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Ranking the America East’s Non-Conference Schedules for 2018-19

While UMBC made history in last March’s NCAA Tournament, it’s perennial league power Vermont that built the best non-league slate for this season—and it wasn’t particularly close.

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

For all of the posts in this series, visit the 2018-19 Non-Conference Scheduling Hub.

Warning: Graphics and tables may not appear optimally when viewing on a mobile device.

Ranking The Teams

From 2008 through 2014, the America East champion consistently earned either a 15 or 16 seed. Then for three straight years, Albany, Stony Brook, and Vermont broke through for a 14 and a pair of 13s in succession. So, naturally, the first America East team to win a non-Opening Round/First Four NCAA game since 2005 would be history-making UMBC as a 16.

Given the team scores below, this season’s champ is probably destined for another 15 or 16, unless Vermont, Albany, or a Retriever team eager to build on 2018 sweeps both America East crowns. Heading into 2018-19, only four of the conference’s nine members rank among the bottom 50 in Division I, not the five of a season ago—thanks to UMBC’s rise.

Four-Year Rankings

Team Team Score 4-Year Ranking 2017-18 Ranking
Team Team Score 4-Year Ranking 2017-18 Ranking
Vermont 4.245538 78 89
Albany 1.331167 137 126
Stony Brook -0.676846 180 142
New Hampshire -3.0066153 239 220
UMBC -3.5414405 257 307
Hartford -5.797241 302 324
UMass Lowell -6.113695 307 316
Binghamton -6.94345 321 331
Maine -9.38734 340 343
Average -3.321102533 240.1111111 244.2222222
Conference Rank 25th of 32 (25th in 2017-18)

KenPom Gaps For 2018-19

Rank Team 2018-19 Four-Year Ranking 2018-19 KP Preseason Rank Gap
Rank Team 2018-19 Four-Year Ranking 2018-19 KP Preseason Rank Gap
4 Hartford 302 197 105
20 Binghamton 321 254 67
93 UMBC 257 234 23
132 Maine 340 332 8
183 UMass Lowell 307 310 -3
309 Stony Brook 180 224 -44
315 Vermont 78 127 -49
337 New Hampshire 239 308 -69
348 Albany 137 247 -110

According to KenPom’s preseason rankings, four teams, including UMBC, are expected to over-perform their four-year rankings. Hartford, the preseason favorite of many, is projected to make a quantum leap of over 100 places. On the other hand, three of the America East’s perennial powers—Albany, Stony Brook, and Vermont—are all expected to struggle relative to their recent histories.

Ranking The Schedules

With only Vermont’s schedule ranked in the top 200 nationally and six America East members’ non-league slates among the bottom 100, it’s not a surprise that the conference ranks near the bottom across the board—for the second year running. The weakness of the brackets for Albany, Hartford, and Stony Brook’s exempt events further deflate theirs—and by extension, the league’s—maximum schedule strength.

Note: The number of asterisks (*) represent the number of pending games on a team’s schedule.

Schedule Rankings

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
42 Vermont 4.464610491 42 4.464610491 45 4.464610491 61 4.464610491 32
228 Hartford* 0.9770001411 222 1.011984986 224 1.138274598 230 0.8856953733 229
240 Binghamton 0.8164874067 239 0.8164874067 240 0.8164874067 246 0.8164874067 235
268 Stony Brook* 0.7105004843 245 0.4722726866 265 0.5391422628 269 0.4054031103 261
272 Maine 0.32556578 265 0.32556578 271 0.32556578 277 0.32556578 265
297 Albany* 0.01205687321 276 -0.2876272333 297 -0.2389847983 298 -0.3362696683 292
299 UMBC -0.3707897232 292 -0.3707897232 299 -0.3707897232 302 -0.3707897232 293
301 New Hampshire -0.5601785596 295 -0.5601785596 302 -0.5601785596 306 -0.5601785596 297
347 UMass Lowell -1.891608305 343 -1.891608305 346 -1.891608305 347 -1.891608305 345
254.88 Average 0.4981827321 246.55 0.4423019477 254.33 0.4691687947 259.55 0.4154351006 249.88
32/32 Conference Rank 30 of 32 32 of 32 32 of 32 30 of 32

Who Over- And Under-Scheduled?

America East under-schedulers edge over-schedulers by a five-to-four margin this season. Not surprisingly, Vermont overdid things by the most respectable amount as a top 80 team with a schedule with an average rank that’s just outside the top 40. UMBC naturally struggled to get games immediately after their March Madness heroics, while Albany’s slate looks like one that should get the Great Danes through some potentially tough times. As for preseason favorite Hartford, their 227th-ranked slate would be challenging for a bottom 50 team but should be just fine for a team expected to contend for conference honors.

Scheduling Gaps

National Rank Team Four-Year Ranking Super Average Ranking Scheduling Gap
National Rank Team Four-Year Ranking Super Average Ranking Scheduling Gap
89 Vermont 78 42 36
98 UMass Lowell 307 345 -38
104 UMBC 257 298 -41
142 New Hampshire 239 300 -61
160 Maine 340 271 69
174 Hartford 302 227 75
192 Binghamton 321 239 82
200 Stony Brook 180 267 -87
290 Albany 137 296 -159
161 Average (13/32 conf.) 240.1111111 253.8888889 -13.77777778

Home, Power 7 Road, And Non-D1 Games

True Home Games Scheduled Home Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Road Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Non-D1 Opponents Scheduled
True Home Games Scheduled Home Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Road Games Scheduled Against Power 7 Teams Non-D1 Opponents Scheduled
53 0 18 14

The America East saw both its numbers of true home games (56 in 2017-18) and Power 7 road games (20 a season ago) drop, while Boston College won’t be visiting Hartford this time around. At least the conference’s nine teams were able to keep the total of non-D1 home games steady from last season, at 14.

Non-Conference Games By League

Conference Games Scheduled Against Possible Tournament Games Against
Conference Games Scheduled Against Possible Tournament Games Against
MAAC 17 3
NEC 15 0
Non-D1 14 0
Patriot 14 0
Ivy 13 1
A 10 10 0
CAA 6 0
ACC 5 0
Atlantic Sun 4 0
Big Ten 4 0
Horizon 4 0
MEAC 3 1
Big East 3 0
American Athletic 2 0
MAC 2 0
MW 2 0
SEC 2 0
Summit 2 0
Big 12 1 0
Big South 1 0
Big West 1 0
C-USA 1 0
MVC 1 0
Pac-12 1 0
WCC 1 0
WAC 0 1
Big Sky 0 0
OVC 0 0
SoCon 0 0
Southland 0 0
Sun Belt 0 0
SWAC 0 0

Last season, the NEC provided the most non-conference games to the America East, but the MAAC jumped all the way from fifth to take the crown this time around. Still, the same five Eastern Seaboard leagues—the A 10, Ivy, MAAC, NEC, and Patriot—join the America East’s non-D1 foes to make up the top six for the second season in a row.

A whopping five America East squads will play Quinnipiac from the MAAC, while four appear on the schedules of Dartmouth, Sacred Heart, and former league rival Boston University.

Non-Conference Games By Quad

Opponent Strength Home Away Neutral Total Average Potential
Opponent Strength Home Away Neutral Total Average Potential
Quad 1 0 15 0 15 1.666666667 0
Quad 2 1 8 0 9 1 0
Quad 3 10 20 2 32 3.555555556 2
Quad 4 28 26 6 60 6.666666667 4
Non-D1 14 0 0 14 1.555555556 0
Total 53 69 8 130
Average 5.888888889 7.666666667 0.8888888889 14.44444444
Percentage 0.4076923077 0.5307692308 0.06153846154
Q1 1-30 1-75 1-50
Q2 31-75 76-135 51-100
Q3 76-160 136-240 101-200
Q4 161-353 241-353 201-353

Vermont’s visit from 2018 NCAA at-large squad St. Bonaventure is the America East’s lone non-conference home game that might fall within quadrant 1 or 2, though admittedly my KenPom-based rankings might not necessarily correspond to the NCAA’s new NET ratings.

On the average America East non-conference schedule, 10 or 11 of the 12 to 13 games are likely to fall under quadrants 3 or 4, or not count at all, as they’ll feature non-D1 opposition and not factor in the rankings at all. That’s a formula for seed deflation come March.

Team-By-Team Breakdown

Teams are listed in order of their Super Average Schedule Ranking. The number in front of an opponent name is its Four-Year Ranking. Logos via SportsLogos.net.

42. Vermont Catamounts

*Exempt Event: NIT Season Tip-Off (On-Campus Only)

True Home Games (7) True Road Games (7)
True Home Games (7) True Road Games (7)
(Non-D1) NVU-Lyndon* 236. Boston University
136. Yale 6. Kansas*
108. Bucknell 14. Louisville*
130. Harvard 128. George Washington
116. Northeastern 152. Towson
74. St. Bonaventure 185. George Mason
290. Dartmouth 193. Lipscomb

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 3 wins (@Yale, @Harvard, @Dartmouth) and 3 losses (@Bucknell, @Northeastern, St. Bonaventure (N))

John Becker’s Catamounts again have a schedule that should put them in position to earn a 13 seed (at worst) provided they claim the America East’s auto bid in March. And that’s not a sure thing, as we all learned in 2018. Unfortunately, struggles in putting together the NIT Season Tip-Off field means Vermont won’t get much benefit from its participation in the event—unless the Catamounts happen to win at either Kansas or Louisville.

But with Bucknell, Harvard, Lipscomb, Northeastern, St. Bonaventure, and Yale all on the schedule—and all of those save the ASUN champs visit Burlington—UVM could have a sneaky good NET ranking once the spring arrives.

228. Hartford Hawks

*Exempt Event: MGM Resorts Main Event (Middleweight Bracket)

True Home Games (5) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (8)
True Home Games (5) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (8)
341. Central Connecticut State 173. Long Beach State* 133. Utah State*
(Non-D1) Western New England 112. Iona or 73. Mississippi State*
228. Bowling Green 174. Utah Valley* 291. Quinnipiac
131. Oakland 306. Sacred Heart
322. Marist 4. Duke
334. Bryant
206. Wagner
121. Boston College

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 2 wins (Central Connecticut State, Sacred Heart) and 4 losses (Bryant, Wagner, Boston College, Quinnipiac)

A season ago, the Hawks won 19 games and fell in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. But while Hartford broke even in its non-conference games in 2017, it didn’t do all that well against the teams that return to this season’s slate. Making matters worse, Central Connecticut State is the only one of the six who will return to Chase Arena this time around.

A trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on Duke and an intriguing Middleweight Bracket at the MGM Resorts Main Event are the highlights of the pre-America East schedule that awaits John Gallagher’s squad as it prepares for an America East title challenge.

240. Binghamton Bearcats

*Exempt Event: CNY Hoops Classic

True Home Games (8) True Road Games (7)
True Home Games (8) True Road Games (7)
273. Cornell* 63. Northwestern
261. NJIT* 240. Colgate*
(Non-D1) Misericordia* 265. Army West Point
306. Sacred Heart 327. Morgan State
(Non-D1) Hartwick 20. Notre Dame
304. Loyola (Md.) 275. LIU Brooklyn
308. Youngstown State 17. Michigan
200. Columbia

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 6 wins (Morgan State, Hartwick, Colgate, Army West Point, @Loyola (Md.), @Sacred Heart) and 2 losses (@Cornell, LIU Brooklyn)

While Tommy Dempsey’s Bearcats won just two America East games a season ago (missing the conference playoffs as a result), they started off relatively well, winning nine of their 15 non-league contests. And that victory total included a half-dozen wins over teams who reappear on this year’s slate. Unfortunately for Tommy Dempsey’s squad, three of those rematches are slated to take place away from Vestal.

Binghamton will play three home games as part of its Central New York-focused MTE—as will NJIT, a team decidedly not located in the region. However, the Highlanders will visit the Events Center for their lone road game in the round-robin.

268. Stony Brook Seawolves

*Exempt Event: Air Force Reserve Tip-Off (Springfield Bracket)

True Home Games (5) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (8)
True Home Games (5) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (8)
(Non-D1) Molloy 277. Holy Cross* 128. George Washington*
291. Quinnipiac 226. Siena or 51. South Carolina*
275. LIU Brooklyn 294. Norfolk State* 48. Rhode Island
280. Delaware 294. Norfolk State
141. Hofstra 244. Manhattan
282. Brown
291. Quinnipiac
99. UNI

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 1 win (Brown) and 3 losses (@LIU Brooklyn, Hofstra, Norfolk State)

Jeff Boals’ second season in charge on Long Island saw a five-victory decline from his first. And with 10 non-conference games away from the Seawolves’ home court, improvement might not be seen until league play. The good news for Stony Brook is that both of their island rivals visit this season and the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Springfield Bracket provides a pair of winnable games.

272. Maine Black Bears

*Exempt Event: Wolfpack Classic

True Home Games (4) True Road Games (11)
True Home Games (4) True Road Games (11)
105. Princeton* 196. Denver
232. Fordham 36. Utah
(Non-D1) Maine-Machias 142. San Francisco
341. Central Connecticut 59. N.C. State*
271. North Texas*
291. Quinnipiac
183. Saint Peter's*
290. Dartmouth
199. Duquesne
167. Rutgers
282. Brown

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 2 wins (@Quinnpiac, Maine-Machias) and 3 losses (@Fordham, Dartmouth, @Central Connecticut State)

The Black Bears won just six games a season ago, with their three league wins pushing them past Binghamton and into the America East playoffs. But Maine last won more than 10 games in 2012-13 and this road-heavy schedule won’t put them on the path to breaking their streak of single-digit-win seasons. New coach Richard Barron, formerly coach of UMaine’s women’s squad, has his work cut out for him in Orono/Bangor.

297. Albany Great Danes

*Exempt Event: Belfast Basketball Classic (Samson Bracket)

True Home Games (6) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (7)
True Home Games (6) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (7)
(Non-D1) Oneonta 275. LIU Brooklyn* 112. Iona
236. Boston University 290. Dartmouth or 165. Canisius
277. Holy Cross 322. Marist* 201. Milwaukee*
120. Monmouth 136. Yale
290. Dartmouth 50. Providence
244. Manhattan 176. Kent State
267. Niagara

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 8 wins (Iona, @Boston University, Yale, Oneonta, @Dartmouth, @Holy Cross, Canisius, Kent State) and 1 loss (@Monmouth)

I was a bit surprised to see the Great Danes dropped into the lower-tier Samson bracket at the Belfast Basketball Classic, and Will Brown’s team shouldn’t fear any of their potential opponents in Northern Ireland. Based on last season’s results, that should apply to most of the names on this list, with the possible exception of the Big East’s Providence.

299. UMBC Retrievers

*Exempt Event: Bimini Jam

True Home Games (7) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (5)
True Home Games (7) True Neutral-Site Games (3) True Road Games (5)
(Non-D1) Shenandoah* 231. Air Force* 53. Marquette
244. Manhattan 221. High Point* 153. Northern Kentucky
320. American 124. South Dakota* 347. Coppin State
152. Towson 263. Drexel
138. FGCU 65. Penn State
(Non-D1) Hood
(Non-D1) Centenary (N.J.)

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 4 wins (Shenandoah, Coppin State, Northern Kentucky, Centenary (N.J.) and 1 loss (@Towson)

Now you honestly didn’t think that the first 16 seed to defeat a 1 was going to have teams knocking down its door for games, did you? Still, the Retrievers were tabbed as the first visitor to the Marquette’s new home. That Opening Night treat, a trip to Penn State, and a Cinderella showdown with FGCU should also keep Ryan Odom and the Retrievers in the national conversation. Additionally, three winnable games at the Bimini Jam should help prepare UMBC for another March run.

301. New Hampshire Wildcats

No Exempt Event

True Home Games (6) True Road Games (7)
True Home Games (6) True Road Games (7)
(Non-D1) Rivier 175. UMass
(Non-D1) Mount St. Vincent 320. American
291. Quinnipiac 92. UConn
236. Boston University 334. Bryant
322. Marist 37. Seton Hall
215. Fairfield 267. Niagara
290. Dartmouth

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 2 wins (Bryant, Dartmouth) and 4 losses (American, Boston University, Niagara, @Fairfield)

Bill Herrion’s Wildcats will open this season seeking to end a six-game skid. Unfortunately, that was UNH’s second such streak of the 2017-18 season, as they dropped a half-dozen in November, including all four games played as part of the Cats’ participation in the Phil Knight Invitational. New Hampshire foregoes an MTE this season and this 13-game schedule offers the Wildcats plenty of opportunities for wins, though trips to UConn and Seton Hall are notable exceptions.

347. UMass Lowell River Hawks

*Exempt Event: Brown Bears Classic

True Home Games (5) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (8)
True Home Games (5) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (8)
206. Wagner 265. Army West Point* 175. UMass
(Non-D1) UMass Boston* 306. Sacred Heart* 341. Central Connecticut State
261. NJIT 282. Brown*
(Non-D1) Maine-Fort Kent 199. Duquesne
304. Loyola (Md.) 92. UConn
236. Boston University
325. St. Francis-Brooklyn
306. Sacred Heart

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 3 wins (UMass Boston, Loyola (Md.), Boston University) and 6 losses (@UMass, Sacred Heart, @NJIT, @Wagner, @Brown, Central Connecticut State)

The River Hawks have been consistent 10-to-12 game winners since their arrival on the Division I scene in 2013-14. This schedule could help push Pat Duquette’s squad to greater heights, even with the presence of eight true road trips and a further pair of games in Providence as part of Brown’s on-campus MTE.

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