Analyzing the non-conference basketball schedules

InsideTheSpartans.com takes a deeper look at the San Jose State men's and women's basketball non-conference schedules.

This month, San Jose State’s basketball teams released their full schedules for the coming season. Men’s basketball will play 11 non-conference and 18 Mountain West Conference games, while the women’s basketball team has 12 non-conference and 18 conference games scheduled. While the men’s basketball team, coming off a 9-22 season, has built a favorable non-conference slate of opponents, the women’s basketball team again has a challenging non-conference schedule following a fourth-place finish in the MW.

Breakdown: The men’s basketball non-conference schedule

Note: RPI is only listed for Division I teams.

Date

Opponent

2015-16 results

2015-16 RPI (source)

Nov. 12

West Coast Baptist

N/A

N/A

Nov. 15

Portland

12-20 (6-12 WCC)

#249

Nov. 17

Denver

16-15 (7-9 Summit)

#193

Nov. 22

@ Saint Mary’s

29-6 (15-3 WCC)

  • WCC regular season champion and tournament runner-up

  • NIT third round

#38

Nov. 27

@ Washington State

9-22 (1-17 Pac-12)

#213

Nov. 29

@ Idaho

21-13 (12-6 Big Sky)

  • CBI first round

#189

Dec. 3

Santa Clara

11-20 (7-11 WCC)

#251

Dec. 7

@ Montana

21-12 (14-4 Big Sky)

  • Big Sky Tournament runner-up

  • CBI first round

#144

Dec. 10

Life Pacific

7-18 (3-6 PCAC)

N/A

Dec. 18

Bowling Green

16-18 (5-13 MAC)

#200

Dec. 21

Southern Utah

6-24 (3-15 Big Sky)

#336

Total W-L (Div. I teams only):

141-150 (.485)

Average RPI:

201.4

 

In contrast, here are the average RPI and combined win-loss record of San Jose State’s 2015-16 non-conference opponents, again using 2015-16 RPI rankings. San Jose State had a year-end RPI of #301.

 

Opponent

Results

RPI

Idaho

21-13 (12-6 Big Sky)

  • CBI first round

#189

Montana

21-12 (14-4 Big Sky)

  • Big Sky Tournament runner-up

  • CBI first round

#144

Montana State

14-17 (9-9 Big Sky)

#260

Toledo

17-15 (8-10 MAC)

#181

San Diego

9-21 (4-14 WCC)

#302

Santa Clara

11-20 (7-11 WCC)

#251

Marquette

20-13 (8-10 Big East)

#111

Seattle

15-17 (7-7 WAC)

  • CBI second round

#287

Total W-L:

128-128 (.500)

Average RPI:

215.6

 

In contrast, the 2014-15 opponents had an average RPI of 176.4, and the 2013-14 opponents had an average RPI 202.5.

 

Here are the opponents by RPI range, again citing 2015-16 RPI rankings.

RPI range

Number of opponents, 2015-16

Number of opponents, 2016-17

1-50

0

1

51-100

0

0

101-150

2

1

151-200

2

3

201-250

0

2

251-300

3

1

301 and below

1

1

 

In contrast to last season when opponents with RPI’s ranging from #251 to #300 had the greatest distribution, this  year’s greatest distribution of opponents have RPI’s ranging from #151 to 200. Unlike last season, San Jose State will face a team in the top 100 of RPI’s.

 

Breakdown: The women’s basketball non-conference schedule

Date

Opponent

2015-16 results

2015-16 RPI (source)

Nov. 11

@ New Mexico State

26-5 (13-1 WAC)

  • WAC regular season and tournament champions

  • NCAA Tournament first round

#105

Nov. 13

@ Arizona State

26-7 (16-2 Pac-12)

  • Pac-12 regular season co-champion

  • NCAA Tournament second round

  • Ranked #11 in final AP and USA Today polls

#11

Nov. 18

Pacific

13-17 (6-12 WCC)

#179

Nov. 20

Santa Clara

23-9 (13-5 WCC)

  • WNIT first round

#63

Nov. 25

@ Hawaii

21-11 (12-4 Big West)

  • Big West Tournament champion

  • NCAA Tournament first round

#100

Nov. 26

[neutral] Mississippi State

28-8 (11-5 SEC)

  • SEC Tournament runner-up

  • NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

  • Ranked #15 in final AP poll

#24

Nov. 27

[neutral] Oregon

24-11 (9-9 Pac-12)

  • WNIT semifinals

#85

Dec. 3

Saint Mary’s

24-8 (14-4 WCC)

  • WNIT first round

#53

Dec. 6

San Francisco

21-12 (9-9 WCC)

  • WCC Tournament champion

  • NCAA Tournament first round

#72

Dec. 9

@ Nebraska

18-13 (9-9 Big 12)

  • WNIT first round

#93

Dec. 11

@ South Dakota

32-6 (15-1 Summit)

  • Summit League regular season champion and tournament runner-up

  • WNIT champion

#62

Dec. 18

Cal State Stanislaus

16-11 (12-8 CCAA)

N/A

Total W-L (Div. I teams only):

256-107 (.705)

Average RPI: 77

 

In contrast, here are the average RPI and combined win-loss record of San Jose State’s 2015-16 non-conference opponents, again using 2015-16 RPI rankings. San Jose State had a year-end RPI of #201.

Opponent

Results

RPI

Saint Mary’s

24-8 (14-4 WCC)

  • WNIT first round

#53

Cal State Bakersfield

12-19 (8-6 WAC)

#208

Washington State

14-16 (5-13 Pac-12)

#95

Oregon

24-11 (9-9 Pac-12)

  • WNIT semifinals

#85

San Francisco

21-12 (9-9 WCC)

  • WCC Tournament champion

  • NCAA Tournament first round

#72

South Dakota

32-6 (15-1 Summit)

  • Summit League regular season champion and tournament runner-up

  • WNIT champion

#62

Pacific

13-17 (6-12 WCC)

#179

New Mexico State

26-5 (13-1 WAC)

  • WAC regular season and tournament champions

  • NCAA Tournament first round

#105

UC Irvine

4-27 (1-15 Big West)

#336

Hawaii

21-11 (12-4 Big West)

  • Big West Tournament champion

  • NCAA Tournament first round

#100

Total W-L:

191-132 (.591)

Average RPI:

129.5

 

The average RPI of San Jose State’s non-conference opponents in 2014-15 was 176.3 and in 2013-14 was 189.5.

 

Here are the opponents by RPI range, again citing 2015-16 RPI rankings.

RPI range

Number of opponents, 2015-16

Number of opponents, 2016-17

1-50

0

2

51-100

6

7

101-150

1

1

151-200

1

1

201-250

1

0

251-300

0

0

301 and below

1

0

 

Analysis

 

For men’s basketball, a program with a large youth movement, it is important for the non-conference schedule to bring out the fullest potential in the players. Eleven of the 15 players are freshmen or sophomores. The team will play a full range of opponents, from a top-50 team in Saint Mary’s to teams in the 200 and 300 range to NAIA and NCCAA teams.

In an interview published on the Spartan Athletics YouTube channel, head coach Dave Wojcik expressed a desire to schedule stronger opponents. Putting Saint Mary’s on the schedule is a start. When the players in Wojcik’s latest two recruiting classes become stronger and more mature, maybe scheduling a “big paycheck” game at a Duke or Indiana type opponent will make more sense. Given that Wojcik has recruited players from Big Ten states like Indiana and Wisconsin, scheduling a game in Bloomington or Madison in the future isn’t out of the question.

On the women’s side, Craighead has built the strongest non-conference schedule in her four years here. Stacking the schedule full of teams that came off postseason tournaments reflect an expectation that San Jose State should aim to rise to their level. Already, playing a challenging out-of-conference schedule benefited the team in last year’s conference action, as San Jose State went 11-7 for its best conference record in a decade. Also, San Jose State will likely face two ranked out-of-conference opponents, something not done in at least a decade. The coming season will revolve around talented junior and senior players who have proverbially gone through the meat grinder over the past couple seasons, so fans can expect an improvement from last year’s 2-9 start.

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