Now that the Big East schedule is out, there has been a flurry of commentary about how brutal MU's schedule will be. There is a certain amount of truth to that--EVERY team in the Big East plays a brutal schedule. The more relevant question is whether the schedule provides any advantage or disadvantage in getting to the 12 to13 wins that will likely be necessary to secure a top four finish and two-round bye in the newly revamped Big East Tournament.
In this light, I believe MU has a very favorable schedule.
The conventional wisdom is that you want your tough games at home--thus, when three of four toughest games--Pitt, UL and ND--are scheduled on the road, it leads to concern about the schedule being too difficult. However, if Pitt, ND and UL are truly top 10 teams, then they would be a tough win even if we played the games at home.
The ideal schedule would put both the easiest and most difficult games on the road, and the most competitive games at home. The logic is that you're more likely to lose some of the tough games anyway and win the easy ones anyway regardless of venue. Home court advantage is wasted on the easiest and most difficult games. Where the home court advantage comes into plays is with the toss-ups.
- Top Quartile: @UL, @Pitt, @ND, UConn
- 2nd Quartile (MU in this group): Syracuse, WVU, Georgetown @Georgetown
- 3rd Quartile: VU, @VU, UC, SHU, @Rutgers
- Bottom Quartile: Depaul, @Depaul, @USF, @PC, St. Johns.
Now, no road game is a gimme--but I like our chances of winning at Providence and Rutgers a whole lot more than games at Syracuse and WVU.
I think this is a decent schedule--8 of 9 home games are winnable given our home court advantage--most of our home games are against teams that are equal or below our level. On the road, if we can take care of business against PC, Depaul, Rutgers and USF, take one of the other two mirror games, and steal one from ND/Pitt/UL, we'll be at 13 wins, which should put us in the hunt for a double-bye in the BET.