Over the past week or so the 2016-17 basketball schedules for Louisville, Kentucky and Indiana were released and after taking a look they reminded me of the children’s story, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. You remember the story, the one where that spoiled brat Goldilocks breaks into the house, trashes furniture, steals food, and passes out. Yep, that one. You probably remember Goldilocks always tries out three items. One is too hard, one is too soft and one falls in the middle being just right and these three schedules fall into one of those categories.
Today on KSR, Matt Jones was making fun of Ricky P’s comments about Louisville’s though schedule. Now, I usually jump on every chance to make fun of the #BirdGang coach but I have to say, UofL’s schedule this year is a bitch.
Let’s take a look at the three non-conference schedules. Games are ranked using last years final KenPom standings. I know it is not perfect but for the most part it will give us a sense of how tough the schedules will be this year.
Kentucky and Louisville both play tough non-conference schedules unlike the Hoosiers who play no one after their top four games. For the love of God, UofL’s worst game, Eastern Kentucky, would be Indiana’s sixth toughest game. Let’s remember there are only 351 Division I basketball teams and IU plays three of the worst 11 teams in the country. Hell, IU plays three schools I didn’t know existed and had to look up to make sure it wasn’t a typo.
Now, I must say I am making the assumption UofL will play Wichita St. and Michigan St. in the Bahamas. Worst case scenario would have the Cards playing LSU and St. Johns making their total 1329 instead of 1028 and the average 102 from 79.
I can hear all of #HoosierNation right now. But the BIG10 is so tough it makes up for it and UK gets to play in the SEC. OK, let’s take a look.
As expected, the ACC is heads above the SEC and BIG10. The interesting thing and something that surprised me was Kentucky’s SEC schedule ranks slightly tougher than Indiana’s BIG10 schedule. Let’s take a live look at Bloomington…
Hey, like I said, I was surprised too. It comes down to the bottom of the BIG10 is worse than the bottom of the SEC or at least last year it was.
So overall what do the schedules look like?
Louisville Cardinals – Now maybe they are trying to make up for the soft schedule while they played in the AAC but this is probably over doing it. There is only one gimme on the schedule and that is probably Boston College. There are many games they should win but teams like EKU will be ready, willing and possibly able to knock off the Cardinals who like Indiana will need to find a clutch player to carry them in the final minutes of games with the departure of Lee and Lewis.
Indiana Hoosiers – The BIG10 is very solid for sure and is always a tough conference to win on the road but where IU fails is in their non-conference schedule. UNC, Kansas, Louisville and Butler are great games but there is no middle ground. 8 of the 13 games are against teams outside the top 200. Teams that have to put directions to their gyms in the school’s name so you know where they are. There are plenty of schools around the area that would love to play IU and be able to give a better game than the five teams outside the top 300.
Kentucky Wildcats – Cal has been able to find a nice grove when it comes to balancing the schedule. Front loaded huge games have become expected but like UofL this year Kentucky plays many solid mid-major schools to round out the non-conference schedule. Cal has said in the past they try to find smaller schools that have a chance to win their conference and will in turn help UK’s RPI instead of being an albatross around their neck.
I know we are only two weeks into the college football schedule but Midnight Madness is less than a month away and college basketball will be here before you know it.