The men’s basketball team’s non-conference schedule is out and it has some oddities. We already knew the Marshall game would be on a Sunday and we’re glad to see a second game in the Charleston Civic Center against always-entertaining VMI. There’s no Duquesne, which is rare, and there’s a road game against Northern Kentucky, which, you’ll remember, won an exhibition game inside the Coliseum as a Division II team in 2011.
And here’s where we argue the central point: Is it hard or has Bob Huggins taken a smaller bite?
The tournament in Pureto Rico has nice names, but most of the teams will be replacing talent.
Dayton has two of its top three scorers back, but lost some valuable parts to last season’s successful team. Texas A&M went 18-16 and lost its best player and top scorer, but has a lot of veteran players .
UConn won the national title, but lost a lot. New Mexico lost a lot. Boston College was terrible and changed coaches. The College of Charleston and George Mason are just teams that were both under .500 last season.
And WVU? Hell, we don’t know.
Outside the tournament, there are … six? … built-in wins. WVU gets CoC at home, plus Monmouth, Lafayette, VMI and Wofford, and WVU isn’t going to NKU for a payday. That’s a bit of a change of pace for WVU before conference play. And Virginia Tech was a mess last season and changed coaches.
True, there is LSU and North Carolina State, but the Tigers are at home as part of the Big 12 v. SEC arrangement, and the game with the Wolfpack will be at Madison Square Garden, where WVU used to be something of a home team. N.C. State lost its two best players, including T.J. Warren, the ACC player of the year, and LSU is replacing most of its productivity. They’re both 20-win teams from last season that will have a hard time doing it again next season.