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