Non-conference Games Just As Important
As a mid-major the next few months are almost as important as the conference schedule. Many coaches believe that you can not win a game in the first half, but you can most certainly be very out of it by then. The same is true in the given course of a season. As a mid-major you are looking to make a strong case for your team before conference play even begins. However, even if you go undefeated going into conference play, if you don’t win a single conference game than it won’t matter. What many schools try to do is to have a schedule which has about five big time teams and the rest of the schedule not too soft. This way they can work their way up with the wins, while hopefully knocking off those five teams. This would seem easy but it’s a lot harder than it seems especially for some of the better mid-majors.
After George Mason’s final four run it will get increasingly difficult for mid-major’s to schedule and beat bigger teams. The bigger teams will more than likely not travel to that mid-major’s gym, but they also won’t be surprised if that team jumps out to a big early lead. The bigger teams are going to start to take more notice and take these teams more seriously. So one of the problems that these mid-majors have is scheduling too many tough teams. It’s good to have a tough schedule, but if you have too tough of a schedule and not have as many wins and you’ll be looking at heading towards the little dance rather than the Big Dance.
The big question that looms in the MAC this year is how many teams can it get into the Big Dance? The answer that many people think, including myself, is two. The MAC has not traditionally proven itself to be a power mid-major conference the same way the Atlantic 10 or the Missouri Valley Conference have. However, this year is a special year for the MAC. It is loaded with talent and this could defiantly be the year that they get more than one team in.