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Ranking the Patriot League’s Non-Conference Schedules for 2018-19

Perennial Patriot champ Bucknell and Lehigh, the team most likely to topple them in 2019, have the league’s best non-conference slates. And it’s not particularly close.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round: Bucknell Bison vs Michigan State Spartans Rick Osentoski-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

If you’re the Patriot League’s NCAA Tournament rep and your name isn’t “Bucknell,” there’s a good chance you’re going to find yourself on line 15 (2012 Lehigh, 2014 American) or 16 (2010 Lehigh, 2015 Lafayette, 2016 Holy Cross). Other than the Bison, the only league champ to earn a seed higher than 15 in the past 10 seasons was American’s 14th-seeded outfit of 2009.

With the Patriot League dropping two places in the four-year ranking of the 32 Division I conferences, thanks to the sudden presence of eight teams outside of the top 200 and three outside of the top 300 (compared to just one a season ago), a 15 or 16 is likely the fate for the conference’s tourney entrant, particularly if it’s a surprise lower-seeded winner.

Four-Year Rankings

Team Team Score 4-Year Ranking 2017-18 Ranking
Team Team Score 4-Year Ranking 2017-18 Ranking
Bucknell 2.413643 108 128
Lehigh -1.104962 188 163
Navy -2.547718 227 238
Boston University -2.9348475 236 214
Colgate -3.0472925 240 246
Army West Point -3.8460275 265 248
Holy Cross -4.4699885 277 247
Loyola (Md.) -5.89247 304 293
Lafayette -6.3878365 312 314
American -6.871882 320 283
Average -3.46893815 247.7 237.4
Conference Rank 26th of 32 (24th 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
5 American 320 222 98
16 Holy Cross 277 207 70
51 Army West Point 265 223 42
66 Colgate 240 205 35
96 Lafayette 312 290 22
137 Loyola (Md.) 304 298 6
159 Lehigh 188 187 1
160 Boston University 236 235 1
311 Navy 227 272 -45
346 Bucknell 108 206 -98

And that low seeding becomes a stronger possibility if KenPom’s preseason projections turn out to be accurate. The teams expected to outperform their recent histories this season are doing so from a point of historical ineptitude, while conference heavyweight Bucknell is projected to be nearly 100 places worse than its four-year ranking.

Ranking The Schedules

Last season, the Patriot League ranked in the upper half of three of the four scheduling categories. But with a whopping five conference members boasting schedules ranking in the bottom 50 across the board, the league ranks near the bottom of Division I in 2018-19. The fact that both Bucknell and Lehigh have schedules that rank in the top 50 of the national average can’t overcome the teams that are taking it a bit easier in what’s likely to be a down season.

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
16 Bucknell** 6.405239885 8 5.788285174 16 6.774509154 14 5.004407498 24
47 Lehigh 4.413497093 45 4.413497093 48 4.413497093 65 4.413497093 34
131 Holy Cross* 3.106053769 101 2.646902211 130 2.724059414 149 2.569745008 122
237 Colgate 0.8787560635 235 0.8787560635 237 0.8787560635 244 0.8787560635 232
247 Loyola (Md.)* 0.9987185667 218 0.7157363115 246 0.7744459077 253 0.6570267154 245
320 Army West Point -0.9311572596 318 -0.9311572596 321 -0.9311572596 324 -0.9311572596 313
321 Boston University -0.9565912423 319 -0.9565912423 323 -0.9565912423 325 -0.9565912423 314
336 Lafayette -1.287140522 333 -1.287140522 336 -1.287140522 338 -1.287140522 334
341 American -1.58517655 339 -1.58517655 340 -1.58517655 341 -1.58517655 339
345 Navy -1.82723323 342 -1.82723323 345 -1.82723323 346 -1.82723323 344
234.1 Average 0.9214966573 225.8 0.7855878049 234.2 0.8977968828 239.9 0.6936133574 230.1
29/32 Conference Rank 28 of 32 28 of 32 29 of 32 29 of 32

Who Over- And Under-Scheduled?

For the second season in a row, the Patriot League falls near the middle of Division I in terms of the scheduling gap, with exactly half of the league overdoing things and the other half under-scheduling. Colgate did the best job of matching its slate to its recent performances, while Bucknell, Holy Cross, and Lehigh were feeling optimistic. Navy, BU, and Army all under-scheduled by between 54 and 116 spots.

Scheduling Gaps

National Rank Team Four-Year Ranking Super Average Ranking Scheduling Gap
National Rank Team Four-Year Ranking Super Average Ranking Scheduling Gap
16 Colgate 240 236 4
55 American 320 339 -19
63 Lafayette 312 334 -22
130 Army West Point 265 319 -54
135 Loyola (Md.) 304 246 58
194 Boston University 236 320 -84
209 Bucknell 108 16 92
248 Navy 227 343 -116
278 Lehigh 188 47 141
283 Holy Cross 277 131 146
161.1 Average (14/32 conf.) 247.7 233.1 14.6

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
45 1 18 4

The average Patriot League team will play half of a home game more than they did in 2017-18, when the 10 conference members only had 40 home games total on their non-conference slates. As usual, Navy’s Veterans Classic game, this time against in-state rival Maryland, is the Patriot’s only Power 7 home contest. Additionally, league members will, in aggregate, play one fewer Power 7 road contest in 2017-18 and three fewer home games against non-D1 opponents.

Non-Conference Games By League

Conference Games Scheduled Against Possible Tournament Games Against
Conference Games Scheduled Against Possible Tournament Games Against
MAAC 17 1
America East 14 0
NEC 14 0
Ivy 13 0
A 10 9 0
Big Ten 7 0
CAA 7 0
MEAC 6 2
ACC 5 0
Atlantic Sun 5 0
Non-D1 4 0
American Athletic 3 0
Big 12 2 1
MAC 2 1
Big East 2 0
C-USA 1 1
MW 1 1
Horizon 1 0
SoCon 1 0
Southland 1 0
Sun Belt 1 0
WCC 1 0
Big West 0 1
MVC 0 1
Pac-12 0 1
Big Sky 0 0
Big South 0 0
OVC 0 0
SEC 0 0
Summit 0 0
SWAC 0 0
WAC 0 0

The MAAC and America East swapped places at the top of the “games by conference” ranking, with the NEC and Ivy switching places in third and fourth. As for the fifth-placed A 10, its two additional games against Patriot opponents allowed it to jump into the top five. It replaces the ACC, which dropped into a tie for ninth with the ASUN, as the power conference halved its number of Patriot League contests when compared to a season ago. A whopping 10 conferences aren’t scheduled to meet Patriot League squads this season, compared to 12 a season ago, though the Big West, Missouri Valley, and Pac-12 could feature in exempt tournaments.

Three teams from both the MAAC (Marist, Monmouth, and Siena) and NEC (Fairleigh Dickinson, Mount St. Mary’s, and Sacred Heart); two from the America East (Binghamton and UMass Lowell), and one from the Ivy (Cornell) appear on three Patriot schedules. Boston University will meet four of its former America East mates this season and a trio of CAA squads (two of whom also used to be in the America East). Bucknell, meanwhile, will play three teams from both the A 10 and MAAC. Army West Point, Colgate, Holy Cross, and Lehigh will join the Bison in playing a trio of MAAC opponents, while American and Lafayette will encounter three teams from NEC apiece.

Non-Conference Games By Quad

Opponent Strength Home Away Neutral Total Average Potential
Opponent Strength Home Away Neutral Total Average Potential
Quad 1 0 14 2 16 1.6 1
Quad 2 1 11 0 12 1.2 1
Quad 3 6 23 1 30 3 3
Quad 4 34 19 2 55 5.5 5
Non-D1 4 0 0 4 0.4 0
Total 45 67 5 117
Average 4.5 6.7 0.5 11.7
Percentage 0.3846153846 0.5726495726 0.04273504274
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

While the Patriot League will play a total of five more non-conference home games this season, most of those games won’t be high-quality ones. Navy’s visit from Maryland is the only Quad 1 or 2 home win opportunity out there this fall, at least according to the four-year ranking, while 38 of the 45 total games feature a Quad 4 opportunity or a non-D1 opponent. On the other hand, league members will play 25 top 100 teams on the road and another 23 squads ranked in the second 100.

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.

16. Bucknell Bison

*Exempt Event: Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic

True Home Games (4) True Neutral-Site Games (2-3) True Road Games (5-6)
True Home Games (4) True Neutral-Site Games (2-3) True Road Games (5-6)
215. Fairfield 48. Rhode Island* 74. St. Bonaventure
165. Canisius 45. TCU or 78. Vermont
116. Northeastern 266. Charlotte* 166. La Salle
120. Monmouth 76. Colorado/ 35. Ohio State
143. UNLV/ 19. Saint Mary's
164. Indiana State 179. Hawai'i
(or Hawai'i)* (or Colorado/UNLV/
Indiana State)

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 2 wins (Vermont, La Salle) and 2 losses (@Monmouth, @Northeastern)

Nathan Davis sure didn’t schedule like he’s expecting the Bison to take a major step back from last season’s 25-10 record and NCAA 13 seed. Not only will Bucknell welcome CAA favorite Northeastern to Sojka Pavilion, but the Bison will test themselves with trips to mid-major powers Saint Mary’s, St. Bonaventure, and Vermont, along with a Power 7 game at Ohio State and the possibility of two more at the Diamond Head Classic over Christmas week in O’ahu. This slate should more than adequately prepare the Bison for their push to extend their Patriot League regular season title streak to five.

47. Lehigh Mountain Hawks

No Exempt Event

True Home Games (4) True Road Games (7)
True Home Games (4) True Road Games (7)
322. Marist 120. Monmouth
105. Princeton 23. Miami (Fla.)
234. Arkansas State 226. Siena
253. St. Francis (Pa.) 39. Kansas State
136. Yale
238. Mount St. Mary's
9. West Virginia

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 4 wins (@Marist, Siena, @Princeton, Mount St. Mary’s) and 3 losses (Monmouth, Yale, @St. Francis (Pa.))

Even though the Mountain Hawks are skipping an exempt event after a 16-14 2017-18 campaign, this schedule, featuring only two teams from outside of the four-year ranking’s top 250, is plenty difficult enough. Brett Reed’s squad will play a pair of Ivy contenders and three MAAC squads, along with a trio of 2018 NCAA squads, all on the road.

131. Holy Cross Crusaders

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

True Home Games (4) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (6)
True Home Games (4) Semi-Home Games (1) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (6)
306. Sacred Heart 48. Rhode Island # 180. Stony Brook* 17. Michigan*
293. Fairleigh Dickinson # - DCU Center 226. Siena or 50. Providence*
165. Canisius 294. Norfolk State* 137. Albany
226. Siena 130. Harvard
175. UMass
112. Iona

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 2 wins (@Sacred Heart, Harvard) and 6 losses (@Rhode Island, @Fairleigh Dickinson, Albany, @UMass, Iona, @Siena)

The Crusaders have yet to post a winning record in three seasons under Bill Carmody, even though they claimed the Patriot League’s NCAA bid in 2016. Based on this schedule, Holy Cross will probably need to make a run through the Patriot League to finally get back over .500. The road games, highlighted by trips to 2018 tournament qualifiers Michigan, Providence, and Iona, along with another to Ivy favorite Harvard, are all likely losses, while the two games the Crusaders will play at the Mohegan Sun in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off are a crapshoot.

237. Colgate Raiders

*Exempt Event: CNY Hoops Classic

True Home Games (5) True Road Games (8)
True Home Games (5) True Road Games (8)
120. Monmouth 261. NJIT*
273. Cornell* 46. Syracuse
(Non-D1) Nazareth* 226. Siena
321. Binghamton* 285. USF
322. Marist 138. FGCU
200. Columbia
65. Penn State
109. Pittsburgh

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 3 wins (Cornell, Columbia, NJIT) and 3 losses (@Binghamton, @Marist, @Syracuse)

Other than for a pair of games in Florida, the Raiders will remain in the Mid-Atlantic for the entirety of the their non-conference schedule. Even with road games against Penn State, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse, this regional focus should help Matt Langel’s team build on last season’s 19 wins. Curiously, Colgate’s exempt event features three Division I teams it played last season, with the Raiders recording a 2-1 record in those matchups.

247. Loyola (Md.) Greyhounds

*Exempt Event: GotPrint.com Legends Classic (Subregional)

True Home Games (3) True Neutral-Site Games (1) True Road Games (9)
True Home Games (3) True Neutral-Site Games (1) True Road Games (9)
290. Dartmouth 228. Bowling Green or 93. St. John's*
348. Delaware State 279. Hampton* 86. Temple*
238. Mount St. Mary's 288. Detroit Mercy*
152. Towson
263. Drexel
321. Binghamton
32. Maryland
307. UMass Lowell
59. N.C. State

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 1 win (Drexel (N) and 5 losses (Towson, @UMass Lowell, @Dartmouth, @Mount St. Mary’s, Binghamton)

The Greyhounds have a new coach after G.G. Smith posted a 9-22 record in his final season, but don’t expect Tavaras Hardy to work miracles with this schedule—despite the pedestrian ranking. That’s because the Greyhounds will play just three non-conference home games, while they’ll play a quartet of Power 7 opponents and travel to Detroit Mercy for the Legends Classic subregional. Loyola will take on the host Titans, who also have a new coach in former Indiana, UAB, and Texas Southern boss Mike Davis, in the semifinals.

320. Army West Point Black Knights

*Exempt Event: Brown Bears Classic

True Home Games (5) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (6)
True Home Games (5) True Neutral-Site Games (2) True Road Games (6)
322. Marist 306. Sacred Heart* 4. Duke
(Non-D1) SUNY Maritime* 307. UMass Lowell* 282. Brown*
321. Binghamton 237. Miami (Ohio)
215. Fairfield 261. NJIT
267. Niagara 231. Air Force
293. Fairleigh Dickinson

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 3 wins (@Marist, Marist (N), Air Force (N)) and 2 losses (@Niagara, @Binghamton)

Jimmy Allen has posted a pair of 13-win campaigns during his short tenure in West Point. The Black Knights could put themselves well on the way to a winning record thanks to non-conference slate, which features just a single game against a team ranked outside of the top 200. That’s Duke, coached by alum Mike Krzyzewski, who Army West Point will meet at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Veterans Day. Even the Black Knights’ exempt event, hosted by Brown, features a pair of sub-300 teams.

321. Boston University Terriers

*Exempt Event: Hub City Classic

True Home Games (5) True Road Games (8)
True Home Games (5) True Road Games (8)
78. Vermont 116. Northeastern
(Non-D1) Emerson* 137. Albany
307. UMass Lowell 147. Eastern Michigan*
287. Nicholls State 263. Drexel*
328. Bethune-Cookman 167. Rutgers*
239. New Hampshire
198. Elon
290. Dartmouth

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 2 wins (@New Hampshire, @Bethune-Cookman) and 4 losses (Northeastern, Albany, @UMass Lowell, Elon)

In 2017-18, the Terriers suffered only their second losing season in Joe Jones’ seven seasons in charge, though BU fell just a game below the .500 mark. The number of road games on this non-conference slate is the biggest reason why the Terriers may not be able to use it jumpstart their record this time around. While Vermont, who visits Case Gym, is the highest-ranked team on this slate, archrival Northeastern, the CAA favorite, might be the most-difficult game on it, especially with the canine pair meeting at Matthews Arena on Opening Night.

336. Lafayette Leopards

No Exempt Event

True Home Games (5) True Road Games (6)
True Home Games (5) True Road Games (6)
325. St. Francis-Brooklyn 183. Saint Peter's
273. Cornell 166. La Salle
306. Sacred Heart 178. Penn
(Non-D1) Rosemont 293. Fairleigh Dickinson
105. Princeton 92. UConn
291. Quinnipiac

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 1 win (Quinnipiac) and 5 losses (@Princeton, Saint Peter’s, Penn, @Sacred Heart, @Cornell)

Since winning 20 and reaching the NCAAs in 2014-15, Fran O’Hanlon’s squad has won a total of just 25 games. This slate, featuring just two games against teams ranked in the top 150 of the four-year table, and a single Power 7 road contest, at UConn, should help boost the win total. Of course, avoiding a six-game losing streak, like the one the Leopards opened last season with, would provide an even bigger assist.

341. American University Eagles

No Exempt Event

True Home Games (5) True Road Games (6)
True Home Games (5) True Road Games (6)
239. New Hampshire 185. George Mason
206. Wagner 63. Northwestern
253. St. Francis (Pa.) 257. UMBC
238. Mount St. Mary's 331. VMI
339. Maryland Eastern Shore 335. Howard
128. George Washington

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 3 wins (@New Hampshire, VMI, Howard) and 4 losses (@Wagner, @St. Francis (Pa.), @Maryland Eastern Shore, Mount St. Mary’s)

After posting winning records in his first two seasons in charge in the Nation’s Capital, Mike Brennan’s Eagles have struggled mightily—winning just 26 total games over the last three seasons, and only a half-dozen in 2017-18. In an effort to improve upon those results, the Eagles 2018-19 non-conference slate sees them leave the DMV just once—and that’s for their lone game against a Power 7/Top 100 opponent—Northwestern.

345. Navy Midshipmen

No Exempt Event

True Home Games (5) True Road Games (6)
True Home Games (5) True Road Games (6)
32. Maryland 83. Old Dominion
347. Coppin State 327. Morgan State
334. Bryant 280. Delaware
233. Liberty 193. Lipscomb
282. Brown 185. George Mason
273. Cornell

Record against returning opponents from 2017-18: 4 wins (@Bryant, Delaware, Morgan State, Coppin State) and 1 loss (Lipscomb)

While the Midshipmen have the Patriot League’s best home game—that Veterans Classic meeting with Maryland—they also have the weakest non-conference slate in the league. That’s thanks to a trio of sub-300 contests and just two top 100 contests, with the game against the Terps being complemented by a road contest against Old Dominion. With this slate, Ed DeChellis’ squad should find itself in position where a fourth straight record of .500 or better is attainable.

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