Assessing Duke’s Easy/Hard Non-Conference Schedule

Posted by KCarpenter on October 4th, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, Andy Glockner called out Duke in a column discussing teams that had easy non-conference schedules. The main thrust of his problem with Duke’s schedule was this:

There’s nothing wrong with the slate, per se. I just hate that Duke is only willing to play “road” games (outside of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge) if the game is moved to a pro arena in the opponent’s city.

This is almost a fair point. Sure, it seems a bit hypocritical for Duke to get so much mileage out of their home court while refusing to play on the home floors of their opponents, but I’m not sure I’d put Duke in the “Honorable Mentions” of a column about the teams with the easiest non-conference schedules.

Despite Duke's Tough Home Court Should the Devils Be Criticized For Not Playing Enough True Road Games?

I’m not the only one who thinks this either.  Dana O’Neil, breaking down the non-conference schedules for every ACC team, ultimately gave Duke the top rating for the toughest schedule in the conference. Considering that Duke is playing Ohio State in Columbus,  and Michigan State, Washington, and probably UCLA or Kansas on neutral courts, I think this is more than fair. Sure neutral court wins are less impressive than true road wins, but that’s still a hell of a murderer’s row that Duke will be facing this year.

As for the rest of the conference, O’Neil gives North Carolina and North Carolina State credit for their difficult schedules and gently chastises Boston College and Wake Forest for their cushy non-conference slates. In fairness, however, the goals of BC and Wake Forest seem pretty clear: Boston College’s schedule is focused on playing nearby New England schools in the probable hope of creating some fun regional rivalries with the likes of Harvard, Massachussets and Boston University. As for Wake Forest, given the disastrous outcome of last year’s 8-24 season, it’s hard to fault Jeff Bzdelik for trying to put at least a few wins on the schedule for his young and rebuilding team.

KCarpenter (269 Posts)

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3 responses to “Assessing Duke’s Easy/Hard Non-Conference Schedule”

  1. Matt B says:

    In most years, it would be appropriate to send a bit of criticism Duke’s way for not playing more true road games, but it’s not like any of their marquee opponents are coming to Cameron. They play Ohio State on the road (which wasn’t directly scheduled by Duke, but Coach K also factors it in as a road game when making the rest of his schedule). They play Temple in the Wells Fargo Center. This one could go either way. On one hand, Duke isn’t going to North Philly and the Liacouras Center. On the other hand, Temple will sell all of the tickets, and have its logo on the floor. You don’t dock Big East teams points for playing ‘Nova there instead of the Pavilion. They then play two games in New York, and two tough ones in Maui. That might be Duke’s six toughest non-conference games. Their hardest home date might be Belmont, unless the St. John’s freshman are better than expected. At the end of the day, it’s hard to dock points for not playing true road games when none of you’re six toughest games are at home either.

  2. mpatton says:

    Coach K’s philosophy seems to be that the NCAA isn’t played on the road, so neutral site games are more valuable. Would I mind seeing more home-and-homes on Duke’s schedule? Sure. Do I think Duke belongs with Syracuse in schedule criticism? No.

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