Who should the basketball team play out of conference?
One of the minor controversies to come out of the Basketball team's media day was the break in our series with UMass. As Donahue explained, there is only so much room on our schedule and there wasn't much demand. I actually agree with him and would place UMass relatively low on our non-conference slate. The NCAA limits basketball teams to 27 to 29 regular season games (depending on the number of games in their preseason tournaments). With the preseason tournaments, schedules are designed to max out at 31 games. The ACC has 18 regular season games. We also will play in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge most years. A preseason tournament also account for three games. That leaves BC with between five and seven non-conference games a year. There is not that much room. With those factors, this is how I would rank in importance our non-conference foes.
1. Providence. Long running rival. Close game. Playing a Big East team helps our RPI.
2. Holy Cross. Another long-time rival. Our athletic history is so muddled at this point, I think it is important to play Holy Cross in at least one sport that means a lot to both schools.
3. One game against a team from a BCS conference. Even with the Big Ten game and the Providence game, we will always need a game against a major program to help our ratings. This year's example is Auburn. In most years I would prefer a West Coast team so that our fans in California could see the team in person.
4. Harvard, BU or Northeastern. I think a Basketball Beanpot is a little premature, but we should play at least one of these teams annually. Ideally we would rotate through them on a three year basis. Proximity and travel cost alone justify these teams. In most years we will win.
5. One game in the New York area. As you saw from the Army game, our fans in the Tri-State area will come out to support the team if they are close. Ideally this would be a Big East team, but I understand if playing two Big East teams annually would be too much. Fordham, Army, Fairfield, Manhattan, and Hofstra all jump out as good targets for short series.
6. UMass. There is history and in most years they will be a respectable opponent. But now that we are playing them in football, I don't think it is as important to play them in hoops annually.
7. Other New England schools. On years where we have openings, we should look regionally. It makes sense financially and athletically. Byrant, UNH and Dartmouth are perfect examples from this year's schedule.