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Comparing The 2014-15 Non-Conference Basketball Schedule To Years Past

Coach Wojo, coachin' 'em up.
Coach Wojo, coachin' 'em up.
Maggie Bean/MarquetteImages.com

It suddenly occurred to me over the weekend that we have forgotten to do our yearly comparison of the non-conference men's basketball schedule to the recent past.

Here's the data for the last five seasons of Marquette basketball schedules.  "Lowest" refers to the best ranked team and "highest" refers to the worst ranked team.  Any games not preset on the schedule (namely tournament games that aren't known until after MU wins or loses, like this year's Orlando Classic) are not counted.

2009-10 Season:
Low:
Xavier (20)
High: South Dakota (345, one higher than KP's worst team)
Average of MU's 10 opponents: 216
Median Opponent Ranking: 257

2010-11 Season:
Low:
Duke (1)
High: Mississippi Valley State (326 of 347 teams)
Average of MU's 12 opponents: 185.9
Median Opponent Ranking: 207

2011-12 Season:
Low: Wisconsin (7)
High: Norfolk State (302 of 345 teams)
Average of MU's 11 opponents: 151.8
Median Opponent Ranking: 156

2012-13 Season:
Low:
Ohio State (2)
High: UMBC (339 out of 345 teams)
Average of MU's 10 opponents: 163.4
Median Opponent Ranking: 176.5

2013-14 Season:
Low: Ohio State (6)
High: Grambling State (347 out of 347 teams)
Average of MU's 10 opponents: 176.5
Median Opponent Ranking: 207

So what about this season?  Is it comparable to years past, or are things slightly easier due to a new coach and an inexperienced roster?

2014-15 Season:
Low: Wisconsin (6)
High: Tennessee-Martin (313 out of 351 teams)
Average of MU's 8 opponents: 170.8
Median Opponent Ranking: 206

Well, check that out.  It's not all that different than last year.  It's probably not a coincidence that there are three teams from last year's schedule on this year's schedule.  Marquette does have just eight non-Orlando Classic games scheduled right now, but Deputy Athletic Director Mike Broeker has said that there will be one more game added to the schedule before the season starts.  If I had to guess, any game added to the schedule at this point would make the average and the median worse.  I mean, in last year's KenPom rankings, Old Dominion is #170, Florida Gulf Coast is #171, and College of Charleston is #206.  I don't see Marquette adding a team better than those three schools to a schedule that already includes two games against the Big Ten, one against the Pac12, and whatever the dice roll out for MU in the Orlando Classic.