Last but not least, as Bruce Springsteen says when he introduces Clarence Clemons.
Wichita State’s men’s basketball schedule is ready for public scrutiny. The nine other MVC schools released schedules weeks ago. The Shockers took their time, but they got it right for the most part. The non-conference schedule gives WSU good chances to win NCAA resume games. The home portion of that schedule lacks strength, but it does feature Tulsa and what should be a strong Bracket Buster opponent.
There will be complaining about home games against Alabama A&M, Chicago State and Texas Southern. Those may well be RPI-repellant wins. I don’t think it’s much to be concerned about at this point. If WSU wins a reasonable portion of its marquee games – in Maui and at San Diego State primarily – the guarantee games won’t matter. WSU also has a chance to make a good impression against Tulsa, LSU and the Bracket Buster game. There is plenty of opportunity to make up for a few 300-plus RPI opponents and present the NCAA selection committee with a good at-large resume.
For what it’s worth, Nicholls State is picked to be a contender in the Southland. The Colonels are usually a 250-300 RPI team, but might do better this season. Texas Southern is picked second in the SWAC in two preseason magazines. Alabama A&M is picked third in one and seventh in another. Nicholls State could be one of those prized Southland teams that moves up into the top 150 (or higher) if things go right. For SWAC opponents, it’s a great day if they finish in the top 200. Chicago State has been 300-plus the past two seasons. Two seasons before that, it finished No. 152 and No. 132.
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It would be a mistake to fixate on those games. The Shockers are set up nicely for a much-anticipated season. If they are as good as we think, the schedule should give them the tools to make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team.