2014! It was better than 2013 for the HL. Want proof? Last year we only had 3 T100 wins OOC; this year we have 5. That is…more wins. #analysis
But who had the best non-conference season? Let’s go in reverse to build suspense. All RPI numbers from RPI Forecast and valid through the end of 2014.
9) UIC (4-11, 2 non D1 wins) RPI 320 Non Con Score: -38
Last year we had FLAMEOUT 2014, the quest to find if UIC could be bad, like Michael Jackson ca. 1987, or a dangerous menace, like Michael circa…I can’t do that one sorry. Could UIC be worse this year? Probably not. Then again, they are loaded for squirrel.
How did they lose to Apparently there is a school called Grand Canyon, which has a basketball team (#283) besides whatever ranger program they’re probably known for. UIC lost to them, at home.
At least they Didn’t wait ’til March to treat the home fans to a D1 win (Nov 17, WIU!).
Where is the hope for the conference season? In 2016. They’ll Tai one on then.
What do they remind you of? Pumpernickel sauerkraut ice cream. Just…not a good mix.
8) Milwaukee (5-9, 2 non-D1 wins) RPI: 302 Non-Con Score: -25
Remember how good Milwaukee was last year? No, not how historically awful they were the year before, such that we had a PANTHERQUEST before we had a FLAMEOUT. But they had a season to remember last year, and the first hints of it came in their non-con, where they knocked off UNI, among others.
Well, in 2012, like the credits to a Police Academy, they also gave hints that they were going to be really, really bad, really early on. Same this year.
How did they lose to #318 SIU Edwardsville? Is that even a 4-year institution? (EDIT: apparently)
Where is the hope for conference season? There is none. They have a nice inside-outside thing going in McWhorter and Tiby, but they’re not going anywhere.
What do they remind you of? The Chicago Cubs. Before their season even starts, they know they’re not going anywhere after it.
7) Youngstown State (9-6, 3 non-D1 wins) RPI: 220 Non-con score: -6
And you’re like, how can a team with this good a record be this low–with a negative score? They’ve got a sneaky-good big man in Bobby Hain, a much- or at least semi-improved DJ Cole, and Keene is a pretty excellent shooter. Well, here’s the thing: they haven’t beat anyone in the top 200. If they don’t fix that in conference, they will have at least 8 if not 10 losses just as a baseline.
Plus they lost to KENNESAW STATE again, I don’t know if you saw this, but AT HOME. KSU (not THAT KSU) is #322. Worst home loss of the HL non-con.
Where is the hope for conference season? Mostly Bo Pelini-related.
What do they remind you of? a destitute man’s Nebraska–football school with a basketball team and they have BEAUX PELINI
6) Cleveland State (6-8, 2 non-D1 wins) RPI: 156 Non-con score: 3
Ok, you say, I’ll give you YSU down here, but CSU? Weren’t they supposed to be, like, good? Or at least good-er? Well, that was before they went on the road to Savannah State and Savannah Stunk. That was the worst loss (#327) of the whole HL non-con. They haven’t beaten anyone better than #142 San Francisco, either. Don’t have a road win better than Marshall (#262). Their RPI is high because of a tough schedule, so in the words of Bill Murray, they “got that goin’ for them, which is nice”. Also they have Lewis and Grady, perhaps the best inside-outside combo in the HL, which is saying something. When they’re on, anyway.
How did they lose to I told you already. Where were you? Distracted or something?
Where is the hope for conference season? They can’t keep shooting 42%, can they?
What do they remind you of? Jennifer Aniston…because neither of them seem to rebound well at all. But you probably haven’t read any of the text in this part, have you?
t4) Oakland (4-10, 1 non-D1 win) RPI: 229 Non-con score: 24
Well, what good was that tough schedule when it didn’t prepare you to beat #240 W Carolina? At home? Yes, Oakland has 2 of the worst 9 home losses in HL non-con. They did beat #80 Toledo. …but their NEXT BEST win was @ #233 Morehead State. It will be interesting to see if that tough schedule prepares them any better this year.
How did they lose to Arizona? Oh, right, because they were PLAYING ARIZONA IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Where’s the hope for conference season? Clay Yeo is a Bethel Pilot.
What do they remind you of? Too obvious, right? One of the world’s oldest professions, a group of people that do inappropriate things solely for money, sometimes in public, with no qualms. I refer of course, to “sports agents”. (What, did you really think I would make the obvious joke after That Thing That Happened To Them Last Year?)
t4) Detroit (6-8, 2 non-D1 wins) RPI: 206 Non-con score: 24
(I give the tie-break to Detroit, because they schedule wisely. Also Juwan Howard Jr. Of course this could come back to bite me tomorrow.) Interesting that the closest two schools in the HL are also the closest by this tally sheet. They also both beat #80 Toledo as their best win. #MACtion
Once again, though, I don’t really trust them. They’re always like the ancient Greeks, a “constellation of bright stars” that don’t get along all that well, which is too bad because when they do they accomplish some awesome things (see: Marathon, Thermopylae, the 2012 HL tourney) and when they don’t they implode like Doug Anderson showboating his way to another THWOMMMMMMP!bounceOWCH. Those kinds of teams are too erratic to be trusted. Maybe Oakland will pass them after all.
How did they lose to #251 UCF. And #193 Oral Boberts, at home? I blame the Romans.
Thing they remind you of After all that classical jargon I just want to post the seal to the city of my birth again. After all, what other city has themselves on fire in their own seal?
3) Wright State (8-6, 2 non-D1 wins) RPI: 160 Non-con score: 37
Gotta hand it to these guys. Last year they were next to last in the non-con, with the softest schedule since Reagan in ’84, and still managed to post 3 of the worst 10 losses in the whole HL. This year they got it together and beat #124 Belmont twice (that’s one way to start inviting them to the HL) and got FOUR of the best 10 road wins in the HL this non-con! Last year: they had 0 non-con road wins. That’s impressive because winning on the road is like really hard. #expertise
This year their offense is doing better than their defense, though, somewhat surprisingly. Yes, nothing is as it seems in Dayton this year. It’s a strange situation.
How did they lose to #276 Cal-State Fullerton. This isn’t even baseball, as valpotx would say.
Where’s the hope for conference? 3rd would seem to be their high-water mark, as the top 2 seem pretty clear. JT Yoho is having a good year but taking a lot of shots to get there. Remember how playing them they seem to come at you in waves? 9 guys in double-digit minutes and a 10th at 8.6. That should bode well for staying healthier/fresher.
Pray tell what inanimate object they resemble unto you The third-prettiest girl at the party. She’s just waiting it out until you screw it up with the prettiest girl in the room and the second-prettiest sees the whole thing and leaves early too. What, are you going to go home with Youngstown? (No but at least there’s no danger there.)
2) Valparaiso (13-2, 3 non-D1 wins) RPI: 74 Non-con score: 78
I know, I know, I was hoping against hope too. But it’s not close.
Don’t let the gaudy record fool you when we have the 3rd-worst non-con sched in the HL. But it’s not terrible–we posted 2 of the top 10 wins, 3 of the top 9 road wins, 4 of the top 10 neutral site wins, and didn’t put any losses in the top, er, bottom 10s. We racked up more than 2x more points than the 3rd place team. MOREOVA:
Whereas Oakland has to wonder if they are ready for the HL, we know we are. We’ve spent the non-con already playing these teams, like WSU (Eastern Kentucky), CSU (Murray St), and UIC (Goshen). We start to prove it tonight.
What do they remind you of The ’71 UCLA Bruins (ask the victims from the Nashville tourney, or at least drop in on their boards).
1) Green Bay (11-3, 2 non-D1 wins) RPI: 59 Non-con score: 116
They are here because they have the impressive scalps: 4 of the top 7 wins by the HL this non-con, headlined by the road win @ #55 Miami (yes that miami). No bad losses or at least nothing worse than #162 UC Irvine, although Chicago State almost pulled the shocker. 4 of the top 8 neutral site wins, which bodes well for the NCAA if they can get there. They’re just a solid team. But will they finish? Can they? It’s always something with these guys.
What do they remind you of always thought their coach looks like this guy.