Schedule Retrospective

Colonials basketball fans seem to agree on two things: our team will be very good this year and we have a terrible schedule. Inspired by the research “angry fan” posted in the comments section, I decided to do a little digging about how, using rpiratings.com, our schedule compares to last year’s.

2005-2006 Out-of-Conference schedule (Using 2004 RPI numbers as researched by Angry Fan):

Kennesaw State RPI: NA
Norfolk State RPI: 270
St. Francis (Penn.) RPI: 203
Boston University RPI: 84
Maryland RPI: 52
Florida International RPI: 177
Morgan State RPI: 271
University of Maryland-Eastern Shore RPI: 330
North Carolina State RPI: 63
Marshall RPI: 235
Stony Brook University RPI: 234

RPI Average: 192

Now lets look at our Out of Conference Schedule from 2004-2005 using 2004 RPI numbers:

Wake Forest RPI: 8
Morgan State RPI: 250
Fairfield RPI: 167
Mount Saint Mary’s RPI: 314
Maryland RPI: 52
Michigan State RPI: 12
St. Francis RPI: 196
Towson RPI: 303
Florida International RPI: 168
West Virginia RPI: 29

Average RPI: 150

While there is a 42-point discrepency between the two, it can be easily explained away. The Wake Forest game came from GW’s participation in the preseason NIT – an exempt tournament GW can only play in two-times every four years. The Maryland and Michigan State games came from the BB&T Classic which has been re-tooled from a two-day tournament to a one-day event. West Virginia was a payback game for their participation in the 2003 BB&T Classic. This year, GW’s only two high-profile games come against NC State and Maryland. While the 42-point swing is significant, it is hardly the difference between and NCAA tournament bid and a trip to the NIT.

Given that there is no payback game for last year’s BB&T Classic with Michigan State and no participation in an extempt-status tournament, fans legitimately quesiton why there wasn’t a more concerted effort to schedle higher profile games. From converstaions I’ve had with members of the GW Athletic Department, the answer seems to lie in their perception of a stronger in-conference schedule.

Let’s take a look the RPI of our Atlantic 10 opponents from last year:

Dayton RPI: 122 (x2)
Xavier RPI: 134 (x2)
St. Joes RPI: 36
Fordham RPI: 203
UMass RPI: 135
Rhode Island RPI: 306
Duquesne RPI: 276 (x2)
St. Bonaventure RPI: 319
La Salle RPI: 225
Temple RPI: 105
Richmond RPI: 162 (x2)

Average RPI: 183

By all accounts, the Atlantic 10 was incredibly weak last year. Traditional conference powerhouses Xavier, Dayton, St. Joe’s and Richmond all lost top talent to either graduation or the NBA. Accordingly, many underclassmen were playing prominent roles for which they were not necessarily prepared. This year, some of the conferences traditionally weaker programs such as Fordham, URI and La Salle are set for major improvements. Traditional powerhouses such as Dayton and Xavier return virtually all their starters from a year ago and will be very good. Temple has one of the country’s best players in Mardy Collins. St. Joes, despite losing Dwayne Jones and Pat Carroll, always find a way to be competitive. Add in conference newcomer Charlotte, whose RPI last year was 42 and who GW plays twice this year, and GW is set for a very difficult in-conference schedule.

I do agree that our OOC schedule is very soft. But we should not decry the Athletic department and Coach Hobbs for destroying our chances to make the tournament just yet.

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