Unlike college football, college basketball actually rewards difficult schedules. The NCAA Committee repeatedly states that RPI doesn’t play a major role in their decisions, and then they promptly put forth a field of 68 in which RPI is obviously the far most important determining factor. Of course, RPI is a lousy way of tracking individual team strength, but in composite rankings like SOS it does a fairly decent job. Still, we’re not dumb, so we’ll stick with Pomeroy unless we absolutely have to talk RPI.
And in that light, the University of Virginia’s schedules under coach Tony Bennett have been awful. You would think that at Virginia – a school of supposedly bright people – that someone would figure out that he’s harming his chances at the post-season.
Last year the Hoos home games included Michigan (scheduled by the conference for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge), George Mason, Wisconsin Green Bay (ranked No. 180 by Pomeroy), Winthrop (256th) and four schools ranked worse than 330th. Their road schedule was slightly better with trips to Oregon, Seattle and LSU. Overall, their non-conference strength-of-schedule was pegged by Pomeroy at 286th. The previous season? 291st. His first season? 218th.
Shaka Smart meanwhile – who lives up to his name – has had two straight years of top-50 non-conference SOS.
Today some news leaked that UVA’s schedule might be improving, and it’s right in line with VCU’s strategy.
— michael phillips (@michaelpRTD) May 18, 2012
If this is true, kudos to Tony Bennett and VCU head coach Shaka Smart for trying to make this happen. Since Virginia already has a home-and-home set up with George Mason, this would clearly demonstrate that – unlike many coaches – Tony Bennett isn’t opposed to scheduling good mid-majors from his own State.
Now, they just have to make it happen.