Schedule Maker: Looking At Non-League Games That Should Be Played
After 105 years steeped in history amid off-the-chart contempt, the rivalry between Kansas and Missouri expired for the foreseeable future after Mizzou departed the Big 12 Conference for the SEC. Their border war series was as energetic and entertaining as you'll find anywhere and should have been continued. The feud stacked right up there with the more nationally-acclaimed "Clash of the Titans" between Indiana and Kentucky - which also ended because of colossal coaching egos.
By any measure, it was shortsighted of KU/Mizzou and IU/UK to let their rivalries end. Regretably, the schedule neglect doesn't end there. Notre Dame is finally meeting Purdue this year but it's obscene that fans aren't able to enjoy the following potentially great natural non-league matchups between in-state power league members: Cincinnati/Ohio State, DePaul vs. Illinois and Northwestern, Georgetown/Maryland and Penn State vs. Pittsburgh and Villanova.
Misguided Memphis mentor Josh Pastner didn't see the benefit in continuing the Tigers' series with Tennessee. He'd rather just sit at home and beat up on out-of-state fodder such as East Carolina, Harvard, Loyola (Md.), North Florida, Oral Roberts and Samford. Do you think there is any connection between that mindset and Pastner going winless in his first 11 assignments against opponents ranked in the Top 25?
Maryland, rather than coping with an exit fee lawsuit from the ACC, should face litigation from Terrapin fans because of a woeful non-league home schedule. To their credit, the Terps were wlling to play what turned out to be an entertaining game against George Mason. A similar view regarding what's best for the fans, players and game in general also applies to power league members opposing other quality nearby mid-major schools. For instance, Michigan deserves kudos for opposing all three in-state MAC schools while Michigan State should be criticized for avoiding them amid picking on a passel of patsies.
Rather than insomnia-curing mismatches, how much more interest would there be in Wichita State opposing Kansas and Kansas State, Akron and Dayton against Cincinnati and Ohio State, Tulsa against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, VCU against Virginia and Virginia Tech, Illinois State against DePaul and Illinois, plus Belmont against Tennessee and Vanderbilt? What about sizing up the All-American credentials of guards Isiah Canaan (Murray State) against Kentucky and Louisville, D.J. Cooper (Ohio University) against Cincinnati and Ohio State, Matthew Dellavedova (Saint Mary's) against California and Stanford plus C.J. McCollum (Lehigh) against Penn State and Villanova?
The hoop haughtiness of power schools denying fans stimulating non-league games isn't a new phenomenon. For instance, LSU avoided potentially attractive in-state assignments for decades by never opposing McNeese State's Joe Dumars, Tulane's Jerald Honeycutt, New Orleans' Ervin Johnson, Louisiana Tech's Karl Malone, Northeast Louisiana's Calvin Natt, Centenary's Robert Parish and Southwestern Louisiana's Andrew Toney.
Don't we deserve to see national players of the year such as Indiana State's Larry Bird (never opposed Indiana), Navy's David Robinson (Georgetown and Maryland) and Bradley's Hersey Hawkins (Illinois) strut their stuff in regular-season contests against nearby prominent programs? The Terrapins only met "The Admiral" when they were forced to in the second round of 1985 Southeast Regional when Robinson contributed game-high figures in scoring, rebounding and blocks.
In a form of "gaming," a striking number of power league schools appear as if they want to celebrate Black History month in advance during their non-conference slates by overdosing on scheduling outmatched opponents from the MEAC and SWAC. Arkansas, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Missouri and Pittsburgh are among the HBCU adjunct members this season.
If Boston College doesn't discern the value in opposing UMass, it serves the Eagles right to lose to Bryant, which averaged almost 25 defeats the previous four seasons. With respect to Gonzaga, the Zags have the upper hand over Pac-12 member Washington. Even if an observer detests government involvement, perhaps state legislatures should step in where they can and force power league members to get off their high horse and play the following potentially entertaining intra-state games against quality mid-level opponents:
|Power Six Member||Shunned In-State Mid-Major Opponents||Out-of-State Non-League Weak Sisters on 2012-13 Schedule|
|Alabama||South Alabama and UAB||Charleston Southern, Lamar, Mercer, Oakland, Tulane and West Alabama|
|Arkansas||Arkansas State and UALR||Alabama A&M, Alcorn State, Delaware State, Florida A&M, Longwood, Northwestern State and Sam Houston State|
|Auburn||South Alabama and UAB||Furman, Grambling State, IPFW, Tennessee Tech and Winthrop|
|Boston College||Boston University and Massachusetts||Bryant, Florida International, New Hampshire, St. Francis (N.Y.)|
|California||Saint Mary's, San Francisco, San Jose State and Santa Clara||CSU Bakersfield, UC Santa Barbara, Pacific, Pepperdine and Prairie View A&M|
|Cincinnati||Cleveland State, Dayton and MAC schools||Campbell, Maryland-Eastern-Shore, Mississippi Valley State, North Carolina A&T, Tennessee-Martin and UALR|
|DePaul||Bradley and Illinois State||Austin Peay, UC Riverside, Fairfield, Gardner-Webb, Maryland-Baltimore County and Milwaukee|
|Georgetown||George Washington||Duquesne, Liberty, Longwood and Western Carolina|
|Illinois||Bradley, Illinois State, Loyola of Chicago and Southern Illinois||Colgate, Eastern Kentucky, Gardner-Webb, Norfolk State, St. Francis (N.Y.) and Western Carolina|
|Indiana||Evansville, Indiana State and Valparaiso||Bryant, Central Connecticut State, Coppin State, Florida Atlantic, Jacksonville, Mount St. Mary's, North Dakota State and Sam Houston State|
|Kansas||Wichita State||American, Belmont, Chattanooga, San Jose State, Southeast Missouri State|
|Kansas State||Wichita State||Alabama-Huntsville, Lamar, North Dakota, North Florida, USC Upstate, South Dakota, Texas Southern and UMKC|
|Kentucky||Murray State and Western Kentucky||Eastern Michigan, Lafayette, Lipscomb, Long Island, Portland and Samford|
|Louisiana State||Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana Tech and Tulane||Bethune-Cookman, UC Santa Barbara, Chattanooga, Houston Baptist, Mississippi Valley State|
|Louisville||Murray State||FIU, Illinois State, Manhattan, Miami (Ohio), Samford and UMKC|
|Maryland||American, George Washington and Loyola (Md.)||Delaware State, Georgia Southern, IUPUI, Lafayette, Long Island, Monmouth, Morehead State, South Carolina State and Stony Brook|
|Memphis||Belmont, Chattanooga and Middle Tennessee||East Carolina, Harvard, Loyola (Md.), North Florida, Ohio, Oral Roberts, Samford|
|Michigan State||Detroit and MAC members||Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Boise State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Loyola of Chicago, Nicholls State, Texas Southern and Tuskegee|
|Mississippi||Southern Mississippi||Coastal Carolina, East Tennessee State, Fordham, Lipscomb, McNeese State and UALR|
|Mississippi State||Southern Mississippi||Alabama A&M, Central Arkansas, Florida Atlantic, New Orleans and Texas-San Antonio|
|Missouri||Missouri State and Saint Louis||Alcorn State, Appalachian State, Bucknell, Nicholls State, South Carolina State, SIU-Edwardsville and Tennessee State|
|Notre Dame||Butler and Indiana State||Brown, Chicago State, Kennesaw State, Monmouth, Niagara and Saint Francis (Pa.)|
|Ohio State||Akron, Cleveland State, Dayton, Ohio and Xavier||Albany, Chicago State, UNC Asheville, Northern Kentucky, Savannah State, UMKC and Winthrop|
|Oklahoma||Tulsa||Louisiana-Monroe, Northwestern State, Ohio, Stephen F. Austin and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi|
|Oklahoma State||Oral Roberts and Tulsa||UC Davis, Central Arkansas, Missouri State, Portland State, Tennessee Tech and Texas-Arlington|
|Penn State||Drexel and Lehigh||Army, Delaware State and New Hampshire|
|Pittsburgh||Duquesne and Robert Morris||Bethune-Cookman, Delaware State, Detroit, Fordham, Howard, Kennesaw State, Mount St. Mary's, North Florida and Oakland|
|Purdue||Butler, Evansville, Indiana State and Valparaiso||Bucknell, Hofstra, Lamar, UNC Wilmington and William & Mary|
|St. John's||Iona, Long Island, Manhattan and Stony Brook||Detroit, Florida Gulf Coast, Holy Cross, NJIT and UNC Asheville|
|Stanford||Saint Mary's, San Jose State and Santa Clara||Alcorn State, Belmont, UC Davis, Cal State Fullerton, Denver, Lafayette and Seattle|
|Syracuse||Buffalo, Niagara, St. Bonaventure and Siena||Alcorn State, Central Connecticut State, Detroit, Eastern Michigan, Monmouth, Princeton and Wagner|
|Tennessee||Austin Peay, Belmont, Chattanooga and Middle Tennessee||Kennesaw State, Oakland, Presbyterian and Western Carolina|
|Texas||Houston, Southern Methodist, Texas A&M and Texas-El Paso||Coppin State and Fresno State|
|Utah||Utah State and Utah Valley||Boise State, Cal State Northridge, Central Michigan, College of Idaho, Idaho State, Sacramento State, Williamette and Wright State|
|Vanderbilt||Austin Peay, Belmont, Chattanooga and Memphis||Alabama A&M, Cornell, Nicholls State and William & Mary|
|Villanova||Bucknell, Drexel and Lehigh||Columbia, Delaware, District of Columbia, Marshall and NJIT|
|Virginia||James Madison, Richmond and VCU||Delaware, Fairfield, Green Bay, Lamar, Mississippi Valley State, Morgan State, North Texas, Seattle and Wofford|
|Virginia Tech||George Mason, James Madison, Old Dominion, Richmond and VCU||Appalachian State, East Tennessee State, Georgia Southern, Mississippi Valley State and Rhode Island|
|Washington||Gonzaga||Albany, Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton, Jackson State, Loyola (Md.), Nevada and Northern Illinois|