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Key Mid-Major Non-Conference Scheduling For 2019-20

Taking a look at 15 teams to keep an eye on between November and Selection Sunday.

The 15 mid-major teams selected for this post.
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.

The Top 25 Schedules In The Nation

Average Schedule Strength Ranking Team (* = number of TBD bracketed games) Average Schedule Strength
Average Schedule Strength Ranking Team (* = number of TBD bracketed games) Average Schedule Strength
1 Texas Southern 375.5
2 Alabama State* 365.1826923
3 Houston Baptist 332.3333333
4 Central Arkansas* 329.4886364
5 Florida A&M 326.5454545
6 Detroit Mercy 314.1923077
7 North Carolina** 306.5340909
8 Alabama A&M 305.9090909
9 Alabama** 305.5865385
10 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 301.5
11 Davidson** 296.3802083
12 Saint Joseph's** 290.9423077
13 Purdue* 288.8863636
14 Mississippi Valley State 287.6538462
15 Florida** 286.4615385
16 Prairie View A&M* 284.3365385
17 Oklahoma State* 283.2115385
18 Kansas** 278.3221154
19 Cincinnati** 278.0104167
20 Kennesaw State 277.4285714
21 Oklahoma* 276.1105769
22 Michigan State** 276.0965909
23 Oregon** 274.6730769
24 Seton Hall** 274.6458333
25 Temple** 274.1923077

This series’ mid-major post begins with a look at the top 25 non-conference schedules in the country, based on this series’ metrics anyway. While a little more than half of the teams in the table above enter this season with at least a theoretical shot at earning an at-large if things go right, the other 11 don’t. And those teams built their difficult schedules to better prepare themselves for conference play or help fund their athletic department’s budget by collecting game checks—or both. So, it didn’t make much sense given the limited time I have available to break down Texas Southern‘s or Alabama State‘s or Houston Baptist‘s schedule, even in a mid-major-focused post.

So how did I determine which teams to include here?

Well, I simply took a look at KenPom’s top 100 for the season. I then identified the mid-majors within that group, which totaled 22. At that point, I took that list and compared it with the average schedule rankings. Just 15 of those 22 top-100 teams had non-conference schedules that ranked in the top half (so top 177) nationally. And those were the ones that made the cut. As you’ll see below, even that combination will be no guarantee that a team earns at-large consideration as the season goes on.

However, considering Belmont earned an at-large last March, Wofford would have, and Lipscomb, UNCG, and Furman all earned serious consideration out of nowhere, don’t dismiss the possibility of further surprises this year.

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

11. Davidson Wildcats

*MTE: Orlando Invitational

Home Games (3) Neutral-Site Games (5) Road Games (4)
Home Games (3) Neutral-Site Games (5) Road Games (4)
30. Nevada 27. Auburn# 87. Vanderbilt
190. UNCW 33. Marquette* 93. Loyola Chicago
347. Coppin State 59. USC or 102. Northeastern
254. Fairfield* 293. Charlotte
24. Maryland/
51. Texas A&M/
88. Temple/
126. Harvard*
101. Wake Forest
# - Annapolis, Md.
$ - Charlotte, N.C.

Davidson Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (4-2)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (4-2)
Nov. 8 27. Auburn Veterans Classic (Annapolis, Md.)
Nov. 12 293. Charlotte DC 76-56 (H)
Nov. 16 190. UNCW DC 91-85 (@)
Nov. 19 30. Nevada
Nov. 22 101. Wake Forest Spectrum Center, Charlotte, N.C. WFU 67-63 (@)
Nov. 28 33. Marquette Orlando Invitational (Bay Lake, Fla.)
Nov. 29 59. USC or 254. Fairfield Orlando Invitational (Bay Lake, Fla.)
Dec. 1 24. Maryland/51. Texas A&M/ 88. Temple/126. Harvard Orlando Invitational (Bay Lake, Fla.) TU 77-75 (OT) (N)
Dec. 7 102. Northeastern DC 71-59 (N) DC 78-69 (H)
Dec. 10 347. Coppin State
Dec. 22 93. Loyola Chicago
Dec. 30 78. Vanderbilt

The Wildcats’ quest for a second consecutive Atlantic 10 Tournament title ended with a thud in the semifinals against eventual champ Saint Louis. Even though Bob McKillop’s team went 24-9, the Selection Committee passed them over for an at-large because of a non-conference schedule that didn’t end up impressing them. Even though this schedule ranks highly, the danger of a repeat lurks, thanks to several games against teams heading into the new season with significant question marks (Nevada, Northeastern, Loyola Chicago, Vanderbilt) along with a game in Charlotte against a Wake Forest club that is likely to underperform its four-year ranking. With past performance not being indicative of future results across the board, Davidson might need to create an opening weekend stir by stunning an Auburn team that should contend in the SEC and perform strongly in the Orlando Invitational to earn the at-large consideration that went missing last March.

27. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

*MTE: U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam

Home Games (4) Neutral-Site Games (4) Road Games (3)
Home Games (4) Neutral-Site Games (4) Road Games (3)
46. Arkansas 12. Louisville$ 73. Rhode Island
69. Belmont 171. Bowling Green* 128. Wright State
180. Austin Peay 13. Cincinnati* 273. Eastern Kentucky
286. Tennessee Tech 130. Illinois State*
30. Nevada/
112. Grand Canyon/
144. Valparaiso/
258. Fordham*
$ - Nashville, Tenn.

Western Kentucky Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (1-1)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (1-1)
Nov. 5 286. Tennessee Tech
Nov. 9 180. Austin Peay
Nov. 15 273. Eastern Kentucky
Nov. 22 171. Bowling Green U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam (St. Thomas, V.I.)
Nov. 23 or 24 13. Cincinnati or 130. Illinois State U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam (St. Thomas, V.I.)
Nov. 25 30. Nevada/112. Grand Canyon/ 144. Valparaiso/258. Fordham U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam (St. Thomas, V.I.)
Nov. 29 12. Louisville Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.
Dec. 3 128. Wright State
Dec. 7 46. Arkansas WKU 78-77 (@)
Dec. 21 73. Rhode Island
Dec. 28 69. Belmont BU 80-74 (@)

The Hilltoppers are one of many teams that struggled to fill their non-conference slates this season, falling two games short of the maximum possible for a Conference USA team. Rick Stansbury even took the step of scheduling a December exhibition game to help fill the void. Honestly, Western Kentucky’s struggles aren’t surprising considering expectations will again be high following a 20-win season that ended in the conference tournament final. Note that last season’s WKU team defeated both Saint Mary’s and Wisconsin in Bowling Green and Arkansas on the road. However, some bad losses really took the air out of the Toppers’ at-large hopes. This time around, the Razorbacks visit Diddle Arena, as does Belmont, another 2019 NCAA team. But Thanksgiving week will be the portion of the early season that’s most crucial to WKU’s plans. For starters, the Hilltoppers will hope to meet both Cincinnati and Nevada in the Paradise Jam, then they’ll take on Louisville in Nashville upon their return to the mainland.

28. Nevada Wolf Pack

*MTE: U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam

Home Games (6) Neutral-Site Games (4) Road Games (2)
Home Games (6) Neutral-Site Games (4) Road Games (2)
59. USC 18. Saint Mary's! 68. Davidson
65. Utah 258. Fordham* 70. BYU
118. UT Arlington 112. Grand Canyon or
167. Loyola Marymount 144. Valparaiso*
211. Santa Clara 13. Cincinnati/
222. Texas Southern 114. Western Kentucky/
130. Illinois State/
171. Bowling Green*
! - San Francisco

Nevada Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (4-0)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (4-0)
Nov. 5 65. Utah UN 86-71 (@)
Nov. 9 167. Loyola Marymount
Nov. 12 118. UT Arlington
Nov. 16 59. USC UN 73-61 (@)
Nov. 19 68. Davidson
Nov. 22 258. Fordham U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam (St. Thomas, V.I.)
Nov. 23 or 24 112. Grand Canyon or 144. Valparaiso U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam (St. Thomas, V.I.) GCU: UN 74-66 (N)
Nov. 25 13. Cincinnati/ 114. Western Kentucky/ 130. Illinois State/ 171. Bowling Green U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam (St. Thomas, V.I.)
Dec. 4 211. Santa Clara
Dec. 10 70. BYU UN 86-70 (H)
Dec. 18 222. Texas Southern
Dec. 21 18. Saint Mary's Al Attles Classic (San Francisco, Calif.)

Steve Alford’s first Wolf Pack team is among the possibilities for Western Kentucky in the Paradise Jam, though you can bet Nevada would prefer to meet Cincinnati from the Hilltoppers’ side of the bracket. Regardless of whom the Pack end up meeting on day three in St. Thomas, this is a slate that should put the Wolf Pack in the thick of the national conversation once again. Not only will they host two Pac-12 teams, Utah and USC, before the trip to the Caribbean, they’ll also travel to Davidson beforehand for a BracketBusters-like matchup. And the challenges don’t stop in December, as two of the three best teams in the WCC, BYU and Saint Mary’s, feature, with both games taking place in what should be somewhat hostile environments. Plus, the Texas Southern team that visits on December 18th defeated Baylor, Oregon, and Texas A&M last year.

37. BYU Cougars

*MTE: Maui Jim Maui Invitational

Home Games (7) Neutral-Site Games (5) Road Games (3)
Home Games (7) Neutral-Site Games (5) Road Games (3)
30. Nevada 52. UCLA* 17. Houston
72. San Diego State 10. Kansas or 65. Utah
174. Weber State (Non-D1) Chaminade* 91. Boise State
205. Cal State Fullerton 5. Michigan State/
262. Oral Roberts 19. Virginia Tech/
311. Southern Utah* 76. Dayton/
(Non-D1) Montana Tech 77. Georgia*
86. Utah State!
148. UNLV!
! - Salt Lake City

BYU Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (3-5)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (3-5)
Nov. 5 205. Cal State Fullerton
Nov. 9 72. San Diego State SDSU 90-81 (@)
Nov. 13 311. Southern Utah Maui Jim Maui Invitational
Nov. 15 17. Houston UH 76-62 (H)
Nov. 20 91. Boise State
Nov. 25 52. UCLA Maui Jim Maui Invitational (Lahaina, Hawai'i)
Nov. 26 10. Kansas or (Non-D1) Chaminade Maui Jim Maui Invitational (Lahaina, Hawai'i)
Nov. 27 5. Michigan State/19. Virginia Tech/ 76. Dayton/77. Georgia Maui Jim Maui Invitational (Lahaina, Hawai'i)
Nov. 30 (Non-D1) Montana Tech
Dec. 4 65. Utah BYU 74-59 (N)
Dec. 7 148. UNLV Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City UNLV 92-90 (OT) (N)
Dec. 10 30. Nevada UNR 86-70 (@)
Dec. 14 86. Utah State Beehive Classic (Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City) BYU 95-80 (H)
Dec. 21 174. Weber State WSU 113-103 (@)
Dec. 28 267. Oral Roberts BYU 85-65 (H)

With Dave Rose’s retirement, former Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made the short move from Orem to Provo. His first challenge will be to get the Cougars back to the NCAAs for the first time since 2015, and this non-conference schedule certainly seems to have such a goal in mind. Not only will BYU travel to the Maui Invitational, where an intriguing quarterfinal against UCLA awaits, but several other postseason hopefuls dot the slate. Former Mountain West rival San Diego State anchors an early homestand, while the Cougars travel to both Houston and Boise State before heading to Hawai’i. Upon their return from Lahaina, Pope will have to prepare for a quartet of traditional rivals—Utah, UNLV, Nevada, and Utah State—all of whom will hope to challenge for an at-large themselves.

52. Vermont Catamounts

*MTE: Air Force Reserve Tip-Off Presented by Citi

Home Games (6) Neutral-Site Games (2) Road Games (2)
Home Games (6) Neutral-Site Games (2) Road Games (2)
100. UNCG 337. Central Connecticut State* 1. Virginia*
116. Lipscomb 185. Rider 13. Cincinnati
196. Towson 219. Columbia* 90. St. Bonaventure
202. George Washington 92. St. John's*
241. Boston University 115. Bucknell
(Non-D1) Gallaudet 121. Yale
277. Dartmouth

Vermont Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (6-2)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (6-2)
Nov. 8 90. St. Bonaventure UVM 83-76 (2OT) (H)
Nov. 10 115. Bucknell BU 69-61 (H)
Nov. 13 241. Boston University UVM 78-72 (@)
Nov. 16 92. St. John's Air Force Reserve Tip-Off Presented by Citi
Nov. 19 1. Virginia Air Force Reserve Tip-Off Presented by Citi
Nov. 23 337. Central Connecticut State Air Force Reserve Tip-Off Presented by Citi (Uncasville, Conn.)
Nov. 24 185. Rider or 219. Columbia Air Force Reserve Tip-Off Presented by Citi (Uncasville, Conn.)
Nov. 27 (Non-D1) Gallaudet
Dec. 1 121. Yale UVM 79-70 (H)
Dec. 3 13. Cincinnati
Dec. 7 196. Towson UVM 70-64 (@)
Dec. 18 100. UNCG
Dec. 20 116. Lipscomb LU 91-66 (@)
Dec. 31 202. George Washington UVM 69-53 (@)
Jan. 2 277. Dartmouth UVM 73-59 (H)

Sure, the Catamounts aren’t likely to earn at-large bid, but stranger things have happened. Regardless, this schedule is clearly designed to get Vermont into a slightly better seed than the 13 that John Becker’s last two NCAA qualifiers earned. The Catamounts not only visit defending National Champion Virginia and St. John’s (watch for a possible upset in Queens) for the Hall of Fame Tip-Off, but they will play back-to-back road games against Ivy champ Yale and a strong Cincinnati team afterward. Plus, there are a variety of mid-major luminaries present on this slate, with the Catamounts starting the season with consecutive road games against St. Bonaventure and Bucknell, and UNCG and Lipscomb, a pair of 2019 NIT squads travel to Burlington in December.

56. Belmont Bruins

*MTE: Gotham Classic

Home Games (5) Neutral-Site Games (1) Road Games (7)
Home Games (5) Neutral-Site Games (1) Road Games (7)
116. Lipscomb 54. Alabama! 110. Boston College*
197. Samford ! - Huntsville, Ala. 113. Middle Tennessee
239. High Point* 114. Western Kentucky
322. Kennesaw State 116. Lipscomb
(Non-D1) Carson-Newman 130. Illinois State
153. Saint Louis*
184. Eastern Washington*

Belmont Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (7-0)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (7-0)
Nov. 6 130. Illinois State BU 100-89 (H)
Nov. 11 197. Samford BU 99-93 (OT) (@)
Nov. 16 110. Boston College Gotham Classic
Nov. 18 239. High Point Gotham Classic
Nov. 20 116. Lipscomb BU 87-73 (@)
Nov. 23 184. Eastern Washington Gotham Classic
Nov. 26 153. Saint Louis Gotham Classic
Nov. 30 113. Middle Tennessee BU 92-73 (H)
Dec. 3 116. Lipscomb BU 76-74 (H)
Dec. 11 (Non-D1) Carson-Newman
Dec. 18 322. Kennesaw State BU 91-53 (@)
Dec. 21 54. Alabama Rocket City Classic (Huntsville, Ala.)
Dec. 28 114. Western Kentucky BU 80-74 (H)

After earning a surprise NCAA at-large bid and grabbing a first-ever Division I Tournament win, Rick Byrd rode off into the sunset last spring. His replacement, former Lipscomb coach and Belmont alum Casey Alexander, certainly didn’t shy away from non-conference challenges while at the other end of Belmont Boulevard. And even though there’s just one game on this schedule against a team in the four-year ranking’s top 100, that tradition continues. There are many teams on Alexander’s first Bruin slate (Boston College, the aforementioned Bisons, 2019 A 10 Tournament champion Saint Louis, WKU) that could meet or exceed Alabama’s performance this season. While an OVC Tournament title is once again Belmont’s most likely ticket to the field of 68, last year illustrated that anything is possible with strong performances and quality scheduling. If things break right here, a second surprise at-large in as many seasons might just happen.

58. Saint Mary’s Gaels

*MTE: Sacramento Classic

Home Games (8) Neutral-Site Games (5) Road Games (1)
Home Games (8) Neutral-Site Games (5) Road Games (1)
86. Utah State 20. Wisconsin# 162. California
150. Winthrop* 30. Nevada!
173. Northern Illinois 67. Arizona State$
177. Lehigh* 76. Dayton$
198. Omaha 79. Fresno State*
200. Long Beach State # - Sioux Falls, S.D.
218. Seattle ! - San Francisco
325. Cal Poly $ - Phoenix

Saint Mary’s Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (1-1)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (1-1)
Nov. 5 20. Wisconsin Sanford Pentagon, Sioux Falls, S.D.
Nov. 11 150. Winthrop Sacramento Classic
Nov. 14 200. Long Beach State
Nov. 17 325. Cal Poly
Nov. 20 79. Fresno State Sacramento Classic (Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, Calif.)
Nov. 23 177. Lehigh Sacramento Classic
Nov. 29 86. Utah State USU 80-63 (N)
Dec. 1 198. Omaha
Dec. 5 173. Northern Illinois
Dec. 8 76. Dayton Jerry Colangelo Classic (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Dec. 14 162. California SMC 84-71 (H)
Dec. 18 67. Arizona State Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Dec. 21 30. Nevada Al Attles Classic (San Francisco, Calif.)
Dec. 28 218. Seattle

Last season, Randy Bennett took many years’ worth of criticism to heart and beefed up the Gaels’ non-conference slate. The improvement didn’t really help Saint Mary’s at-large case, as they ended up needing to win the WCC Tournament to make this field, something the Gaels managed to accomplish. So, Bennett again attempted to turn up the quality of his team’s November and December slate. While the home schedule is unimpressive outside of a visit from Mountain West Tournament champ Utah State, and the lone road contest should be a win against a bad California team, there are plenty of neutral-site win opportunities that could boost the Selection Committee’s perception of the Gaels. The biggest of these five contests comes on Opening Night, as Saint Mary’s travels to Sioux Falls to take on Wisconsin. Later in November, the Gaels meet Fresno State in Sacramento in what was supposed to be the showcase game of the pair’s exempt event (which didn’t fill up as anticipated). December brings a pair of games in Phoenix, one against Dayton and the other a semi-road contest against Arizona State. Three days after that showcase, Bennett’s squad welcomes Nevada to the new Chase Center for a semi-home game. Those five contests should boost the Gaels’ tournament profile a bit while preparing them to challenge Gonzaga for the WCC title.

69. VCU Rams

*MTE: Emerald Coast Classic

Home Games (9) Neutral-Site Games (2) Road Games (2)
Home Games (9) Neutral-Site Games (2) Road Games (2)
50. LSU 7. Purdue* 28. Wichita State
96. Old Dominion 14. Tennessee or 106. College of Charleston
142. Jacksonville State* 16. Florida State*
149. Missouri State
156. FGCU
220. North Texas
259. St. Francis (Pa.)
302. Loyola (Md.)
340. Alabama State*

VCU Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (1-2)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (1-2)
Nov. 5 259. St. Francis (Pa.)
Nov. 8 220. North Texas
Nov. 13 50. LSU
Nov. 17 142. Jacksonville State Emerald Coast Classic
Nov. 23 156. FGCU
Nov. 25 340. Alabama State Emerald Coast Classic
Nov. 29 7. Purdue Emerald Coast Classic (Niceville, Fla.)
Nov. 30 14. Tennessee or 16. Florida State Emerald Coast Classic (Niceville, Fla.)
Dec. 7 96. Old Dominion ODU 62-52 (@)
Dec. 15 149. Missouri State
Dec. 18 106. College of Charleston CofC 83-79 (H)
Dec. 21 28. Wichita State VCU 70-54 (H)
Dec. 29 302. Loyola (Md.)

Mike Rhoades got the Rams back to the NCAA Tournament in his second season, with an Atlantic 10 regular season title and non-conference wins over Temple and Texas helping to push VCU over the cut line. While Shaka Smart’s Longhorns don’t appear on this slate, Rhoades’ immediate predecessor, Will Wade, brings LSU to Richmond on November 13th, which should be must-see TV. Later in the month, the Rams will have the chance to defeat two other 2019 NCAA qualifiers at the Emerald Coast Classic, an exempt tournament that packs a surprising amount of punch for its size. And while a quartet of sub-200 games weigh this schedule down a bit, four December contests against Old Dominion, Missouri State, College of Charleston, and old BracketBuster rival Wichita State could all provide more value than anticipated when March 2020 arrives.

84. Gonzaga Bulldogs

*MTE: Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis

Home Games (9) Neutral-Site Games (3) Road Games (3)
Home Games (9) Neutral-Site Games (3) Road Games (3)
4. North Carolina 203. Southern Mississippi* 36. Arizona
118. UT Arlington* 29. Oregon or 51. Texas A&M
184. Eastern Washington 40. Seton Hall* 80. Washington
188. Cal State Bakersfield 4. North Carolina/
222. Texas Southern 9. Michigan/
238. North Dakota 23. Iowa State/
297. Detroit Mercy 54. Alabama*
339. Arkansas Pine Bluff
340. Alabama State

Gonzaga Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (6-1)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (6-1)
Nov. 5 340. Alabama State
Nov. 9 339. Arkansas Pine Bluff
Nov. 12 238. North Dakota
Nov. 15 51. Texas A&M GU 94-71 (H)
Nov. 19 118. UT Arlington Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis GU 89-55 (H)
Nov. 23 188. Cal State Bakersfield GU 89-54 (H)
Nov. 27 203. Southern Mississippi Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis (Paradise Island, Bahamas)
Nov. 28 29. Oregon or 40. Seton Hall Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis (Paradise Island, Bahamas)
Nov. 29 4. North Carolina/9. Michigan/ 23. Iowa State/54. Alabama Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis (Paradise Island, Bahamas)
Dec. 4 222. Texas Southern GU 104-67 (H)
Dec. 8 80. Washington GU 81-79 (H)
Dec. 14 36. Arizona GU 91-74 (N)
Dec. 18 4. North Carolina UNC 103-90 (@)
Dec. 21 184. Eastern Washington
Dec. 30 297. Detroit Mercy

Mark Few’s Bulldogs will have to retool a bit following a season that ended with 33 wins and some Elite Eight disappointment. Not surprisingly, the Zags’ home slate is a little underwhelming, outside of a marquee December matchup with North Carolina, with five winnable home games before Gonzaga travels to the Bahamas. However, there is a mid-November road game against Buzz Williams’ new Texas A&M club to break that homestand up. The Bulldogs will hope to meet UNC twice, with the first meeting taking place on Black Friday at the Atlantis Resort, provided Gonzaga gets past both Southern Miss. and either Oregon or Seton Hall in the semifinals. Even if the pair don’t meet in the Bahamas, the Bulldogs can’t focus too much on their guaranteed meeting with the Heels, as they have to play at both Washington and Arizona immediately beforehand.

88. Rhode Island Rams

*MTE: Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic

Home Games (6) Neutral-Site Games (2) Road Games (4)
Home Games (6) Neutral-Site Games (2) Road Games (4)
54. Alabama 50. LSU* 24. Maryland
62. Providence 220. North Texas* 26. West Virginia
114. Western Kentucky 114. Middle Tennessee
275. LIU 221. Brown
292. Nicholls State*
301. Manhattan
301. Manhattan

Rhode Island Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (2-2)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (2-2)
Nov. 5 275. LIU
Nov. 9 24. Maryland
Nov. 15 54. Alabama
Nov. 19 292. Nicholls State Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic
Nov. 22 220. North Texas Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic (Montego Bay, Jamaica)
Nov. 24 50. LSU Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic (Montego Bay, Jamaica)
Nov. 27 301. Manhattan
Dec. 1 26. West Virginia WVU 83-70 (N)
Dec. 6 62. Providence PC 59-50 (@)
Dec. 21 114. Western Kentucky
Dec. 29 113. Middle Tennessee URI 72-60 (H)
Jan. 2 221. Brown URI 71-51 (H)

In his first season in charge in Kingston, David Cox’s Rams were eliminated by St. Bonaventure in the Atlantic 10 semifinals, a defeat that extinguished all postseason hopes for an 18-15 team. While Rhode Island’s first non-conference schedule under Cox was decent, the second is quite impressive. Even with five sub-200 teams on this slate, there will still be plenty of opportunities for the Rams to put themselves back on the national radar this fall. That’s thanks to a pair of power conference home games (Alabama and Providence); four road games, highlighted by trips to Maryland and West Virginia; and a game against LSU in Montego Bay. It’s too bad that the organizers of the Jamaica Classic didn’t pair Rhody up with Utah State too.

102. Richmond Spiders

*MTE: Roman Legends Classic Presented by Old Trapper

Home Games (7) Neutral-Site Games (3) Road Games (3)
Home Games (7) Neutral-Site Games (3) Road Games (3)
87. Vanderbilt 20. Wisconsin* 54. Alabama
106. College of Charleston 27. Auburn or 96. Old Dominion
110. Boston College 131. New Mexico* 250. Hampton
231. South Alabama 170. Radford$
259. St. Francis (Pa.) $ - Washington, D.C.
307. CSUN*
326. McNeese State*

Richmond Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (1-2)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (1-2)
Nov. 8 259. St. Francis (Pa.)
Nov. 14 87. Vanderbilt
Nov. 17 307. CSUN Roman Legends Classic Presented by Old Trapper
Nov. 22 326. McNeese State Roman Legends Classic Presented by Old Trapper
Nov. 25 20. Wisconsin Roman Legends Classic Presented by Old Trapper (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Nov. 26 27. Auburn or 131. New Mexico Roman Legends Classic Presented by Old Trapper (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Nov. 30 110. Boston College
Dec. 3 250. Hampton HU 86-66 (H)
Dec. 8 231. South Alabama UR 91-82 (@)
Dec. 14 106. College of Charleston
Dec. 18 96. Old Dominion ODU 63-54 (H)
Dec. 22 170. Radford Holiday Hoops Fest (Washington, D.C.)
Dec. 29 54. Alabama

Yes, Chris Mooney still coaches the Spiders, even after a 13-20 campaign that marked the eighth since UR last appeared in the NCAAs, 2011’s Sweet Sixteen season. Richmond is forecast to be back in the postseason frame this time around, and this schedule should give the Spiders plenty of opportunities to pick up a marquee win or two, even with the presence of five sub-200 opponents. Two power conference teams, Vanderbilt and Boston College will visit the Robins Center, while Richmond travels to Alabama to close out non-conference play. However, the most important chances for the Spiders to spin up quality wins will come in Brooklyn, where Richmond opens with Wisconsin in the Legends Classic semifinals. With an upset win over the Badgers, Mooney’s club would earn some national buzz and a championship showdown with Auburn.

105. Utah State Aggies

*MTE: Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic

Home Games (5) Neutral-Site Games (5) Road Games (1)
Home Games (5) Neutral-Site Games (5) Road Games (1)
174. Weber State 15. Florida! 18. Saint Mary's
195. UTSA 50. LSU*
256. Denver 70. BYU$
271. Montana State 214. South Florida%
331. North Carolina A&T* 220. North Texas*
! - Sunrise, Fla.
$ - Salt Lake City
% - Houston

Utah State Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (3-1)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (3-1)
Nov. 5 271. Montana State USU 101-71 (@)
Nov. 8 174. Weber State USU 76-67 (N)
Nov. 12 256. Denver
Nov. 15 331. North Carolina A&T Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic
Nov. 18 195. UTSA
Nov. 22 50. LSU Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic (Montego Bay, Jamaica)
Nov. 24 220. North Texas Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic (Montego Bay, Jamaica)
Nov. 29 18. Saint Mary's USU 80-63 (N)
Dec. 14 70. BYU Beehive Classic (Salt Lake City, Utah) BYU 95-80 (@)
Dec. 18 214. South Florida The Battleground 2K19 (Houston, Texas)
Dec. 21 15. Florida Orange Bowl Classic (Sunrise, Fla.)

Craig Smith’s Aggies will look to build upon an impressive 2018-19 season that saw them share the Mountain West regular-season crown with Nevada and win the conference tournament title. This fall, Utah State will face a rather unique schedule in that they’ll play all of their non-league home games in a two-week span before playing five neutral-site contests and a true road game against Saint Mary’s. Note, however, that the Mountain West will play a pair of conference games in December since the conference tournament will be a week earlier than normal this season. That means the Aggies will play one home game during the final month of the calendar year. The neutral-site contests are all over the map rankings wise, with the two SEC matchups appearing to be the best by far. But Utah State’s Beehive Classic opponent, BYU, has NCAA aspirations too, as might both North Texas and a South Florida squad that should finish far higher than 214th in the country. It’s just too bad Smith’s squad doesn’t get to play Rhode Island in the Jamaica event.

130. Harvard Crimson

*MTE: Orlando Invitational

Home Games (5) Neutral-Site Games (4) Road Games (6)
Home Games (5) Neutral-Site Games (4) Road Games (6)
103. UC Irvine 55. Buffalo$ 102. Northeastern
206. UMass 51. Texas A&M* 105. San Francisco
251. Siena 24. Maryland or 162. California
341. Maine 88. Temple* 202. George Washington
(Non-D1) MIT 33. Marquette/ 274. Holy Cross
59. USC/ 335. Howard
68. Davidson/
254. Fairfield*
$ - Toronto, Ont.

Harvard Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (4-3)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (4-3)
Nov. 5 (Non-D1) MIT HU 78-66 (H)
Nov. 8 102. Northeastern NU 81-71 (H)
Nov. 10 341. Maine
Nov. 14 251. Siena SC 67064 (@)
Nov. 16 55. Buffalo James Naismith Classic (Toronto, Ont., Canada)
Nov. 22 274. Holy Cross HU 73-62 (H)
Nov. 28 51. Texas A&M 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. 7 206. UMass
Dec. 21 202. George Washington HU 75-61 (H)
Dec. 22 335. Howard Harv 84-71 (@)
Dec. 29 162. California
Dec. 30 105. San Francisco USF 61-57 (@)
Jan. 4 103. UC Irvine

With the last two Ivy NCAA representatives, Penn and Yale, expected to challenge the Crimson for the title in 2019-20, there’s some optimism that the dream of a #2BidIvy could become reality this March. Unfortunately, it may be up to the Quakers and Bulldogs to earn that surprise at-large, as there’s not much on Harvard’s schedule that will make the Selection Committee pay attention. Meanwhile, Penn has the Big 5 to go with the Wooden Legacy, while Yale has four power conference road games on its slate. Tommy Amaker’s club will basically have to win the Orlando Invitational and hope for the best to secure a bid provided they don’t win Ivy Madness. For the record, that event will be on the Crimson’s home floor this Selection weekend.

154. Dayton Flyers

*MTE: Maui Jim Maui Invitational

Home Games (8) Neutral-Site Games (5)
Home Games (8) Neutral-Site Games (5)
164. Drake 18. Saint Mary's#
175. Indiana State 74. Colorado$
198. Omaha 77. Georgia*
220. North Texas 5. Michigan State or
224. North Florida 19. Virginia Tech*
245. Charleston Southern* 10. Kansas/
309. Houston Baptist 52. UCLA/
314. Grambling State 70. BYU/
(Non-D1) Chaminade*
# - Phoenix
$ - Chicago

Dayton Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (1-1)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (1-1)
Nov. 9 175. Indiana State
Nov. 16 245. Charleston Southern Maui Jim Maui Invitational
Nov. 19 198. Omaha
Nov. 25 77. Georgia 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. 3 309. Houston Baptist
Dec. 8 18. Saint Mary's Jerry Colangelo Classic (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Dec. 14 164. Drake
Dec. 17 220. North Texas
Dec. 21 74. Colorado Chicago Legends (Chicago) CU 78-73 (@) (NIT)
Dec. 23 314. Grambling State
Dec. 30 224. North Florida UD 78-70 (H)

Anthony Grant got the Flyers into the NIT in his second season, and while he hopes to get Dayton back to the NCAAs for the first time since 2017, this schedule might not help all that much. That’s because, like so many other teams in this post, Dayton struggled to get decent home games, as every single opponent ranks worse than 150th in the four-year ranking. That means the Flyers will need to do well in their five neutral-site games. While the Maui Invitational field looks loaded, only Michigan State and Kansas look like surefire top-tier win opportunities. It’s a good thing Grant’s squad plays both Saint Mary’s and the Colorado team that knocked it out of the NIT too, but the Flyers might need wins in both of those contests as they head into A 10 play.

155. Buffalo Bulls

*MTE: Charleston Classic

Home Games (7) Neutral-Site Games (4) Road Games (2)
Home Games (7) Neutral-Site Games (4) Road Games (2)
90. St. Bonaventure 126. Harvard$ 87. Vanderbilt
165. William & Mary 104. UConn* 120. DePaul
212. Canisius 31. Xavier or
263. Army West Point 196. Towson*
277. Dartmouth 15. Florida/
285. Niagara 44. Miami (Fla.)/
(Non-D1) Nazareth* 136. Saint Joseph's/
149. Missouri State*
$ - Toronto, Ont.

Buffalo Chronological

Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (3-0)
Date (Rank) Opponent Event/Venue 2018-19 Meeting (3-0)
Nov. 8 277. Dartmouth UB 110-71 (H)
Nov. 11 (Non-D1) Nazareth Charleston Classic
Nov. 16 126. Harvard James Naismith Classic (Toronto, Ont., Canada)
Nov. 21 104. UConn Charleston Classic (Charleston, S.C.)
Nov. 22 31. Xavier or 196. Towson Charleston Classic (Charleston, S.C.)
Nov. 24 15. Florida/44. Miami (Fla.)/ 136. Saint Joseph's/ 149. Missouri State Charleston Classic (Charleston, S.C.)
Nov. 30 165. William & Mary
Dec. 3 87. Vanderbilt
Dec. 8 120. DePaul Minnesota MTE (waiver)
Dec. 14 263. Army West Point
Dec. 18 212. Canisius UB 87-72 (@)
Dec. 21 285. Niagara
Dec. 30 90. St. Bonaventure UB 80-62 (H@

After racking up 59 wins, including a pair of NCAA Tournament victories, Nate Oats departed Western New York for Alabama this offseason, so it’s up to Jim Whitesell, last seen at Loyola Chicago in 2011, to keep things rolling for the Bulls. While Buffalo would have undoubtedly earned an at-large had it not won the MAC’s auto bid, this year’s squad will have an uphill climb due to this schedule. Vanderbilt and DePaul don’t quite compare to the Syracuse, Marquette, and West Virginia squads the Bulls played on the road last year (even if the Mountaineers were down). So, Buffalo’s best chances at earning quality wins will come in the Charleston Classic, where Whitesell’s club will open with UConn. Win that and maybe matchups with Xavier and Florida will follow. A Naismith Classic matchup with Harvard in Toronto could also be significant for both participants.

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