"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Friday, June 24, 2011

2011-12 Non-Conference Schedule Update

A little over a month ago, I took an in-depth look at Marquette's 2011-12 non-conference schedule. At the time, there were rumors of Florida Atlantic being the final opponent for Marquette's non-conference slate, but it looks like they decided to play West Virginia instead. Seemingly undaunted, Mike Broeker and company went out and made arrangements to face another school from the state of Florida, the Jacksonville Dolphins. While this is a far cry from the 1970 Jacksonville team that made it all the way to the NCAA finals behind Artis Gilmore before falling to UCLA, they did still beat the Florida Gators in Gainesville last year and aren't a team to be taken lightly. Before taking a look at Jacksonville, here's a reminder of the rest of Marquette's non-conference schedule for 2011-12:

11/14 Norfolk State (H)
11/19 Winthrop (N)
11/20 or 21 Mississippi/Drake (N)
11/22 Virginia/TCU/Norfolk State/Drexel (N)
12/6 Washington (N)
12/10 UW-Green Bay (H)
12/19 LSU (A)

TBD Vanderbilt (H)
TBD Wisconsin (A)
TBD UW-Milwaukee (H)
TBD Jacksonville (H)
TBD Mount St. Mary's (H)
TBD Northern Colorado (H)

If history holds up, I'd guess that Vandy will be played the last week of December, Wisconsin will be played December 3 (always a Saturday in December), and we'll open on Friday, November 11 against Jacksonville, Mount St. Mary's, or Northern Colorado. Here's a look at our last non-conference opponent for next year:

Jacksonville (Home, Mid-Major)
Last Year's RPI: 142
Three-Year RPI Average: 148.7
Key Returning Players: G Russell Powell (Jr), F Delwan Graham (Sr), G Keith McDougald (So)
Key Losses: G Travis Cohn, G Ayron Hardy
Expected RPI: 200

The Dolphins lose their top two scorers and will need Graham and McDougald to step it up in the scoring department. LSU transfer Graham was the man who scored the winning bucket against Florida last year, while McDougald poured in a career-high 18 points in the same game. Starting point guard Russell Powell will be counted on to control the offense, and the Dolphins return 8 players that posted 9+ mpg last year, so there's plenty of depth on the team. While they may experience a drop-off without Cohn and Hardy, this team will still be in the top half of the Atlantic Sun and shouldn't suffer too severe of an RPI drop. If McDougald and highly-rated sophomore big man Keion Palmer can post bit improvements, the Dolphins could be a top-150 RPI team again.

And there you have it, the final non-conference opponent for Marquette in 2011-12. Looking at the schedule, Marquette stands to have a huge boost in RPI and SOS next season. Based on last year, the average RPI of the 13 teams we should face (assuming best possible opponents in the Paradise Jam) is 136.5. By contrast, the average of our 13 non-conference opponents last year was 176. Even more important, this year we feature only one team with an RPI of 250 or worse in Norfolk State. Last year Marquette played six such opponents. This is a great bit of scheduling and exactly the kind of work that needed to be done to ensure Marquette get the highest seed possible in the 2011-12 NCAA tournament.

1 comment:

Padre Joe said...

Mt St Marys is where I went to seminary! Absolutely, positively need to see this massacre in person