Breaking Down Pac-12 Non-Conference Schedules: Washington and Washington StatePosted by Connor Pelton on October 7th, 2013
October is here, and that means we are just weeks away from real, live basketball games. In order to prepare you for the first two months of the season, we’re going to break down all 12 non-conference slates over the next couple of weeks. Up first; the Washington schools.
Teams are listed in order of which they will be played. Last season’s RPI in parenthesis. Potential opponents (one round in advance) are italicized. All times listed are Pacific.
Cream of the Crop: vs Indiana (8), @ San Diego State (30)
Washington has a pair of marquee opponents on its non-conference slate this season. The Huskies will face Indiana in New York City on November 21, in a game to be televised by ESPN2 at 6:00 PM. The Hoosiers finished 2012-13 with a 29-7 record and lost to Syracuse in the Sweet Sixteen. Replacing their two leading scorers (and lottery picks) from last year will be of top importance heading into the season, and Washington will be IU’s first test. Equally as tough will be the trip to Viejas Arena to open the month of December. Senior guard Chase Tapley, and of course, the raucous student section known as The Show, will be waiting for the Dawgs. The game will be televised by CBS Sports Network at 12:05 PM on December 8.
Solid Names: UC Irvine (126), vs Boston College (113), Montana (74), Long Beach State (115), @ Tulane (178), Connecticut (49)
Connecticut headlines the second tier, and Washington could actually face the other Huskies twice this season, depending on how the 2KSports Classic shakes out. The scheduled match-up will be the final game before Christmas break, tipping off at 12:30 PM on ESPNU. When the two teams met last season in Hartford, freshman Omar Calhoun picked apart UW in UConn’s eight-point win. Now that Lorenzo Romar and company will get them in front of their own Dawg Pound, it says here that Washington gets a big revenge victory heading into the holiday. Northwest rival Montana could present a challenge. The Huskies always seem to drop a head-scratching home game or two (South Dakota State two years back, Albany and Nevada last season), and the Grizzlies are a likely candidate to continue the tradition. Seniors Mathias Ward and Kareem Jamar, both who averaged over 14 PPG last season, will lead a balanced Montana attack on the offensive end of the floor.
RPI Anchors: Seattle (301), Eastern Washington (321), Idaho State (338), Mississippi Valley (344), Hartford (187)
It’s generally a good idea to stay away from teams with RPIs in the 300s, but Washington faces four of those programs this year. Three come from the Northwest, but Mississippi Valley is an interesting alternative choice. These games not only look terrible in the eyes of the NCAA selection committee, but also won’t draw well either. Seattle will be the regular season opener for the Huskies, a 7:00 PM start on the Pac-12 Networks. Hartford will cap the non-conference slate, coming into Seattle on December 29 for a 6:00 PM tipoff, also on the Pac-12 Networks.
Note: Washington will face Central Washington in an exhibition game on November 6 at 7:00 PM.
Cream of the Crop: @ Gonzaga (6), vs Butler (22), vs Oklahoma State (27)
Washington State also has a pair of high profile non-conference games. The Cougars will travel to Gonzaga on November 21, a game that will be televised by ROOT Sports at 6:00 PM. The Bulldogs are coming off a record-breaking 30-win season, but exited the national picture with a lackluster performance in the NCAA Tournament. After barely getting past Southern U. in the #1-#16 game, Wichita State and its barrage of three-pointers was too much to overcome in the next round. Wazzu will meet Butler, minus departed head coach Brad Stevens, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on Thanksgiving morning. Old Spice Classic games are always fun and competitive, and this one should be no different. The Bulldogs will be missing the services of last season’s leading rebounder, Roosevelt Jones, who is out for the season after tearing ligaments in his left wrist four minutes into Butler’s first summer foreign tour game in Australia. Oklahoma State, who was upset in its NCAA Tournament opener against Oregon last March, will face WSU in the second round of the Classic if both win or lose their first games.
Solid Names: vs Purdue (136), UTEP (96)
UTEP leads the small second group, and you can bet the Miners will be juiced for their December 21 meeting with the Cougs. UTEP is 1-2 over the past two seasons against Pac-12 competition, with the lone Miner win coming in a triple overtime thriller against Oregon last December. They return their top two scorers from that squad, and with what should be a smaller-than-usual crowd on the Palouse during winter break, an upset could definitely be in the cards. If the Cougs avoid Oklahoma State in their second Old Spice Classic game, they’ll get what should be an improved Purdue team. The Boilermakers have an extremely soft schedule heading into the Feast Week tournament, and while they have to be better than last year’s club, could provide the lone WSU win in Florida.
RPI Anchors: Cal State Bakersfield (237), Lamar (335), TCU (238), @ Idaho (196), Pepperdine (212), Mississippi Valley (344)
Scheduling six of these games is inexcusable, but at least some of the names are interesting. Pepperdine actually beat Washington State last year, and merited or not, TCU is now a power conference team. Cal State Bakersfield will serve as the regular season opener for the Cougars, in a game to be played November 8 at 7:00 PM. The Delta Devils of MVSU will hit Beasley Coliseum one night before traveling west to face Washington, and that game closes out non-conference play for Wazzu. They’ll host Lamar on November 16 and TCU on the 24th of the same month, with both games to be broadcast by the Pac-12 Networks. The headliner of the third tier, Idaho, will host Washington State on December 7 at 7:00 PM.
Note: Washington State will face Central Washington in an exhibition game on November 1 at 8:00 PM, and will play San Francisco State in a regular season game in Kennewick on December 18 at 7:00 PM.