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Thursday, August 02, 2007

From the Louisville Courier Journal "It's Basketball Scheduling Season"
The Courier Journal, Louisville, Kentucky

It's basketball scheduling season
If you want to e-mail me, I welcome the correspondence.

If you want to e-mail me just to ask if I’ve seen Florida’s basketball schedule, I can save you the keystrokes.

Yes, I’ve seen it.

No, it’s not impressive.

And no, seeing it wouldn’t have changed how I wrote my story earlier this week about the University of Kentucky’s schedule.

I still feel the same about UK’s after having seen Florida’s: That it’s a balance between pretty good teams and pretty bad ones, and that the bad ones are maybe a little worse than they’ve been in recent years.

(Frankly, I don’t agree with e-mailers who’ve said Sunday’s story was too harsh on UK. It’s not as if I wrote that Billy Gillispie has gone out of his way to soften the schedule. Other than dropping UMass in exchange for a game against Texas Southern, I don’t think UK’s is a bad one, given that I expect Louisville, North Carolina and Indiana to be Top 10-caliber teams. And that’s to say nothing of potential opponent Memphis, the likely preseason No. 1.)

For comparison’s sake, though, you should take a peek at Florida’s. As another writer said to me, this explains how Florida can win national titles and not sell out home games.

Florida’s non-con home schedule consists of North Dakota State, Tennessee Tech, UNC-Central, Rutgers, North Florida, Florida State, Stetson, Jacksonville, Florida A&M, Charleston Southern and High Point.

The Gators play three other games at “neutral” sites in Florida: Vermont in Tampa, Georgia Southern in Jacksonville and Temple in Sunrise.

There’s also one road game against Ohio State that, along with Florida State, gives the Gators two pretty appealing games.

If you want to see a dynamite non-con schedule, check out Memphis’. The Tigers can afford to go heavy early, since it’s smooth sailing in Conference USA, and John Calipari certainly is taking advantage.

Besides likely playing two of UK/Connecticut/Oklahoma in New York City at the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic, the Tigers also will face Southern Cal in Madison Square Garden. Memphis has home games against Georgetown, Arizona, Gonzaga and Tennessee and a road game at Cincinnati.

Memphis’ schedule isn’t the norm, though.

Even Michigan State, once the kind of powerhouse nonconference schedules, has scaled back in recent years. Not that the Spartans are fleeing from good competition. They’ll play North Carolina State and Texas this season; they’re in the CBE Classic with Missouri, Maryland and UCLA; and a road game at Bradley is no pushover.

Tomorrow, I promise, we'll deal with football in this space, as we should in August.

Posted by Brett Dawson at 6:31 PM

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