clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Analyzing The Pac-12’s Non-Conference Schedules For 2017-18

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.

NCAA Basketball: Oregon at UCLA
UCLA should celebrate...the Bruins pulled off a rather unique feat in building this season’s non-conference schedule.
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

For all of the posts in this series, visit the 2017-18 Non-Conference Scheduling Hub.

Ranking The Teams

The Pac-12 appears to be at a point where its ranking among the conferences could very well rocket over the next few seasons. Three of the top four teams in the four-year ranking—Arizona, Oregon, and UCLA—should all contend for NCAA bids yet again, as should the fourth, Utah, which suffered an uncharacteristic down season in 2016-17. And while there are serious question marks surrounding Cal and Colorado, the three teams ranking immediately below them—USC, Stanford, and Arizona State are all expected to be in the at-large hunt, with the Trojans pegged as a potential Final Four squad by some pundits. As for the bottom 25%, Oregon State can’t possibly be as awful as they were last season, while both new coach Mike Hopkins and fourth-year boss Ernie Kent have plenty of work to do at Washington and Washington State, respectively. While the Cougars seem hopeless, both the Beavers and Huskies should again add to the Pac-12’s national prestige sooner rather than later.

Pac-12 Team Score Rankings

Team Team Score National Rank
Team Team Score National Rank
Arizona 12.58496 7
Oregon 10.4382 18
Utah 9.14201 24
UCLA 8.784755 28
California 6.58868 49
Colorado 5.486243 60
USC 4.9123145 65
Stanford 4.551747 74
Arizona State 3.6718695 85
Washington 2.66377524 103
Oregon State 1.026134 135
Washington State -0.9089125 183
Average 5.745147978 69.25
Conference Rank 6th of 32

Ranking The Schedules

Each Pac-12 member will participate in a bracketed exempt tournament this season, which explains why the league’s four schedule strength rankings vary so widely. Factor in the best-possible results in these events, or even just the average field strength, and the conference ranks near the top of the nation in terms of non-conference scheduling. But if you only look at the games set in stone, or tournament worst case scenarios, and the Pac-12’s slates look decidedly mediocre.

Much of that mediocrity can be blamed on the presence of three league members—Washington State, Oregon, and Oregon State—near the very bottom of Division I in most metrics. All three rank 299th or worse in three of the four categories—and that’s a heavy weight on the Pac-12’s average numbers even when the rest of the league sits among the top 200.

*Denotes team will participate in a bracketed tournament. Reminder: Known Score = known matchups only; Average Score = known games+average of potential bracketed matchups; Maximum Score = known games+games against best potential bracketed matchups; Minimum Score = known games+games against worst potential bracketed matchups

SEC Schedule Strengths And National Ranks

Super Avg. Rank Team Known Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Average Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Maximum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Minimum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank
Super Avg. Rank Team Known Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Average Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Maximum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank Minimum Schedule Strength Natl. Rank
3 Florida** 6.894278234 4 7.557835135 3 8.563254275 3 6.817776887 5
7 Kentucky 6.804183713 6 6.804183713 7 6.804183713 12 6.804183713 6
25 South Carolina* 4.858765803 29 5.147800462 27 5.634734818 24 4.660866107 29
29 Tennessee* 4.311139917 50 5.083224327 28 5.445626462 31 4.720822192 27
43 Auburn** 2.834959216 115 4.580925077 42 5.461083568 29 3.590866664 68
53 Ole Miss* 3.92253552 66 4.241016278 55 4.910253364 46 3.571779191 70
66 Alabama** 3.75725393 73 4.333874586 53 5.345006767 39 2.951919125 108
106 Vanderbilt 3.209216225 96 3.209216225 106 3.209216225 121 3.209216225 91
121 Missouri** 2.578199043 127 2.751026195 125 3.563182827 101 2.11993614 142
125 LSU** 1.638174927 183 2.752327846 123 4.248368035 71 1.536386495 186
134 Texas A&M 2.614172371 124 2.614172371 135 2.614172371 154 2.614172371 118
150 Arkansas 2.308729385 144 2.308729385 152 2.308729385 168 2.308729385 133
152 Mississippi State* 1.837824665 169 2.325408123 150 2.793656229 143 1.857160017 160
201 Georgia** 0.6073438045 251 1.595156604 199 2.411386219 163 0.8285221231 234
86.78571429 Average 3.44119834 102.6428571 3.950349738 86.07142857 4.522346733 78.92857143 3.399452617 98.35714286
1/32 Conference Rank 2 of 32 1 of 32 2 of 32 2 of 32

Who Over- And Under-Scheduled?

UCLA ranks first in the nation in terms of this metric. While two other teams, DePaul and Wagner, also failed to have a scheduling gap, the Bruins are far superior to both the Blue Demons and Seahawks in terms of their Team Score.

In terms of the Pac-12’s other likely NCAA contenders, Arizona State, Stanford, and USC all over-scheduled relative to their recent performances. That could be a potential spot of trouble for the Sun Devils, as their 2017-18 non-league slate is only six spots better than their 85th-place ranking in the four-year performance table. On the other hand, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, and Oregon State all under-scheduled, with the Ducks’ gap of 284 places particularly ugly.

With eight of its 12 teams under-scheduling, and with five of those doing so by triple-digit margins, it’s not surprising the Pac-12 is 22nd in the nation in terms of average schedule gap. However, the conference is only the fifth-worst (or third-best) of the seven power conferences in this measure.

SEC Scheduling Gaps

National Rank Team Four-Year Ranking Super Average Ranking Scheduling Gap
National Rank Team Four-Year Ranking Super Average Ranking Scheduling Gap
1 Kentucky 7 7 0
33 Alabama 55 66 -11
38 Florida 16 3 13
39 Tennessee 42 29 13
58 Auburn 64 43 21
62 Ole Miss 75 53 22
65 Missouri 98 121 -23
69 South Carolina 51 25 26
112 LSU 80 125 -45
138 Vanderbilt 47 106 -59
183 Mississippi State 73 152 -79
229 Texas A&M 34 134 -100
238 Arkansas 40 150 -110
280 Georgia 57 200 -143
110.3571429 Average (1/32 conf.) 52.78571429 86.71428571 -33.92857143

Pac-12 Road & Non-D1 Games

True Road Games Scheduled Road Games Scheduled Against Non-Power 7 Teams Non-D1 Opponents Scheduled
True Road Games Scheduled Road Games Scheduled Against Non-Power 7 Teams Non-D1 Opponents Scheduled
17 (+4 possible in MTEs) 11 (+4 possible in MTEs, +2 possible semi-road games in MTEs) 0 (+1 potential Maui Invitational)

While the Pac-12 ranks fifth among the Power 7 in terms of true non-conference road games scheduled, it edges the American Athletic and ACC for the top spot in terms of road contests scheduled against mid-major opposition. And that number could increase depending on what happens in the conference’s exempt events, as Colorado (Liberty), Stanford (Portland State), USC (Hawai’i), and Washington State (Cal State Fullerton) could all play true road games in the later rounds of their respective tourneys.

While no Pac-12 team is currently scheduled to play a non-D1 opponent, Cal could meet Chaminade on day three of the Maui Invitational.

Pac-12 Non-Conference Games By League

Conference Games Scheduled Against Possible Tournament Games Against
Conference Games Scheduled Against Possible Tournament Games Against
Big West 15 3
Big Sky 13 2
MW 12 2
WCC 12 3
SEC 9 5
Summit 7 0
SWAC 7 0
Big 12 6 4
Big East 6 5
American Athletic 5 3
WAC 5 1
MEAC 4 0
Southland 4 0
ACC 3 6
MAC 3 0
OVC 3 0
A 10 2 4
Big Ten 2 6
Horizon 2 0
America East 1 0
Atlantic Sun 1 0
Big South 1 1
C-USA 1 3
CAA 1 0
Ivy 1 2
MAAC 1 2
Patriot 1 0
SoCon 1 1
MVC 0 2
NEC 0 0
Non-D1 0 1
Sun Belt 0 0

Only the Missouri Valley, Northeast, and Sun Belt conferences haven’t lined up games against Pac-12 opposition this season, though that could change for the Valley’s entrants in a pair of exempt tournaments. Naturally, the four leagues with the most games against Pac-12 foes are also from the West region; however, the WAC only ranks 10th. Surprisingly, the SEC is the power conference that will play Pac-12 opposition the most this season—a statistic that really stands out when you consider how infrequently the leagues meet in football.

Pac-12 Non-Conference Games By Strength And Location

Opponent Strength Home Away Neutral Total Average Potential
Opponent Strength Home Away Neutral Total Average Potential
1-25 4 3 6 13 1.083333333 14
26-50 3 4 6 13 1.083333333 8
51-75 2 1 4 7 0.5833333333 5
76-100 5 1 1 7 0.5833333333 9
101-150 14 3 4 21 1.75 4
151-200 15 3 0 18 1.5 4
201-250 16 1 1 18 1.5 3
251-300 11 1 1 13 1.083333333 6
301-351 20 0 0 20 1.666666667 1
Non-D1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Total 90 17 23 130
Average 7.5 1.416666667 1.916666667 10.83333333
Percentage 0.6923076923 0.1307692308 0.1769230769
Conference Rank (of 32) 4th 30th 2nd

Even though the Pac-12 ranks fourth in the country in terms of home non-conference games (by percentage), the conference ranks 30th in away games. But with the league also ranking second in terms of neutral-site games, that discrepancy makes a bit more sense. A whopping 90 of the 130 known Pac-12 non-conference games for this season will feature opposition ranked outside of the top 100 in the four-year team ranking.

Team-By-Team Breakdown

Teams are listed in order of their Average Schedule Strength National Ranking. Numbers in parentheses are opponent’s Team Score Ranking. Logos via SportsLogos.net.

18. USC Trojans

*Exempt Event: Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic

True Home Games (7) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (0) Semi-Road Games (0) True Road Games (2-3)
True Home Games (7) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (0) Semi-Road Games (0) True Road Games (2-3)
Cal State Fullerton (272) Oklahoma (23) Akron (93)* None Vanderbilt (37)
North Dakota State (134) (Staples Center) Princeton (76) or SMU (15)
Lehigh (163) Middle Tennessee (81)* Hawai'i (149)
Texas A&M (44) Miami (Fla.) (29) or (or Miami, Davidson,
Santa Clara (175) Davidson (78) or New Mexico State)*
UC Santa Barbara (201) New Mexico State (86)*
Princeton (76)* (or Hawai'i)

Record against returning opponents from 2016-17: 4 wins (@Texas A&M, SMU, UC Santa Barbara, SMU (NCAA)) and 0 losses

Thanks to a late season collapse, the Trojans’ non-conference victories over Texas A&M and SMU largely pushed them into the First Four. Once in the NCAAs, Andy Enfield’s team won two games and took Baylor to the wire in their Second Round matchup. That postseason surge and the arrival of a highly-anticipated recruiting class means USC will have to deal with heightened expectations in 2017-18. And the Trojans have a schedule to match, thanks to rematches with both the Aggies and Mustangs, the start of a home-and-home series with 2017 NCAA qualifier Vanderbilt, and a strong Diamond Head Classic field waiting in Hawai’i. Even the home schedule is beefed up, as only Cal State Fullerton can really be considered a pushover out of the seven visiting opponents.

28. UCLA Bruins

*Exempt Event: CBE Hall Of Fame Classic (Hosts’ Bracket)

True Home Games (8) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (4) Semi-Road Games (0) True Road Games (1)
True Home Games (8) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (4) Semi-Road Games (0) True Road Games (1)
Central Arkansas (336)* None Georgia Tech (73) None Michigan (27)
South Carolina State (334)* (Shanghai, China)
UC Irvine (100) Creighton (34)*
Cal State Bakersfield (139) Wisconsin (12) or
Detroit Mercy (237) Baylor (13)*
Montana (166) Kentucky (3)
Cincinnati (20) (New Orleans)
South Dakota (191)

Record against returning opponents from 2016-17: 4 wins (@Kentucky, Michigan, Cincinnati (NCAA)) and 1 loss (Kentucky (NCAA))

While Lonzo Ball has moved down the 10 to Staples Center, the Bruins should still be an NCAA squad this season. Just don’t expect UCLA to equal its 31-win total of a season ago. While Steve Alford’s squad will play eight games at Pauley, it’s the seventh of those contests, a March Madness rematch against Cincinnati, and the quality of the five games away from home that give this slate its heft. While the CBS Sports Classic showdown against a Kentucky squad UCLA split with last season in New Orleans over Christmas weekend is noteworthy, it’s the Bruins’ exempt tournament, the CBE Classic, that could be extra special. The Kansas City event’s four-team bracket is the strongest in the country, thanks to the presence of an all-NCAA qualifier lineup. The Bruins are lucky to have drawn a rebuilding Creighton in the semifinal. Win that and a likely championship showdown with Baylor would await in Kansas City.

30. Stanford Cardinal

*Exempt Event: Phil Knight Invitational Motion Bracket

True Home Games (8) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (2-3) Semi-Road Games (0) True Road Games (1-2)
True Home Games (8) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (2-3) Semi-Road Games (0) True Road Games (1-2)
Cal Poly (243) Kansas (5) Florida (17)* None Portland State (257)
Pacific (231) (Sacramento) Gonzaga (4) or (or Duke, Butler,
Eastern Washington (181) Ohio State (46)* or Texas)*
Northeastern (138)* Duke (9) or Long Beach State (156)
North Carolina (6) Butler (26) or
Montana (166) Texas (39)
Denver (187) (or Portland State)*
San Francisco (129)

Record against returning opponents from 2016-17: 0 wins and 1 loss (@Kansas)

Expectations are fairly high on the Farm, despite the 14-17 record the Cardinal put up in Jerrod Haase’s first season in charge. And Stanford will have three early chances to show that the optimism isn’t misplaced. First, the Cardinal hosts North Carolina three nights before opportunity number two, their PK80 quarterfinal against Florida, arrives. Beat the Gators and Stanford would likely be on course to play Gonzaga and Duke on days two and three in Portland. Finally, Kansas will head west to meet Haase’s charges in Sacramento. Even if the Cardinal fail to win any of those matchups, they’ll be well-tested when Pac-12 play begins in late December.

79. Arizona State Sun Devils

*Exempt Event: Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational (Hosts’ Bracket)

True Home Games (8) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (3) Semi-Road Games (0) True Road Games (1)
True Home Games (8) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (3) Semi-Road Games (0) True Road Games (1)
Idaho State (320) None Kansas State (41)* None Kansas (5)
San Diego State (50) Xavier (25) or
Northern Arizona (319)* George Washington (83)*
UC Irvine (100)* St. John's (102)
San Francisco (129) (Los Angeles)
Vanderbilt (37)
Longwood (341)
Pacific (231)

Record against returning opponents from 2016-17: 1 win (@San Diego State) and 0 losses

A trio of tricky home games—San Diego State, UC Irvine, and Vanderbilt—along with a visit to Lawrence and three neutral-site contests mean the Sun Devils will face some difficult early opposition in their attempt to finish both over .500 and in the NCAAs for the first time in Bobby Hurley’s three-year tenure. However, it’s another trio of games—in Tempe against teams ranked in the bottom 50 of the four-year ranking—that separates this schedule from the very best.

89. Arizona Wildcats

*Exempt Event: Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis

True Home Games (7) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (3) Semi-Road Games (0) True Road Games (2)
True Home Games (7) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (3) Semi-Road Games (0) True Road Games (2)
Northern Arizona (319) Texas A&M (44) North Carolina State (67)* None UNLV (154)
UMBC (307)* (Phoenix) SMU (15) or New Mexico (105)
Cal State Bakersfield (139) UNI (82)*
Long Beach State (156) Villanova (1) or
Alabama (59) Purdue (19) or
North Dakota State (134) Tennessee (62) or
UConn (55) WKU (190)*

Record against returning opponents from 2016-17: 3 wins (Cal State Bakersfield, Texas A&M (N), New Mexico) and 0 losses

After their elimination at the hands of Xavier in the Sweet 16, Sean Miller’s Wildcats have San Antonio on their minds. And while this schedule has its share of name brands on it, many of them aren’t living their best basketball lives right now—like road foes New Mexico and UNLV, guests Alabama and UConn, and Battle 4 Atlantis quarterfinal opponent N.C. State. Improvement by any of those teams should help Arizona’s March profile, though a run to the final in the Bahamas and defeating Texas A&M for the second straight year should give the Wildcats a strong foundation to build on.

134. Colorado Buffaloes

*Exempt Event: Paradise Jam

True Home Games (6) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (3-4) Semi-Road Games (0) True Road Games (2-3)
True Home Games (6) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (3-4) Semi-Road Games (0) True Road Games (2-3)
Northern Colorado (295) None Quinnipiac (264)* None Liberty (289)
Denver (187) Wake Forest (66) or (or Houston, Mercer,
Air Force (234) Drake (260)* or Drexel)*
New Mexico (105) Houston (72) or Colorado State (92)
San Diego (221) Mercer (151) or Xavier (25)
South Dakota State (119) Drexel (242)
(or Liberty)*
Iowa (33)
(Sioux Falls, S.D.)

Record against returning opponents from 2016-17: 1 win (Xavier) and 2 losses (Colorado State, @Air Force)

The Buffaloes followed up 2015-16’s 22-win NCAA season with a 19-win NIT campaign—and a further decline is expected this season. Still, with a maximum of four NCAA contenders on this slate (Colorado State, Iowa, Wake Forest, and Xavier), Tad Boyle’s club should be able to pick up 10 wins before Pac-12 play tips off. A potential Paradise Jam semifinal with the Demon Deacons looms large, as it could have bubble implications come March. The same could be said for the Buffs’ trip to Fort Collins.

150. California Golden Bears

*Exempt Event: Maui Jim Maui Invitational

True Home Games (8) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (2-3) Semi-Road Games (0-1) True Road Games (2)
True Home Games (8) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (2-3) Semi-Road Games (0-1) True Road Games (2)
UC Riverside (274) None Wichita State (10)* Chaminade (Non-D1) San Diego State (50)
Cal Poly (243) VCU (35) or (or Notre Dame, Seattle (281)
Wofford (145)* Marquette (57)* Michigan, LSU)*
Cal State Northridge (265) Notre Dame (21)
Saint Mary's (22) Michigan (27) or
Central Arkansas (336) LSU (90)
Cal State Fullerton (272) (or Chaminade)*
Portland State (257)

Record against returning opponents from 2016-17: 1 win (Cal Poly) and 1 loss (San Diego State (N))

Wyking Jones has a relatively manageable schedule in his first season in charge in Berkeley—and he’ll need it, as the Golden Bears aren’t expected to do all that much in the first season after Cuonzo Martin’s departure for Missouri. But while Cal should enter Pac-12 play with a winning record—the trip to Maui, a road contest against San Diego State, and visit from Saint Mary’s could all be rough on the Bears.

155. Washington Huskies

*Exempt Event: 2K Classic Benefitting Wounded Warrior Project (Hosts’ Bracket)

True Home Games (10) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (2) Semi-Road Games (1) True Road Games (0)
True Home Games (10) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (2) Semi-Road Games (1) True Road Games (0)
Belmont (111)* None Providence (43)* Kansas (5) None
Eastern Washington (181) Virginia Tech (75) or (Kansas City)
Seattle (281)* Saint Louis (239)*
UC Davis (218)
Kennesaw State (305)
Omaha (176)
Gonzaga (4)
Loyola Marymount (205)
Bethune-Cookman (337)
Montana (166)

Record against returning opponents from 2016-17: 1 win (@Seattle) and 1 loss (@Gonzaga)

After winning just nine games with the NBA’s eventual top draft pick, Markelle Fultz, on the roster, the UW administration handed Lorenzo Romar his walking papers at the end of the season—which resulted in potential 2018 No. 1 pick Michael Porter Jr. decommitting in favor of a stint at Missouri. So, former Syracuse coach-in-waiting Mike Hopkins heads into his first season with a talent deficit but also with a home-heavy schedule that should result in some confidence-building wins. But as is the case with Cal, a few games on this slate—Gonzaga’s visit to Seattle, Kansas in the Jayhawks’ annual Sprint Center matchup, the 2K Classic in New York, even the opener against OVC power Belmont—are likely to be a bridge too far for a rebuilding squad.

197. Utah Utes

*Exempt Event: MGM Resorts Main Event

True Home Games (6) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (2-3) Semi-Road Games (0-1) True Road Games (2)
True Home Games (6) Semi-Home Games (0) True Neutral-Site Games (2-3) Semi-Road Games (0-1) True Road Games (2)
Prairie View A&M (326)* None Ole Miss (63)* UNLV (154) Butler (26)
Mississippi Valley State (347) Rice (224) (or Rice)* BYU (51)
Missouri (150) (or UNLV)*
Eastern Washington (181)* Utah State (125)
Hawai'i (149) (Salt Lake City)
Northwestern State (294)

Record against returning opponents from 2016-17: 2 wins (Prairie View A&M, @Hawai’i) and 1 loss (Butler)

The Utes’ 2016-17 non-conference schedule helped push them to 20 wins, but didn’t get them into the NCAAs. And with the 2017-18 slate being so similar, with the exception of the absence of non-D1 matchups, Larry Krystkowiak’s squad might just find itself in a similar position in March 2018. Currently, a game with Missouri looks like the home highlight, thanks to the presence of a pair of SWAC foes and a Northwestern State squad that has struggled of late on the Huntsman Center slate. While BYU is back after a year away, the Cougars haven’t risen above the bubble lately, while Butler could fall in that range this season. As for their exempt event in Vegas, the Utes will need UNLV and Ole Miss to be better than projected for potential wins over them to mean something.

299. Washington State Cougars

*Exempt Event: Wooden Legacy

True Home Games (6) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (2-3) Semi-Road Games (0) True Road Games (2-3)
True Home Games (6) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (2-3) Semi-Road Games (0) True Road Games (2-3)
Texas Southern (206) Kansas State (41) Saint Joseph's (107)* None Cal State Fullerton (272)
Seattle (281) (Spokane) Saint Mary's (22) or (or San Diego State,
Idaho State (320) Harvard (106)* Georgia, Sacramento
UC Davis (218) San Diego State (50) or State)*
IUPUI (241) Georgia (54) or Idaho (229)
Bethune-Cookman (337) Sacramento State (275) UTEP (168)
(or Cal State Fullerton)*

Record against returning opponents from 2016-17: 2 wins (Idaho, Sacramento State) and 1 loss (Kansas State (N))

Ernie Kent’s squad managed to go 7-5 against its pre-Pac-12 slate last November and December. But even with this schedule’s relative weakness, equalling that mark would be an accomplishment. While the Cougars could sweep their six home games (the opener against Texas Southern is an exception), the Wooden Legacy and trio of off-campus games will be considerably more difficult. Saint Joseph’s isn’t a great quarterfinal draw in Fullerton, even if the Hawks struggled through an injury-plagued 2016-17. Meanwhile, Kansas State, victorious over Wazzu in KC last December, will attempt to sweep the quasi-home-and-home series in Spokane, while true road foes Idaho and UTEP will both aim to stun the rare Power 7 foe to visit their respective arenas.

302. Oregon Ducks

*Exempt Event: Phil Knight Invitational Victory Bracket

True Home Games (9) Semi-Home Games (2-3) True Neutral-Site Games (0-1) Semi-Road Games (0) True Road Games (1)
True Home Games (9) Semi-Home Games (2-3) True Neutral-Site Games (0-1) Semi-Road Games (0) True Road Games (1)
Coppin State (339) UConn (55)* Portland (215) None Fresno State (116)
Prairie View A&M (326) Michigan State (16) or (or North Carolina,
Alabama State (327) DePaul (171)* Oklahoma, or
Ball State (197)* North Carolina (6) or Arkansas)*
Boise State (77) Oklahoma (23) or
Colorado State (92) Arkansas (42)
Texas Southern (206) (or Portland)*
Portland State (257)
Central Arkansas (336)

Record against returning opponents from 2016-17: 3 wins (UConn (N), Boise State, Fresno State) and 1 loss (North Carolina (NCAA))

While the Ducks have the Phil Knight Invitational—in their backyard no less—and a trio of intriguing games against Mountain West opposition on their slate, it’s not hard to figure out why this schedule rates so lowly. Oregon scheduled the SWAC not just twice, but thrice (even if one of the games is against perennial champ Texas Southern), and added games against sub-300 teams from the MEAC and Southland for good measure. A run through the PK80 event will be necessary for Dana Altman’s team if it wants to improve upon last March’s three seed.

337. Oregon State Beavers

*Exempt Event: AdvoCare Invitational

True Home Games (7) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (2-3) Semi-Road Games (0-1) True Road Games (1)
True Home Games (7) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (2-3) Semi-Road Games (0-1) True Road Games (1)
Southern Utah (340) Saint Louis (239) St. John's (102)* UCF (136) Kent State (148)
Wyoming (131) (Portland) Missouri (150) or (or West Virginia,
Long Beach State (156) Long Beach State (156)* Nebraska, Marist)*
Loyola Marymount (205) West Virginia (11) or
Eastern Kentucky (217) Nebraska (88) or
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (345) Marist (312)
Jacksonville State (258) (or UCF)*

Record against returning opponents from 2016-17: 1 win (Kent State) and 1 loss (Long Beach State (N))

The Beavers won just five games—four in non-conference play—in a 2016-17 that saw star Tres Tinkle miss the majority of the season with a wrist injury. He’s back and healthy, so the Beavers should be able to exceed last season’s win total against this manageable non-league slate alone. The ranking here could end up being deceiving, as Oregon State’s schedule features several teams, including Saint Louis and every Power 7 opponent in Orlando save West Virginia, set for significant improvement.

Be sure to follow @ChrisDobbertean on Twitter and to like Blogging the Bracket on Facebook .