OK, sure, it doesn’t start until November, but we can still look ahead to the schedule, right?
We start out with some easy home games (including the 3-game BTI Tournament in our own arena), then we host Houston Baptist sandwiched around a couple of road games against mid-majors Saint Louis & Nevada. You like to see games where you can pad your non-conference win total; and on the same hand you like to see winnable road games, because anytime you go on the road it’s not going to be a cakewalk.
The real challenge hits in the beginning of December where we’ve got the Jimmy V Classic in New York City. We get a warm-up game against Marquette, who always seems to be good; then we play the big, bad Duke Blue Devils. Two nationally-televised games against two top programs: what better way to announce to the country that you, too, are a top program? We’ve come a long way under Lorenzo Romar’s tenure, and it shows by the type of talented teams we can schedule in our non-conference games. Last year, we had Michigan State and Kentucky, but I would argue the coup that is getting Duke on your schedule is HUGE.
And just imagine what it would do for our season if we won.
It’s exciting to play teams you never get to see; it’s ESPECIALLY exciting to play teams who are contenders for the national championship year-in and year-out.
Looking ahead, it looks like we might get a bit of a soft-landing in our conference schedule. The first weekend, we host the Oregon schools. The Ducks will probably be better than they were last year, but I don’t think they’ll be at that elite level in 2011-12. Either way, getting them early at home is nice. Then, we head on the road to Colorado & Utah, who should both be pushovers. After THAT, it’s two straight weeks at home against Wazzu and the Bay Area schools.
It’s not until the last weekend in January when we go to Arizona where we’ll face the cream of the Pac-12 crop. Immediately following, we host the L.A. schools, go to Oregon, back home for Arizona, and then on the road to close it out with Wazzo and the L.A. schools again.
I don’t know how good the Huskies will be this year – if I had to venture a guess, I’d say we’ll be wildly inconsistent, living and dying by the jumper – but with a schedule like this it would be to our great benefit to be a winning team. If we surpass the 20-win barrier, I’d say we’ll be a lock for the NCAA Tournament.