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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Analyzing the hoops schedule

A brief interruption to all the football talk, as I go into complete basketball nerd mode.

Georgia’s men’s hoops team has released its nonconference schedule – and not the full one because the SEC will do so on its own.

The Bulldogs are entering a potentially big year, one in which their schedule will be key. They will start the season in some people’s top 25s, which means they should be contending for the NCAA tournament – which means, to get back to this paragraph’s first sentence, the schedule will be important.

RPI, strength of schedule, quality wins, those are all key ingredients in a team’s tournament resume’. Obviously there’s no way of predicting exactly how Georgia’s nonconference opponents will fare. But previous season’s RPI ranking can be a good start. Therefore, here’s Georgia’s opponent list, and their RPI ranking last season:

Nov. 12: vs. Mississippi Valley State (325)
Nov. 16: vs. Colorado (120)
Nov. 20: at St. Louis (87)
Old Spice Classic
Nov. 25: Notre Dame (49)
Nov. 26: Temple (8) or California (20)
Nov. 28: Boston College (125), Texas A&M (13), Wisconsin (21) or Manhattan (226)
Dec. 3: vs. UAB (45)
Dec. 7: at Georgia Tech (33)
Dec. 18: vs. Arkansas State (202)
Dec. 21: vs. High Point (254)
Dec. 23: at Mercer (221)
Dec. 28: vs. Charleston Southern (285)
Dec. 31: vs. Eastern Kentucky (155)
Feb. 8: vs. Xavier (19)

A few points:

- That’s a lot of quality opponents. Georgia will have a lot of games against top 50 and top 100 RPI teams, another key stat for the NCAA committee. Teams like UAB and Notre Dame don’t jump out at you, but if you beat them and they’re in the top 50 RPI, as they were last year, that’s a huge help to the resume’.

- The only drawback may be a lack of games against huge power teams – no Kansas, Duke, etc. – or any team expected to be in that class this season. But the Bulldogs could make up for that in conference this year, with Kentucky, Florida, and possibly the Mississippi schools or Tennessee.

- One factor that gets paid too little attention is the back-end teams: If you have too many games against very weak RPI teams (like Mississippi Valley State) then that brings your own RPI and SOS down. But a few games in there doesn’t hurt, and Georgia has it in moderation.

The overall verdict: A good schedule for a team expected to contend for an NCAA spot. Like I said, it’s hard to say for sure here in August, but at first glance if Georgia gets to the double-digit mark in nonconference, it should be in solid shape.


Greight said...

Xavier game should be a good one. I could honestly see us with only 2-3 non-conference losses. Very excited about basketball. Do you know how often the team is practicing?

Anonymous said...

No need to report this here - the Georgia Sports Blog covers all things basketball these days.

Anonymous said...

How many more teams are behind Ms. Valley? Jeez