Basketball Schedule Has Right Mix For Building

IUPUI? Howard? IPFW? As Butch Cassidy might say, "Who ARE those guys?"

While West Virginia doesn't have a lot in terms of non-conference power coming to the Coliseum this season, Mountaineer fans who are looking for a steady diet of Tennessees on the non-conference home schedule shouldn't be disappointed.

The just announced 27 game schedule features just the right combination of great teams, mid-major challengers, and yes, hopefully, a couple of easy wins, to keep the rebuilding of Mountaineer basketball on track.

After last year's encouraging 14 win season, the last thing anyone should want is a string of discouraging December losses, especially at home, before the rugged Big East conference schedule sets in. And although there is something to be said for playing the best teams, there's also much to favor with a schedule that doesn't leave the Mountaineers below water at the change of the year.

Additionally, it's not like WVU isn't playing anyone at all - it's just that they won't be seeing them in the Coliseum. The Mountaineers will face either Gonzaga or Maryland (and possibly both) in D.C., revenge-minded Florida in Miami and St. Louis in Charleston. Those four teams will definitely help WVU's RPI and provide stiff tests away from home.

And of course, the Big East itself will present an additional challenge this year, as every team in the conference will play every other opponent at least once. WVU won't get by without facing UConn or St. John's this year, as they have in seasons past. WVU travels to UConn, Notre Dame, St. John's and Villanova, and has a great home schedule, with games against Syracuse, Pitt, Georgetown, St. John's and Boston College, among others.

WVU also got something of a break in their home and home series with three Big East schools. The Mountaineers get struggling Virginia Tech for two games, and while St. John's and Villanova are very good, they aren't quite on the level of Syracuse, Notre Dame or Pitt.

Overall, even though the non-conference home schedule might not have a load of "name" teams, WVU's schedule appears to be a good one, from both a quality and a competition standpoint. Over the next few seasons, some of those lesser-known teams will be replaced by more popular foes, but for this season West Virginia's schedule looks to be a pretty good fit.

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