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The SEC’s Non-Conference Scheduling for 2019-20

While the SEC doesn’t have as many truly great non-conference schedules as it did a season ago, 2019-20 still offers up many good ones.

SEC teams in order of non-conference schedule rank (1-4 top; 5-7 row two; 8-11 row three; 12-14 bottom)
Image by Chris Dobbertean using logos from SportsLogos.net

For all of the posts in this series, visit the 2019-20 Non-Conference Scheduling Hub.

Warning: Tables may not appear optimally when viewing on a mobile device.

Ranking The Teams

SEC Four-Year Rankings

Team 4-Year Ranking 2018-19 Ranking Ranking Change
Team 4-Year Ranking 2018-19 Ranking Ranking Change
Kentucky 8 7 -1
Tennessee 14 42 28
Florida 15 16 1
Auburn 27 64 37
Mississippi State 43 73 30
Arkansas 46 40 -6
LSU 50 80 30
Texas A&M 51 34 -17
Alabama 54 55 1
South Carolina 58 51 -7
Ole Miss 63 75 12
Georgia 77 57 -20
Missouri 82 98 16
Vanderbilt 87 47 -40
Average 48.21428571 52.78571429 4.571428571
Conference Rank 4th of 32 (5th in 2018-19)

Thanks to huge jumps by Tennessee, Auburn, Mississippi State, and LSU and the continued excellence of Kentucky and Florida, the SEC jumped the Big East for fourth place in the four-year ranking’s conference table heading into the 2019-20 season. However, not all of the news for the SEC is good, as Georgia tumbled 20 spots in Tom Crean’s first season, while both Vanderbilt (40 spots) and Texas A&M (17) saw their positions plummet after seasons that led to coaching changes.

Even though all 14 SEC teams rank in the four-year ranking’s top 100, just three squads rank among the top 25, with none ranked higher than 8th-ranked Kentucky. However, both the Wildcats and Florida head into this season looking like clubs that could really improve their positioning heading into the 2020-21 campaign.

Ranking The Schedules

SEC Non-Conference Schedule Rankings

Average Schedule Strength Ranking 2019-20 Average Schedule Strength Ranking 2018-19 Team (* = number of TBD bracketed games) Average Schedule Strength 2019-20
Average Schedule Strength Ranking 2019-20 Average Schedule Strength Ranking 2018-19 Team (* = number of TBD bracketed games) Average Schedule Strength 2019-20
9 53 Alabama** 305.5865385
15 3 Florida** 286.4615385
32 28 Tennessee* 267.6730769
43 125 Missouri* 255.7692308
46 7 Kentucky 253.7307692
63 152 Arkansas 246.4711538
67 150 Mississippi State** 244.6682692
77 123 LSU 241.0576923
80 42 Auburn* 240.8653846
89 27 South Carolina* 238.2115385
100 135 Texas A&M** 233.46875
106 55 Ole Miss* 230.4711538
108 199 Georgia** 229.9375
181 106 Vanderbilt 203.6538462
72.57142857 86.07142857 Conference Average 248.4304602
2/32 1/32 Conference Rank

While the Big 12 knocked the SEC off its perch as the top-ranked conference in terms of non-league scheduling, the gap is infinitesimal, 72.1 to 72.57. Note that in 2018-19, two SEC teams, Florida and Kentucky, had top 10 schedules, while only Alabama ranks that highly this time. Making matters worse, just the Crimson Tide and Florida have top 30 slates, compared to four SEC teams last year. Overall, just three SEC non-conference slates rank outside of the top 100, compared to seven in 2018-19, with only Vanderbilt’s outside the top 110. Therefore, it’s the middle of the pack that’s provided much of this season’s improvement.

SEC 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
26 (23 in 2018-19) 7 (6) 0 (0)
t-1st of Power 7 (American) 3rd t-1st (American, Pac-12)

Two factors help boost the SEC’s non-conference scheduling above that of the other major conferences, one consistent and the other an innovation for 2019-20, especially considering the changes I’ve made to these metrics. For the former, SEC teams continue to schedule true road games at an above-average clip for a power conference, with this season’s jump of two such contests leading the 2019-20 total to equal that of the 2017-18. As for the latter, league members cut out non-D1 games entirely, after scheduling three such contests in each of the last two seasons.

While Texas A&M won’t play a true road game this season and four SEC squads (Auburn, Kentucky, Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt) will play just one, the other nine will play at least two each. Most impressively, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, and South Carolina will all hit the road three times. Note that Auburn and Vanderbilt’s lone away contests come against mid-majors, while Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, and South Carolina will also each play a non-power squad on their own floor. Additionally, the Crimson Tide play what will be considered a road game against Samford, even though it’s scheduled for Legacy Arena in Birmingham.

SEC Non-Conference Games By League

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

The top three teams in last year’s table—the SEC’s challenge partners from the Big 12, traditional power rival ACC, and Sun Belt—have all taken a tumble in this season’s game totals. The Big 12 now finds itself in a tie for third with the Atlantic 10, with only two set games outside of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The ACC sits in a tie for fifth with the Ohio Valley, while the Sun Belt has seen its total of non-league matchups nearly halved (11 down to six), undoubtedly thanks to that conference’s jump to a 20-game schedule.

So, the American Athletic, which starts its own mini-challenge with the SEC, now tops the standings, with the Southland, one of the weakest mid-major leagues in the SEC footprint, seeing its total jump from 13 to 10, despite its own conference-schedule expansion. However, SEC teams will play just 10 total games against members of the MEAC, NEC, and SWAC, which sit below the Southland in the four-year rankings.

A quartet of teams will play three SEC opponents during non-conference play, with three of them (Butler, Georgia Tech, and Memphis) coming from Power 7 leagues. The fourth is the Austin Peay out of the OVC. On the other hand, Arkansas will play a trio of Conference USA squads, including a trip to play at Western Kentucky, while LSU has a three in-state Southland rivals scheduled.

SEC Non-Conference Games By Quad

Opponent Strength Home Away Neutral Total Average Potential
Opponent Strength Home Away Neutral Total Average Potential
Quad 1 8 16 9 33 2.357142857 19
Quad 2 8 6 13 27 1.928571429 11
Quad 3 32 4 5 41 2.928571429 8
Quad 4 63 0 2 65 4.642857143 2
Non-D1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Total 111 26 29 166
Average 7.928571429 1.857142857 2.071428571 11.85714286
Percentage 0.6686746988 0.156626506 0.1746987952
Rank (of 32 Conferences) 4th 29th 4th
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

The primary reason why the SEC sits just behind the Big 12 in the non-conference schedule rankings? The addition of eight more games against Quad 4 opponents when compared to a season ago. These contests came at the expense of Quad 1 and 2 win possibilities, even though these are still plentiful, particularly away from home.

The SEC By Team

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

Teams that failed to max out their schedules (1/14): Texas A&M (no fourth MTE game)

9. Alabama Crimson Tide

*MTE: Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis

Home Games (6) Neutral-Site Games (4) Road Games (3)
Home Games (6) Neutral-Site Games (4) Road Games (3)
25. Kansas State^ 4. North Carolina* 48. Penn State
85. Furman* 9. Michigan or 73. Rhode Island
137. Penn 23. Iowa State* 197. Samford$
154. Richmond 2. Gonzaga/ $ - Legacy Arena, Birmingham, Ala.
199. Stephen F. Austin 29. Oregon/
225. Florida Atlantic 40. Seton Hall/
^ - Big 12 Challenge 203. Southern Mississippi*
72. Belmont!
! - Huntsville, Ala.

Alabama Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (2-0)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (2-0)
Nov. 5 137. Penn
Nov. 11 225. Florida Atlantic
Nov. 15 73. Rhode Island
Nov. 19 85. Furman Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis
Nov. 27 4. North Carolina Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis (Paradise Island, Bahamas)
Nov. 28 9. Michigan or 23. Iowa State Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis (Paradise Island, Bahamas)
Nov. 29 2. Gonzaga/29. Oregon/ 40. Seton Hall/203. Southern Mississippi Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis (Paradise Island, Bahamas)
Dec. 6 199. Stephen F. Austin UA 79-69 (@)
Dec. 14 48. Penn State UA 73-64 (H)
Dec. 18 197. Samford Legacy Arena, Birmingham
Dec. 21 69. Belmont Rocket City Classic (Huntsville, Ala.)
Dec. 29 154. Richmond
Jan. 25 25. Kansas State Big 12/SEC Challenge

After a collapse that cost the Crimson Tide and NCAA bid, with the capper being a home loss to Norfolk State in the NIT, Avery Johnson was relieved of his duties in Tuscaloosa after four seasons. In his place steps former Buffalo coach Nate Oats, whose introduction to the Bama faithful will be one of the more ambitious non-conference schedules undertaken by a power conference coach this season. Naturally, the highlight is the Battle 4 Atlantis, where the Tide were paired with North Carolina in the quarterfinals, with a quality matchup awaiting on day two, win or lose. Plus, there are three road games, even though only one is against a power team (Penn State) and another will likely end up feeling like an Alabama home contest (Samford in Birmingham). A Big 12/SEC Challenge matchup against Kansas State won’t provide much of a breather from league play, while no mid-major visitor to Coleman Coliseum ranks worse than 225th.

15. Florida Gators

*MTE: Charleston Classic

Home Games (6) Neutral-Site Games (5) Road Games (2)
Home Games (6) Neutral-Site Games (5) Road Games (2)
16. Florida State 136. Saint Joseph's* 38. Butler
21. Baylor^ 44. Miami (Fla.) or 104. UConn
139. Marshall 149. Missouri State*
196. Towson* 31. Xavier/
200. Long Beach State 55. Buffalo/
224. North Florida 104. UConn/
^ - Big 12 Challenge 196. Towson*
62. Providence$
86. Utah State!
$ - New York
! - Sunrise, Fla.

Florida Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (2-2)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (2-2)
Nov. 5 224. North Florida UF 98-66 (H)
Nov. 10 16. Florida State FSU 81-60 (@)
Nov. 14 196. Towson Charleston Classic
Nov. 17 104. UConn
Nov. 21 136. Saint Joseph's Charleston Classic (Charleston, S.C.)
Nov. 22 44. Miami (Fla.) or 149. Missouri State Charleston Classic (Charleston, S.C.)
Nov. 24 31. Xavier/55. Buffalo/ 104. UConn/196. Towson Charleston Classic (Charleston, S.C.)
Nov. 29 139. Marshall
Dec. 7 38. Butler BU 61-54 (N) UF 77-43 (H)
Dec. 17 62. Providence Basketball Hall of Fame Invitational (New York)
Dec. 21 86. Utah State Orange Bowl Classic (Sunrise, Fla.)
Dec. 28 200. Long Beach State
Jan. 25 21. Baylor Big 12/SEC Challenge

With a highly-ranked recruiting class and the fact the Gators secured the services of Kerry Blackshear Jr., the nation’s most highly-sought grad transfer, expectations are sky high in Gainesville. Florida fans should have a good idea of how this team stacks up nationally before Thanksgiving even arrives, as the Gators host a Florida State team they last defeated in 2013 on the first Sunday of the season, travel to UConn one week later, then play in the Charleston Classic (where the Huskies loom as a potential Sunday opponent) before the turkey goes in the oven or fryer. Things don’t get any easier in December, as Mike White’s squad travels to Butler, a team they split a pair of games with last fall, then plays Providence and Mountain West favorite Utah State after exams. Plus, the Gators will feature in the Big 12/SEC Challenge’s primetime offering on January 25th, as Baylor visits the O’Dome.

32. Tennessee Volunteers

*MTE: Emerald Coast Classic

Home Games (8) Neutral-Site Games (3) Road Games (2)
Home Games (8) Neutral-Site Games (3) Road Games (2)
20. Wisconsin 16. Florida State* 10. Kansas^
83. Murray State 7. Purdue or 13. Cincinnati
95. Memphis 61. VCU* ^ - Big 12 Challenge
142. Jacksonville State 80. Washington$
226. Chattanooga* $ - Toronto, Ont.
279. UNC Asheville
340. Alabama State*
345. Florida A&M

Tennessee Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (1-2)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (1-2)
Nov. 5 279. UNC Asheville
Nov. 12 83. Murray State
Nov. 16 80. Washington James Naismith Classic (Toronto, Ont., Canada)
Nov. 20 340. Alabama State Emerald Coast Classic
Nov. 25 226. Chattanooga Emerald Coast Classic
Nov. 29 16. Florida State Emerald Coast Classic (Niceville, Fla.)
Nov. 30 7. Purdue or 61. VCU Emerald Coast Classic (Niceville, Fla.) PU 99-94 (OT) (NCAA)
Dec. 4 345. Florida A&M
Dec. 14 95. Memphis UT 102-92 (@)
Dec. 18 13. Cincinnati
Dec. 21 142. Jacksonville State
Dec. 28 20. Wisconsin
Jan. 25 10. Kansas Big 12/SEC Challenge KU 87-81 (OT) (N)

If it weren’t for the presence of four sub-200 home games, the Volunteers’ slate would be ranked far more highly than 32nd. Even though both Wisconsin and in-state foe Memphis visit Knoxville, most of the early tests for Rick Barnes’ crew will come away from home. First, there’s a showdown with Pac-12 contender Washington in Toronto. Then, after a pair of easily-winnable Emerald Coast Classic preliminaries, the Vols travel to Florida for the main event, where FSU awaits in the semifinals. Win that and the Volunteers could get a shot at avenging their Sweet Sixteen loss to Purdue. But after a visit from Florida A&M, one of the most difficult finishing kicks in non-conference play nationally commences: Memphis, at Cincinnati, a good Jacksonville State squad back at Thompson-Boling, then Wisconsin. And for the Big 12 Challenge, Tennessee has to go to Kansas. Throw in the early league slate and that’s an incredible lineup for a six-week stretch.

43. Missouri Tigers

*MTE: Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker

Home Games (7) Neutral-Site Games (3) Road Games (3)
Home Games (7) Neutral-Site Games (3) Road Games (3)
78. Wofford* 38. Butler* 26. West Virginia^
119. Northern Kentucky 37. Oklahoma* 31. Xavier
138. Southern Illinois 99. Stanford* 88. Temple
245. Charleston Southern 82. Illinois$ ^ - Big 12 Challenge
249. Morehead State* $ - St. Louis
344. Incarnate Word
349. Chicago State

Missouri Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (3-1)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (3-1)
Nov. 6 344. Incarnate Word
Nov. 8 119. Northern Kentucky
Nov. 12 31. Xavier MU 71-56 (H)
Nov. 18 78. Wofford Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker
Nov. 20 249. Morehead State Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker MU 75-61 9H)
Nov. 25 43. Butler Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker (Kansas City, Mo.)
Nov. 26 37. Oklahoma or 99. Stanford Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker (Kansas City, Mo.)
Dec. 3 245. Charleston Southern
Dec. 7 88. Temple TU 79-77 (H)
Dec. 15 138. Southern Illinois
Dec. 21 89. Illinois Braggin' Rights (St. Louis, Mo.) MU 79-63 (N)
Dec. 30 349. Chicago State
Jan. 25 26. West Virginia Big 12/SEC Challenge

In 2018-19, the Tigers never recovered from the loss of Jontay Porter during preseason, stumbling to a 15-17 finish in Cuonzo Martin’s second season in charge in Columbia. And while the Tigers went 9-3 in non-conference play, it’s going to be difficult for Mizzou to match that total against this slate, as the number of road games has jumped from one to three and 2019’s exempt event, the Hall of Fame Classic, is far more difficult than last season’s Paradise Jam, even if this season’s shindig provides a pair of semi-home games in Kansas City. While the third and final non-league road game features a West Virginia team that helped replace the Tigers in the Big 12, Missouri will have to wait until next season to get a shot at ancient rival Kansas. That’s when the pair will renew their series at the Sprint Center for the first time since 2012 (outside of a hurricane charity exhibition in 2017).

46. Kentucky Wildcats

*MTE: BBN Showcase

Home Games (9) Neutral-Site Games (3) Road Games (1)
Home Games (9) Neutral-Site Games (3) Road Games (1)
12. Louisville 5. Michigan State$ 11. Texas Tech^
97. Georgia Tech 35. Ohio State% ^ - Big 12 Challenge
123. Utah Valley* 65. Utah%
133. UAB* $ - New York
159. Evansville % - Las Vegas
234. Lamar*
265. Fairleigh Dickinson
273. Eastern Kentucky
288. Mount St. Mary's*

Kentucky Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event 2018-19 Meeting (2-0)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event 2018-19 Meeting (2-0)
Nov. 5 5. Michigan State Champions Classic (New York)
Nov. 8 273. Eastern Kentucky
Nov. 12 159. Evansville
Nov. 18 123. Utah Valley BBN Showcase
Nov. 22 288. Mount St. Mary's BBN Showcase
Nov. 24 234. Lamar BBN Showcase
Nov. 29 133. UAB BBN Showcase
Dec. 7 265. Fairleigh Dickinson
Dec. 14 97. Georgia Tech
Dec. 18 65. Utah T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas UK 88-61 (H)
Dec. 21 35. Ohio State CBS Sports Classic (Las Vegas)
Dec. 28 12. Louisville UK 71-58 (@)
Jan. 25 11. Texas Tech Big 12/SEC Challenge

Outside of a tricky matchup with archrival Louisville, those with Rupp Arena season tickets should see the Wildcats win a lot before SEC play begins. That’s because the bulk of Kentucky’s challenges will come away from Lexington this fall, starting with an Opening Night top-four Champions Classic matchup with the preseason No. 1 Michigan State. After those eight likely home wins, John Calipari’s team will once again hit the road—for a pair of games in Las Vegas against Utah and Ohio State. While that final pre-SEC matchup against the Cardinals is back at Rupp, Kentucky won’t play a true non-conference road game until the Big 12/SEC Challenge—when the Cats will play Texas Tech in Lubbock. They’ll have hit the road for three SEC matchups before then, however.

63. Arkansas Razorbacks

*MTE: Collegiate Hoops Roadshow Presented by AtmosAir

Home Games (9) Neutral-Site Games (1) Road Games (3)
Home Games (9) Neutral-Site Games (1) Road Games (3)
41. TCU^ 144. Valparaiso! 42. Indiana
107. Tulsa ! - North Little Rock 97. Georgia Tech
117. Montana* 114. Western Kentucky
119. Northern Kentucky*
147. South Dakota*
180. Austin Peay
220. North Texas
222. Texas Southern*
264. Rice
^ - Big 12 Challenge

Arkansas Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (2-3)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (2-3)
Nov. 5 264. Rice
Nov. 12 220. North Texas
Nov. 16 117. Montana Collegiate Hoops Roadshow Presented by AtmosAir
Nov. 19 222. Texas Southern Collegiate Hoops Roadshow Presented by AtmosAir
Nov. 22 147. South Dakota Collegiate Hoops Roadshow Presented by AtmosAir
Nov. 25 97. Georgia Tech GIT 69-65 (H)
Nov. 30 119. Northern Kentucky Collegiate Hoops Roadshow Presented by AtmosAir
Dec. 3 180. Austin Peay UA 76-65 (H)
Dec. 7 114. Western Kentucky WKU 78-77 (H)
Dec. 14 107. Tulsa
Dec. 21 144. Valparaiso Verizon Wireless Arena, North Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 29 42. Indiana UA 73-72 (H) IU 63-60 (@) (NIT)
Jan. 25 41. TCU Big 12/SEC Challenge

Mike Anderson finally ran out of time in Fayetteville, as he was dismissed after an 18-16 season that ended with an NIT second round loss to Indiana. The Hoosiers feature on Eric Musselman’s first Razorback schedule, with the Hogs traveling to Bloomington for the second time in the calendar year, with the pair playing for the third time in 13 months. Arkansas won the first meeting in Fayetteville in the showcase game of the pair’s exempt event last November. Indiana and Big 12 Challenge foe TCU are the only two top 50 teams on the Razorbacks’ non-conference slate, but with just one sub-250 team (according to the four-year rankings), and three true road games, Musselman’s inaugural slate provides his squad with several chances at grabbing early wins while avoiding true cupcakes.

67. Mississippi State Bulldogs

*MTE: Myrtle Beach Invitational

Home Games (7) Neutral-Site Games (4-5) Road Games (1-2)
Home Games (7) Neutral-Site Games (4-5) Road Games (1-2)
127. Louisiana Tech 25. Kansas State$ 37. Oklahoma^%
157. Kent State 60. New Mexico State! 179. Coastal Carolina
170. Radford 240. Tulane* (or Baylor/Utah/
176. ULM 6. Villanova or Ohio)*
201. Sam Houston State 113. Middle Tennessee* ^ - Big 12 Challenge
235. FIU 21. Baylor/ % - Oklahoma City
266. New Orleans* 65. Utah/
158. Ohio
(or Coastal Carolina)*
$ - Newark, N.J.
! - Jackson, Miss.

Mississippi State Chronological

Home Games (7) Neutral-Site Games (4-5) Road Games (1-2)
Home Games (7) Neutral-Site Games (4-5) Road Games (1-2)
127. Louisiana Tech 25. Kansas State$ 37. Oklahoma^%
157. Kent State 60. New Mexico State! 179. Coastal Carolina
170. Radford 240. Tulane* (or Baylor/Utah/
176. ULM 6. Villanova or Ohio)*
201. Sam Houston State 113. Middle Tennessee* ^ - Big 12 Challenge
235. FIU 21. Baylor/ % - Oklahoma City
266. New Orleans* 65. Utah/
158. Ohio
(or Coastal Carolina)*
$ - Newark, N.J.
! - Jackson, Miss.

In his fourth season in Starkville, Ben Howland’s Bulldogs broke through and reached the NCAA Tournament, even though they ended up being Liberty‘s victim in a 12-over-5 upset. Heading into 2019-20, Miss. State will open with a schedule that resembles many of the ones around it in this post—light on home challenges (with the biggest being a game in Jackson against WAC powerhouse New Mexico State) and heavy on intriguing neutral-site contests. The Bulldogs are guaranteed to meet Kansas State in their second consecutive trip to New Jersey for the Never Forget Tribute Classic and should play Villanova and either Baylor or Utah in the Myrtle Beach Invitational. And while the one true non-league game doesn’t arrive until SEC play is well underway, that contest deserves a bit of an asterisk (or percent sign, based on the table above). That’s because Oklahoma has designated the pair’s Big 12/SEC Challenge games as one of their two home contests in nearby Oklahoma City this season.

77. LSU Tigers

*MTE: Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic

Home Games (8) Neutral-Site Games (3) Road Games (2)
Home Games (8) Neutral-Site Games (3) Road Games (2)
81. ETSU 59. USC! 34. Texas^
134. Liberty 73. Rhode Island* 61. VCU
149. Missouri State 86. Utah State* ^ - Big 12 Challenge
171. Bowling Green ! - Staples Center
223. UMBC*
266. New Orleans
292. Nicholls State*
342. Northwestern State

LSU Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event 2018-19 Meeting (0-0)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event 2018-19 Meeting (0-0)
Nov. 8 171. Bowling Green
Nov. 13 61. VCU
Nov. 16 292. Nicholls State Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic
Nov. 19 223. UMBC Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic
Nov. 22 86. Utah State Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic (Montego Bay, Jamaica)
Nov. 24 73. Rhode Island Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic (Montego Bay, Jamaica)
Nov. 29 149. Missouri State
Dec. 3 266. New Orleans
Dec. 8 342. Northwestern State
Dec. 18 81. ETSU
Dec. 21 59. USC Basketball Hall of Fame Classic (Staples Center, Los Angeles)
Dec. 29 134. Liberty
Jan. 25 34. Texas Big 12/SEC Challenge

In 2018-19, the Tigers ended up winning 28 games and reaching the Sweet Sixteen despite the presence of significant turmoil around the program, thanks to the FBI investigation into college basketball, which led to head coach Will Wade’s suspension during the latter stages of the season. He’ll be back on the bench for the 2019-20 season, one that sees LSU forecast to compete with Kentucky and Florida for the SEC crown. Like so many teams residing in middle of the conference’s scheduling rankings, the bulk of the Bayou Bengals’ challenges will come away from home, even if ASUN champ Liberty, SoCon favorite ETSU, and history-making UMBC visit the PMAC. Not only will LSU play a pair of dangerous mid-majors, Utah State and Rhode Island, in Jamaica, but they’ll play USC in the Trojans’ backyard and visit Wade’s former employers, VCU, in what should be a raucous atmosphere in Richmond, and Texas for the Big 12 Challenge. The three Southland home games weigh this slate down a bit, even if all three matchups come against fellow Louisiana schools.

80. Auburn Tigers

*MTE: Roman Legends Classic Presented by Old Trapper

Home Games (8) Neutral-Site Games (4) Road Games (1)
Home Games (8) Neutral-Site Games (4) Road Games (1)
23. Iowa State^ 68. Davidson 231. South Alabama
47. NC State 131. New Mexico*
85. Furman 20. Wisconsin or
116. Lipscomb 154. Richmond*
129. Georgia Southern 153. Saint Louis
177. Lehigh $ - Annapolis, Md.
183. Colgate ! - Birmingham
307. CSUN
^ - Big 12 Challenge

Auburn Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (1-1)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (1-1)
Nov. 5 129. Georgia Southern
Nov. 8 68. Davidson Veterans Classic (Annapolis, Md.)
Nov. 12 231. South Alabama AU 101-58 (H)
Nov. 15 307. CSUN Roman Legends Classic Presented by Old Trapper
Nov. 18 183. Colgate Roman Legends Classic Presented by Old Trapper
Nov. 25 131. New Mexico Roman Legends Classic Presented by Old Trapper (Brooklyn)
Nov. 26 20. Wisconsin or 154. Richmond Roman Legends Classic Presented by Old Trapper (Brooklyn)
Dec. 5 85. Furman
Dec. 14 153. Saint Louis Mike Slive Invitational (Birmingham, Ala.)
Dec. 19 47. NC State NCSU 78-71 (@)
Dec. 21 177. Lehigh
Dec. 29 116. Lipscomb
Jan. 25 23. Iowa State Big 12/SEC Challenge

The Tigers will begin their quest to better last season’s Final Four berth with a non-conference slate that does a marginally better job of providing its home fans with quality games than many of the others surrounding it. Sure, a visit from NC State is the biggest highlight of the Auburn Arena fall home slate (ranking just behind January’s Big 12 Challenge tilt with Iowa State), but defending Patriot League champ Colgate, Sun Belt contender Georgia Southern, and SoCon power Furman are all formidable mid-major opponents. Plus, you can expect there to be plenty of Tiger fans in the building when Bruce Pearl’s squad takes on Atlantic 10 Tournament champ Saint Louis in Birmingham and South Alabama at the Mitchell Center in Mobile. But November will see Auburn test itself in a pair of true neutral-site showcases, first against A 10 threat Davidson in the Veterans Classic at Navy and then in the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, where Wisconsin looms as a potential final opponent.

89. South Carolina Gamecocks

*MTE: Cancun Challenge

Home Games (8) Neutral-Site Games (2) Road Games (3)
Home Games (8) Neutral-Site Games (2) Road Games (3)
17. Houston^ 28. Wichita State* 1. Virginia
202. George Washington 26. West Virginia or 22. Clemson
207. Gardner-Webb* 140. Northern Iowa* 206. UMass
210. Wyoming
215. North Alabama
241. Boston University*
300. Cleveland State
324. Stetson
^ - American Alliance

South Carolina Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (1-3)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (1-3)
Nov. 6 215. North Alabama
Nov. 10 210. Wyoming UW 73-64 (@)
Nov. 15 300. Cleveland State
Nov. 19 241. Boston University Cancun Challenge
Nov. 22 207. Gardner-Webb Cancun Challenge
Nov. 26 28. Wichita State Cancun Challenge (Cancun, Mexico)
Nov. 27 26. West Virginia or 140. Northern Iowa Cancun Challenge (Cancun, Mexico)
Dec. 1 202. George Washington USC 90-55 (N)
Dec. 4 206. UMass
Dec. 8 17. Houston SEC/American Alliance
Dec. 15 22. Clemson CU 78-68 (H)
Dec. 22 1. Virginia UVa 69-52 (H)
Dec. 30 324. Stetson

While the Gamecocks finished with an 11-7 SEC record, with South Carolina starting league play off with five wins in its first six games, an awful 5-7 November and December doomed Frank Martin’s club to a .500 record overall and no postseason. With seven sub-200 home games and a trip to UMass, the Gamecocks should get off to a better start this season. Carolina does get one marquee home game in Houston‘s visit for the American Alliance, but the bulk of the quality on this slate is set for sites away from Columbia. Wichita State is a difficult draw for the Cancun Challenge semifinals, while Virginia and Clemson are daunting road matchups.

100. Texas A&M Aggies

*MTE: Orlando Invitational

Home Games (8) Neutral-Site Games (4)
Home Games (8) Neutral-Site Games (4)
2. Gonzaga 34. Texas$
53. Oklahoma State^ 126. Harvard*
109. Oregon State 24. Maryland or
176. ULM 88. Temple*
208. Troy 33. Marquette/
222. Texas Southern 59. USC/
276. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 68. Davidson/
342. Northwestern State 254. Fairfield*
^ - Big 12 Challenge $ - Fort Worth

Texas A&M Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (2-2)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (2-2)
Nov. 6 342. Northwestern State A&M 80-59 (H)
Nov. 11 176. ULM
Nov. 15 2. Gonzaga GU 94-71 (@)
Nov. 20 208. Troy
Nov. 28 126. Harvard Orlando Invitational (Bay Lake, Fla.)
Nov. 29 24. Maryland or 88. Temple Orlando Invitational (Bay Lake, Fla.)
Dec. 1 33. Marquette/59. USC 68. Davidson/254. Fairfield Orlando Invitational (Bay Lake, Fla.)
Dec. 8 34. Texas Lone Star Showdown (Fort Worth, Texas)
Dec. 15 276. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Dec. 21 109. Oregon State A&M 67-64 (N)
Dec. 30 222. Texas Southern TSU 83-73 (H)
Jan. 25 53. Oklahoma State Big 12/SEC Challenge

Even though Billy Kennedy got the Aggies to the Sweet Sixteen in two of his final four seasons in College Station, the down years were disappointing enough to force a coaching change. So, Buzz Williams returns to his home state fresh off resuscitating the Virginia Tech program. Texas A&M should be able to do rather well against this home-heavy slate, even if Gonzaga visits in mid-November and Oklahoma State lurks as the Big 12 Challenge opponent. Late November and early December will provide a quartet of neutral-site challenges for the Aggies, as they’ll take on Ivy favorite Harvard, then either Maryland or Temple in the Orlando Invitational, with a matchup with another of Williams’ former employers, Marquette, possible on day three. Then, A&M takes on eternal rival Texas in Fort Worth’s new Dickies Arena, for what will be the pair’s first hardwood meeting since the Aggies won a 2015 Battle 4 Atlantis quarterfinal.

106. Ole Miss Rebels

*MTE: NIT Season Tip-Off

Home Games (8) Neutral-Site Games (3) Road Games (2)
Home Games (8) Neutral-Site Games (3) Road Games (2)
38. Butler 48. Penn State* 28. Wichita State^
113. Middle Tennessee 39. Syracuse or 95. Memphis
188. Cal State Bakersfield 53. Oklahoma State* ^ - American Alliance
213. Western Michigan* 236. Southeastern Louisiana!
218. Seattle* ! - Jackson, Miss.
246. Arkansas State
297. Norfolk State
297. Tennessee Tech

Ole Miss Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (3-1)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (3-1)
Nov. 8 246. Arkansas State
Nov. 12 297. Norfolk State
Nov. 15 213. Western Michigan NIT Season Tip-Off OM 90-64 (H)
Nov. 19 218. Seattle NIT Season Tip-Off
Nov. 23 95. Memphis
Nov. 27 48. Penn State NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Nov. 29 39. Syracuse or 53. Oklahoma State NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Dec. 3 38. Butler BU 83-76 (@)
Dec. 7 188. Cal State Bakersfield
Dec. 14 113. Middle Tennessee OM 74-56 (N)
Dec. 21 236. Southeastern Louisiana Mississippi Coliseum, Jackson, Miss. OM 69-47 (N)
Dec. 29 286. Tennessee Tech
Jan. 4 28. Wichita State SEC/American Alliance

Kermit Davis’ squad was the surprise of the conference in 2018-19, winning 20 games and earning an unexpected NCAA bid, thanks in no small part to a 10-2 start. Despite the presence of nine in-state games, with six of those featuring sub-200 teams, the Rebels will need to step up their game this fall to match or better that start. For starters, the two road games, against a Memphis team that should be far better than its four-year ranking and Wichita State, which closed strong last March, are doozies. Plus, Ole Miss has to play Penn State in New York and potentially Syracuse in its home state two days later. But the most intriguing part of this schedule is the pair of reunion dates in December, as former Mississippi head coach Rod Barnes’ Cal State Bakersfield team and Davis’ former club, Middle Tennessee, visit Oxford on consecutive Saturdays.

108. Georgia Bulldogs

*MTE: Maui Jim Maui Invitational

Home Games (8) Neutral-Site Games (3) Road Games (2)
Home Games (8) Neutral-Site Games (3) Road Games (2)
57. SMU 76. Dayton* 67. Arizona State
97. Georgia Tech 5. Michigan State or 95. Memphis^
129. Georgia Southern 19. Virginia Tech* ^ - American Alliance
180. Austin Peay 10. Kansas/
289. NC Central 52. UCLA/
304. Western Carolina 70. BYU/
305. The Citadel (Non-D1) Chaminade*
352. Delaware State*

Georgia Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (1-1)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (1-1)
Nov. 5 304. Western Carolina
Nov. 12 305. The Citadel
Nov. 15 352. Delaware State Maui Jim Maui Invitational (Mainland)
Nov. 20 97. Georgia Tech UGA 70-59 (@)
Nov. 25 76. Dayton Maui Jim Maui Invitational (Lahaina, Hawai'i)
Nov. 26 5. Michigan State or 19. Virginia Tech Maui Jim Maui Invitational (Lahaina, Hawai'i)
Nov. 27 10. Kansas/52. UCLA/ 70. BYU/(Non-D1) Chaminade Maui Jim Maui Invitational (Lahaina, Hawai'i)
Dec. 4 289. NC Central
Dec. 14 67. Arizona State ASU 76-74 (H)
Dec. 20 57. SMU
Dec. 23 129. Georgia Southern
Dec. 30 180. Austin Peay
Jan. 4 95. Memphis SEC/American Alliance

While Tom Crean’s first Bulldog team went a respectable 9-4 in non-conference play, only Georgia’s SEC/Big 12 Challenge win over Texas ranks as noteworthy, particularly since it came in the midst of a 3-17 finish. And with the Bulldogs set to play in a typically stacked Maui Invitational, it’s not surprising that they’ll start with a trio of sub-300 teams. Beyond the first three games, there will be challenges for a rebuilding team, even beyond the trip to Hawai’i. Arizona State and Memphis will be tough road contests, and Georgia Tech remains a rivalry game even if the Yellow Jackets are postseason-ineligible. None of the four remaining home games are anything to sneeze at, even 289th-ranked NC Central, as the Eagles are a perennial MEAC title challenger.

181. Vanderbilt Commodores

*MTE: Vanderbilt Invitational

True Home Games (11) Neutral-Site Games (1) Road Games (1)
True Home Games (11) Neutral-Site Games (1) Road Games (1)
55. Buffalo 93. Loyola Chicago$ 154. Richmond
57. SMU^ $ - Phoenix, Ariz.
68. Davidson
107. Tulsa*
134. Liberty
180. Austin Peay*
190. UNCW
236. Southeastern Louisiana*
276. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
303. Southeast Missouri State
343. South Carolina State*
^ - American Alliance

Vanderbilt Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (0-0)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (0-0)
Nov. 6 303. Southeast Missouri State
Nov. 11 276. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Nov. 14 154. Richmond
Nov. 20 180. Austin Peay Vanderbilt Invitational
Nov. 22 343. South Carolina State Vanderbilt Invitational
Nov. 25 236. Southeastern Louisiana Vanderbilt Invitational
Nov. 30 107. Tulsa Vanderbilt Invitational
Dec. 3 55. Buffalo
Dec. 14 134. Liberty
Dec. 18 93. Loyola Chicago Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Dec. 22 190. UNCW
Dec. 30 68. Davidson
Jan. 4 57. SMU SEC/American Alliance

After a nine-win campaign that saw the Commodores go 0-for-19 in SEC games, Bryce Drew was relieved of his duties in Nashville after three years. Vanderbilt hired retired NBA star Jerry Stackhouse as Drew’s replacement, and he’ll look to hit the ground running with a home-heavy schedule that sees the Commodores play just two games away from Memorial Gym—a true road game against Richmond and a contest in Phoenix against Loyola Chicago. There are some tricky home contests on offer, particularly as November disappears. Tulsa visits for the showcase game of Vanderbilt’s exempt event, with games against 2019 NCAA First Round winners Buffalo and Liberty following. The non-conference slate closes with a visit from Davidson, who will challenge in the A 10 this season, and SMU for the American Alliance.

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