Based on what's been reported, here is a tentative schedule for your UCLA Bruin men's basketball team for next year. RPI numbers are from Ken Pomeroy's site.
|?||vs Sacramento State||279|
|?||vs Delaware State||128|
|?||vs Coppin State||151|
|?||at/vs West Virginia||34|
|11/15/05||vs New Mexico State (Preseason NIT)*||292|
|12/10/05||Nevada (Wooden Classic at Anaheim Pond)||32|
|1/7/06||at Arizona State||68|
|1/14/06||vs Washington State||95|
|1/28/06||at Oregon State||103|
|2/2/06||vs Arizona State||68|
|2/9/06||at Washington State||95|
|2/23/06||vs Oregon State||103|
|3/9/06||Pac-10 Tournament (at Staples Center)**|
*Preseason NIT could be a
total of four games, including two at Madison Square Garden.
**Pac-10 tournament could be a total of three games.
If you're wondering how strong our non-conference schedule is compared to this past season, the average RPI for our 2005-06 opponents (based on final 2005 numbers) is 165.44. Our 2004-05 non-conference opponents had an RPI of 151.56 (based on final 2005 numbers) and 148.44 (based on final 2004 numbers). Obviously, measuring next year's opponents' strength based on the previous year's RPI is a crude approach at best, but that's all I'm going to do :). This "analysis" indicates that the upcoming season's non-conference opponents are notably weaker than this past year. This certainly is true for the top teams, as the trio of Boston College, Michigan State, and Notre Dame were miles ahead of the top three of 2005-06 (presumably West Virginia, Nevada, and Michigan). That said, winning at Michigan and against Nevada in the Wooden Classic would be extremely significant for us with the current emphasis by the NCAA tourney committee on doing well away from home. Advancing in the Preseason NIT also would be a big deal, as it would give us opportunities to play tough competition, perhaps on a neutral court. And I don't mean to overlook our conference games - it's just that we have no control over those, unlike the non-conference schedule.
As a Bruin fan, I would like to see us play against some higher profile schools in our non-conference matchups. Perhaps Ben Howland doesn't believe we're ready for that yet, or perhaps he couldn't find any takers. Either way, come Nov. 20, 2006, we will be in the Maui Invitational with several other marquee teams - I'm already looking forward to it.