Details will continue to be worked out through the spring and early summer, but the non-conference schedule for the Washington Men’s Basketball Team is beginning to take shape. Below is a list of what we know so far is happening with the non-conference schedule in terms of opponents and potential dates. One thing I notice right away is that it is heavy on canine mascots! Included is the 2011-2012 record and RPI for each team, plus any additional notes of interest.
November 11th- Loyola (MD) Greyhounds (24-9 overall, 13-9 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, RPI: 78) at Alaska Airlines Arena
Notes- Made NCAA tournament last year as #15 seed losing to #2 Ohio State
November 13th- Albany Great Danes (19-14 overall, 10-8 in American East, RPI: 212) at Alaska Airlines Arena
Notes- Averaged 71.1 ppg last year good for 78th in the country in scoring.
Naismith Hall of Fame Tip-off Classic
At Mohegan Sun in Connecticut
November 17th- Seton Hall Pirates (21-13 overall, 8-10 in Big East, RPI: 68)
Notes- As a #1 seed, lost to #5 seed UMass in the 2nd round of the NIT
November 18th- Either Ohio State Buckeyes (31-8 overall, 13-5 in Big Ten, RPI: 7)
Notes- Made the Final Four, losing to Kansas in national semi-final after blowing a 9-point second half lead
Rhode Island Rams (7-24 overall, 4-12 in Atlantic 10, RPI: 256) at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut
Notes- Ranked 315th in the nation in field goal percentage
Date TBA- Saint Louis Billikens (26-8 overall, 12-4 in Atlantic 10, RPI: 31) at Alaska Airlines Arena
Notes- Lost a tight one to #1 seed Michigan State in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament. Rick Majerus may not return.
Date TBA- Nevada Wolfpack (28-7 overall, 13-1 in WAC, RPI: 67) at Alaska Airlines Arena
Notes- Lost to eventual NIT champion Stanford in the 3rd round of the NIT. They begin play in the Mountain West Conference this year.
Tentatively; December 29th- at UConn Huskies (20-14 overall, 8-10 in Big East, RPI: 32) in Storrs, CT
Notes- Will not be eligible for post-season play in 2013. Already lost Alex Oriakhi to transfer
Date TBA- at Seattle University Redhawks (12-15 overall, RPI: 278) at Key Arena
Notes- This will be the first season for SU in the newly salvaged WAC.
So, as of this point, the Huskies have eight non-conference games scheduled or soon-to-be finalized. Since most Pac-12 teams play 12 non-conference games, the Huskies appear to have four spots open left to fill. Jim Shaw is primarily responsible for scheduling. It seems almost certain that those remaining four games will all be home games at Hec Ed and probably against fairly weak competition. The Huskies already have two true road games (UConn and Seattle U), plus two neutral site games that will possibly seem like road games. Seton Hall is from New Jersey, so you can expect a sizable contingent of Big East fans in Connecticut for that one. In addition, Rhode Island is just a few miles away from the Mohegan Sun, should UW play the Rams.
With those four road games and possibly some tough competition at home in the form of St. Louis and Nevada, you better believe the Huskies will want some pansies to practice against to fill out the rest of the schedule. Based on tradition, look for at least one team from California (either Big West or WCC) to come up to Seattle, as well as, probably one Pacific Northwest team in the style of Eastern Washington, Montana State, Portland State, or Idaho. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Cal Poly come up, with long-time former Seattle U coach Joe Callero making a return trip home. In addition, the Huskies always bring in at least one team with an African-American coach from a low-to-mid major, so don’t be surprised to see a SWAC or MEAC team show up as well. He does that to help out fellow coaches as part of his affiliation with the Black Coaches Association.
One thing that stands out to me is that if the schedule stays the way it looks currently, the Huskies will have two trips all the way to Connecticut in the same season, one month apart. In addition, December 29th is also usually very near the first day of Pac-12 play. So, unless the Huskies will be facing Washington State earlier that week (thus having a window for another game), or the Pac-12 begins play a week later than it has the last several seasons, then that date for the UConn game seems a bit problematic. I am wondering if UW will try to reschedule that UConn game to more closely coincide with the Tip-off Classic. Anyways, as more dates and opponents are added to the schedule, I’ll keep you updated.