"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

Thursday, December 01, 2011

November Non-Conference Report

I've written a few times about Marquette's efforts to improve their strength of schedule and RPI for the 2011-12 season by playing a higher level of competition in the non-conference. Every month, I'm going to keep tabs on how our non-conference opponents have been performing. Let's take a look at November.

November W-LCurrent RPIProjected RPIkenpom RatingBest WinWorst Loss
Mt St Mary's1-4263207277340 Hartford263 Navy
Norfolk St3-22021019870 Drexel10 Marquette
Winthrop0-5291288256(None)238 E Kent
Mississippi5-133477343 Miami10 Marquette
Norfolk St3-22021019870 Drexel10 Marquette
Jacksonville2-4182152186273 Samford265 Sav St
Wisconsin6-13711330 BYU5 UNC
Washington4-1571744122 Georgia St25 St Louis
Green Bay1-489176180187 Wyoming108 ND State
N Colorado2-4128116183242 W Carolina187 Wyoming
LSU4-311719713888 GA Tech284 S. Alabama
Milwaukee4-1164137109177 IUPUI14 Michigan St
Vanderbilt5-221483962 NC State71 Cleveland St
Marquette6-06121073 Mississippi(None)

Mount St. Mary's -- A tough month for the Mountaineers, who played four of five on the road. Hopefully playing five home games in December will help them get on track before conference play.

Norfolk State -- The surprise boost for MU so far are the Spartans, who beat everyone they faced that didn't have "Marquette" on the front of the jerseys. We'll learn a lot more about NSU in December. They play seven games, including a solid mid-major in Long Island and another high-major at Virginia Tech.

Winthrop -- The Eagles look more like an albatross around the neck after going 0-5 in November. Things don't get easier in December, as they play on the road in their first six games and will be underdogs in all seven they play.

Mississippi -- The Rebels had a great November, going 5-1 with their only loss to Marquette. The highlights include wins over Drake and Miami. The Rebels will need to be road warriors in December, when they play five of seven games on the road.

Jacksonville -- The Dolphins' record isn't as bad as it looks, as three of their four losses came to teams in kenpom.com's top-20. The competition is easier in December, with only one top-20 opponent, but five of six are on the road.

Wisconsin -- The Badgers had a solid month, with their only loss coming at the Dean Dome. They have a tough December, starting with Marquette and including the other in-state foes and UNLV. They do play seven of eight in the state of Wisconsin, which makes another good month likely.

Washington -- The Huskies went 4-1 in November, winning the games they were supposed to and losing on the road to Rick Majerus' St. Louis squad. December will be a telling month for the Huskies, as they face six current top-100 foes, including Duke and Marquette at Madison Square Garden. Personally, I'm pulling for a 7-1 December, with that 1 being a loss to the Warriors.

UW-Green Bay -- The Phoenix played a brutal November schedule, going 1-4 in RPI games. All four losses came against top-100 opposition on the road. Hopefully they can build some December momentum against UIC and Loyola-Chicago at home before things get really tough on the road against Wisconsin and Marquette.

Northern Colorado -- The Bears finished with a couple wins to go 2-4 after a rocky start to November. December should be much more kind, as the Bears play only once on the road, against Marquette at the BC. If their late-November improvement is a sign of things to come, this could end up being a quality opponent for Marquette by the end of the year.

LSU -- The Tigers made little sense in November, losing to a bad Southern Alabama team at home but beating a good Georgia Tech team on a neutral court. After that first month, it's hard to say how they'll do in December, but they do play four of six at home, including Marquette.

UW-Milwaukee -- The Panthers had a great November, going 4-1 with their only loss coming on the road at Michigan State. December provides more challenges, including Bucky at home and Marquette on the road, but just as many chances for Rob Jeter's club to add some wins.

Vanderbilt -- The Commodores are struggling without Festus Ezeli, having dropped two home games. They have two more chances at a signature non-conference win, first at Louisville on Friday and then at the end of December at Marquette. Vandy could be a very hungry team by the end of December, and with Ezeli expected to be back, should be more dangerous when Marquette sees them.

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