2017-18 Non-Conference Schedule Rankings
The new college basketball season is very nearly here, so it’s time to talk about the portion of the slate coaches and ADs control...in mind-numbingly tedious detail.
Of the 10 teams in the league, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and Baylor built the strongest schedules, while Texas Tech didn’t really try.
While Nevada enters this season with a great chance to repeat, the team the Wolf Pack knocked out on Selection Eve—Colorado State—built a schedule that might just push it into the at-large picture.
Middle Tennessee is aiming for a third straight NCAA bid. And yet again, the Blue Raiders have built a non-conference schedule that would be at-large worthy in an ideal world.
Should Vermont repeat its 2017 America East Playoffs triumph, the Catamounts will be poised to improve upon last season’s 13 seed, thanks to a sterling non-conference schedule
With several ACC home slates best described as "aggressively dull," the onus will be on league members to win games away from home this November and December, particularly on neutral floors.
Of the conference’s three best known names, Gonzaga did the best job in building its November and December schedule—with Saint Mary’s and BYU failing to match the Bulldogs.
Mid-major non-conference scheduling can be a challenge. It’s one league power FGCU faced proactively this year. While the Eagles don’t have the ASUN’s top schedule, they do have a more appropriate one for their goals for the new season.
Last season, the conference’s NCAA rep, Winthrop, earned a higher seed than the league would normally expect. And the Big South’s general struggle in November and December scheduling plays a role in that.
Thanks in part to Wofford’s new arena, the Southern Conference boasts a pair of top 40 non-conference schedules.
With top 100 non-conference slates, UNI and Illinois State are the Valley’s best hopes for remaining in the national picture following Wichita State’s departure for the Power 7.
Big East members, step forward if you tried when you built your early schedule for 2017. Not so fast, Georgetown.
It’s been 17 seasons since the Midwest’s flagship conference claimed an NCAA crown. After looking at another set of largely uninspiring non-conference slates, I’m starting to think the Big Ten’s approach to November and December might be part of the problem.
Ball State, a title contender, has the league’s only non-conference schedule that might be at-large worthy this season.
The West’s lowest-ranked conference experiences scheduling challenges that leagues situated in other parts of the country can more easily avoid.
One of this season’s conference favorites boasts its most difficult non-league slate. But in a major upset, it isn’t Stephen F. Austin.
If you’re looking for this conference’s strongest non-league slates, make your way to the Detroit area.
As has been the case in recent seasons, the conference favorite, College of Charleston, might struggle to make an at-large case, thanks to its November and December slate.
Over the past few seasons, the SEC has aimed to improve its overall non-conference scheduling. Those efforts really paid off this season.
Last season was the Pac-12’s best in quite some time. While 2017-18 could be even better, the league’s potential contenders built their November and December schedules rather unevenly.
South Dakota State has represented the Summit in two consecutive NCAA Tournaments—and the Jackrabbits have a non-conference schedule that will prepare them for a three-peat.
These days, "Belmont" is the first name that pops into most folks’ heads after hearing the abbreviation "OVC." But a few of the Nashville school’s league rivals have built non-conference schedules that size up favorably when compared to the Bruins’ slate.
While Mount St. Mary’s represented the league in the NCAAs last March, the team with the NEC’s most difficult non-conference schedule is favored to replace them in 2018.
Much like the SWAC, members of Division I’s Eastern HBCU league are at a disadvantage when putting together their November and December slates. But unlike their Western counterparts, MEAC schools at least get to spend a little more time closer to home during the season’s opening weeks.
Seemingly all of the focus on the WAC nationally is honed in on a newly tournament-eligible team, but after looking at the schedules, maybe it shouldn’t be.
The Ancient Eight’s top three title contenders all boast non-conference schedules that rank in the national top 100.
The league’s newest member, Wichita State, has a schedule that will prepare it to make a title run in its first American campaign. But the Shockers don’t have the top non-league slate of the 12 presented below.
Last March, Bucknell put West Virginia on notice in the NCAA Tournament’s First Round. This fall, the Bison will attempt to do the same against several other national powers.
A relatively late early season tournament change led to Appalachian State jumping UT Arlington in the Sun Belt’s non-conference schedule rankings.
While Rhode Island heads into the new season as the 14-team league’s favorite, the Rams don’t lead the way in the scheduling department.