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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: How About Our Non-Conference Opponents?


A common theme that is spouted by fans often is that John Calipari has upgraded the non-conference schedule.  There is no doubt he has changed the way UK schedules in terms of neutral site games and dropping the Indiana series (and the UNC series for a time).  But the argument has always been that the big name opponents will always on the schedule, it’s the smaller school opponents that will improve.  The idea that the OVC and Patriot league teams will be the best from those leagues.  Gone are the days of 200+ RPI teams like under Gillispie.  In general, Calipari has accomplished this.

But what about this year?  Where do our non-conference opponents, not including Kansas because we haven’t played them, stacked up in their conferences so far?  Take a look at this breakdown:

Albany (14-4, 3-0 American East, 1st)
RPI: 84
Best Win: Yale (RPI: 81)
Worst Loss: South Florida (RPI: 246)

NJIT (9-8, 0-1 Atlantic Sun, T-5th)
RPI: 181
Best Win: St. Johns (RPI: 182)
Worst Loss: USC-Upstate (RPI: 250)

Duke (14-3, 3-1 ACC, T-4th)
RPI: 9
Best Win: Wake Forest (RPI: 51)
Worst Loss: Clemson (RPI: 138)

Wright State (8-8, 2-1 Horizon, 5th)
RPI: 155
Best Win: South Dakota (RPI: 149)
Worst Loss: CSU-Northridge (RPI: 260)

Boston U. (9-9, 2-3 Patriot, T-5th)
RPI: 223
Best Win: Albany (RPI: 84)
Worst Loss: Lehigh (RPI: 303)

South Florida (3-15, 0-5, 11th)
RPI: 246
Best Win: Albany (RPI: 84)
Worst Loss: Troy (RPI: 254)

Illinois St. (9-9, 3-2 Missouri Valley, 5th)
RPI: 143
Best Win: Murray St. (RPI: 176)
Worst Loss: TCU (RPI: 183)

UCLA (11-7, 2-3 Pac-12, 8th)
RPI: 48
Best Win: Kentucky (RPI: 12) *Arizona (RPI: 32)
Worst Loss: Washington St. (RPI: 147)

Eastern Kentucky (11-7, 2-1 OVC, T-4th)
RPI: 200
Best Win: Ball St. (RPI: 193)
Worst Loss: UT-Martin (RPI: 219)

Arizona St. (10-6, 0-3 Pac-12, 12th)
RPI: 44
Best Win: Texas A&M (RPI: 10)
Worst Loss: Sacramento St. (RPI: 266)

Ohio State (12-6, 4-1 Big 10, T-3rd)
RPI: 62
Best Win: Kentucky (RPI: 12) *Northern Illinoi (RPI: 67)
Worst Loss: Memphis (RPI: 117)

Louisville (13-3, 2-1 ACC, T-6th)
RPI: 28
Best Win: Wake Forest (RPI: 51)
Worst Loss: Clemson (RPI: 138)

Here is what is interesting about this schedule.  The big names (Duke, UCLA, Ohio State, and Louisville) have all seen their struggles.  Duke and Louisville beaten NOBODY in the Top 50.  Ohio State’s only top 50 win is over Kentucky.  And UCLA is only 11-7 and likely flirting with the bubble.  Arizona State looked like a very good win at the time, but they’ve started 0-3 in the Pac-12.

Now, what about the smaller schools?  Well, the remaining 7 schools on the schedule are all over the map.  Three of them are outside the Top 200 of the RPI, including a pathetic South Florida team.  NJIT, Wright State, and Illinois State are middle of the pack teams and then you have Albany.  The season opener didn’t seem like much of a big deal at the time, but if they can finish inside the Top 100, that would turn out to be a decent win.

Now, we have to keep in mind that the Kansas game will really boost this non-conference slate a bunch in a couple weeks.  The smaller conference schools (barring running out their schedule) will not improve much in the RPI.  It’s the big name schools that UK needs to pick it up.  Will Duke and Louisville finally get some big wins?  Can Ohio State continue a decent start to the Big 10 season?  Will Arizona State and UCLA get out of the bottom of the Pac-12?  If those things are not happening, in retrospect, it will be one of UK’s worst non-conference slates.  That’s nobody’s fault because many of those teams were thought to be quality opponents when they were scheduled.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

2 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: How About Our Non-Conference Opponents?

  1. JusSayin
    9:08 am January 15, 2016 Permalink

    Louisville beat Pittsburgh last night and their RPI was 22.

  2. ukkatzfan
    11:26 am January 15, 2016 Permalink

    South Florida was played for their Coach. Aside from that, what’s your point? I personally believe we should fire Cal since his scheduling is comparable to Billy Clyde’s scheduling. Rumors I hear, Cal is going to the Steelers to coach, so he can make it to Canton in the NFL HOF.