout the year and earned a 4th place, 10-8 finish in a decent Southland Conference.

3. Southern Illinois -- 14-17 (6-12, last) -- WIN
It's nice we're playing the Salukis instead of SIUE, who we have scheduled in year's past. Though SIU was in last, they did win 6 league games in the Missouri Valley and a few of those losses were tight. So definitely towards the easier part of our schedule but a step up from the SIUE's of the world.

4. Nevada (game is in Vegas)-- 12-19 (3-13) - WIN
Nevada was last place in the extremely difficult Mountain West, which produced five tournament teams. Rarely embarrassed but rarely successful, it will be interesting to see if the Wolf Pack are improved at all. I put this as more difficult than SIU because it's neutral and the difficulty of the Mountain West schedule overall.

5. Gardner Webb -- 21-13 (11-5, 2nd) -- WIN
This is an example of a mid major team that is not a cupcake and could present a challenge. The Bulldogs gave Illinois a 1 point fight, beat DePaul and were competitive with Iowa. A game we should win but not one that won't be competitive.

WINS, BUT IT'S TOUGHER

6. Northwestern (in Vegas) -- 13-19 (4-14, 11th) --- WIN
Well, it's too bad this tournament in Vegas is so crappy and that we don't want to play UCLA twice, as this game and Nevada are not going to challenge us much, at least one wouldn't think. It's still a neutral site game so you have to be careful, but we'll win this one.

7. Western Michigan -- 22-13 (10-6, 1st in div) -- WIN
Western Michigan is exactly who we should be scheduling. They weren't Ohio and Akron (who each had 14 wins in conference) but they did win their division, go 22-13 overall and reach the semis of the CBI. This is the type of opponent that we should win but will challenge us and help prepare us better for the conference season.

8. Hawaii (in KC) -- 17-15 (10-8, 5th) - WIN
I like this game and again fits nicely into the scheduling model that we should be using. You'd prefer a tougher team for a game at Sprint Center, but it's not a cupcake either. The Big West, at the top, plays some good basketball so to finish 5th is respectable. Still, we will win.

9. Long Beach State -- 19-14 -- (14-4, 1st) -- WIN
You have to credit Long Beach State. Year in and year out they play an absolutely brutal schedule in the non-con, and it sets them up well for their league. They lose those games, by in large (note the 5-10 non con record), but you can't sleep on these guys. Still should be a win.

10. West Virginia -- 13-19 -- (6-12, 8th) -- WIN
I wish we would have been handed someone else for the challenge series with our old friends from the Big 12, but this still an interesting game and it will be fun to have Huggins back in Columbia. This is a game we should win, and win handily, but certainly not a gimme by any means as I suspect WV will be improved.

TOSS-UPS

11. Illinois (in St. Louis) -- 23-13 -- (8-10, 7th) -- WIN
I put this game as 11th simply because half the crowd will be our fans and though it's neutral, Illinois is not as good as UCLA. It will be interesting to see if we can keep our streak alive in St. Louis, but I suspect we will.

12. at NC State -- 24-11 (11-7, 4th) -- LOSS
This is the sole true road game on our schedule and I think will prove to be difficult for the Tigers. However, NC State lost 5 of its top 6 scorers from a year ago and are probably an NIT level team. They do have some incoming and returning talent so this is a 50/50 game in my mind. I actually think the UCLA game is more difficult but I think we will stumble at Raleigh.

13. UCLA -- 25-10 (13-5, 1st) -- WIN
This game is certainly going to be a challenge as UCLA is going to be a Top 20 team. It's also great to see a team of this caliber and name ID come to Columbia. I think the crowd will be fired up and I think we get it done and it sets the tone for the year.

So, there you have it. I see 10-3 as the real floor but 13-0 is possible as well. Going with 12-1. What say you?

FanPosts may be posted by any RMN member and may not reflect the views of the management staff of Rock M Nation or SB Nation.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Rock M Nation

You must be a member of Rock M Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Rock M Nation. You should read them.

Join Rock M Nation

You must be a member of Rock M Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Rock M Nation. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker