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Ask and ye shall receive: basketball schedules released

September 3, 2013

Obviously it would be pretty hubristic to suggest that this afternoon’s announcement of EMU’s men’s and women’s  basketball schedules had anything to do with me — it looks like the school was waiting for the Mid-American Conference schedule release — but for a moment there, when I saw that EMU had released the basketball schedule just three hours after I commented on it…well, you can guess what I thought!

The women’s basketball season will begin with an exhibition game against Wayne State on November 5 in the Convo, followed by the first regular-season game on November 8 (second half of a men’s/women’s doubleheader), when the Eagles will host Madonna, and then Butler, November 13, in Bowen Field House. Other highlights for the season will include a short trip to Michigan on December 11, hosting Akron January 26, travelling to Central Michigan January 30, hosting Toledo February 19, travelling to Toledo March 5, and hosting Central Michigan for senior day on March 8. On the whole it seems like a relatively weak schedule, which should be just the thing for a team in serious rebuilding mode.

As for the men’s team, they’ll start with an exhibition game against Marygrove on November 4, and start the regular season by hosting Albion November 8 (first half of a men’s/women’s doubleheader). As I mentioned this morning, they’ll then host Concordia and Robert Morris at Bowen. In the second half of November, the Eagles have partnered with Kentucky to co-host the Keightley Classic, named for former Kentucky men’s basketball equipment manager Bill Keightley, known to fans as “Mr. Wildcat”. The Eagles will host Cleveland State and Texas-Arlington, before heading to Lexington to face the Wildcats.

Other key non-conference men’s basketball games will include Massachusetts (December 3), at Purdue (December 7), Green Bay (December 10), at Oakland (December 21), at Duke (December 28), and at Syracuse (December 31). MAC games to circle include Western Michigan (January 14), Akron (January 22), Ohio (January 25), at Akron (February 5), Toledo (February 15, men’s/women’s doubleheader), at Western Michigan (February 23), senior day against Ball State (March 4), and at Toledo (either March 7 or March 8). At a glance, I think this is the best men’s basketball schedule EMU has put together in some time; it’s a nice balance of easier games, roughly even match-ups, and trips to the basketball palaces (Rupp Arena, Cameron Indoor Stadium, Carrier Dome).

You might have noticed that the EMU men’s basketball team will face Akron twice. Rather than the familiar 16-game schedule, in which each team plays division opponents twice (home and home) and cross-division opponents once, the Mid-American Conference has added two games, giving each team two randomly selected home-and-home series with cross-division opponents.1 I’ve got no problem with the concept, although getting two games against the Zips is a tough draw (EMU’s other home-and-home will be against Bowling Green), but I think  the MAC may have missed an opportunity here by not establishing cross-division rivalries (ahem, Ontario Sandwich Trophy).

We’ll examine both in more depth as basketball season approaches, but for the time being, what do you think of these schedules?

  1. They did the same for the women, with EMU facing Kent State and Bowling Green twice each. []
7 Comments leave one →
  1. Kenneth Barna permalink
    September 4, 2013 9:28 am

    Dear cmadler,
    Are the games against Kentucky, Syracuse, etc., money games (like in football) or are they scheduled for the competition? Or both? Do you think those games will continue as long as Murphy is coach? I know I am asking some questions that will not have simplistic answers, just wanted your point of view.

    • cmadler permalink*
      September 4, 2013 6:35 pm

      They are probably money games, but the amounts tend to be far less in basketball than in football. Basketball games scheduled early (e.g. April) are probably around $40,000 to $50,000, while games scheduled later (e.g. August) might run in the $75,000 to $100,000 range. If I had to guess, I’d say Duke is a money game, Syracuse is a money game (but at the lower end, maybe $40k), and Kentucky might be a money game or EMU’s payment might be hosting Cleveland State and Texas-Arlington, or some other arrangement.

    • cmadler permalink*
      September 4, 2013 8:10 pm

      As for whether they’ll continue, I think they will, and I think that’s a good thing. Let’s be honest, EMU is not going to get an at-large NCAA bid any time soon — probably no one in the MAC is. The goal is to win the MAC. I view the non-conference games as preparation for that. My thought is that after going to these kind of places, there should be no issues with going on the road in the MAC. Plus, if they improve and play one of these teams close, or even someday beat them, they’ll get a lot of positive attention — which would more than make up for the negative attention from even a really embarrassing loss like what EMU experienced in Lexington last year.

  2. Block E permalink
    September 4, 2013 9:47 am

    I love Murphy’s non-conference schedules. Take em ALL on!

    The team may resemble the Washington Generals in December if it doesn’t get its act together (UMass, Purdue, UW-Green Bay, Oakland, Duke, Syracuse). But if that doesn’t prepare your defense for the conference schedule, nothing will.

  3. Chief Huron permalink
    September 5, 2013 4:36 am

    To be the best you have to play the best. This season’s schedule is signficant upgrade in previous season schedules. I’m a bit concerned at this point in Murphy not having any verbals lined up for the early signing in November for the 2014 class, a very critical class for EMU’s future.

  4. cmadler permalink*
    September 5, 2013 5:23 am

    Part of what I like in this men’s schedule compared to the previous two is that the road games are split up; the longest road trip is just three games. In addition, there are only a few home games during the university’s breaks: 1/4 against Rochester (move-in day is 1/5), and 2/26 and 3/1 against Central Michigan and Northern Illinois (during “winter recess”, aka spring break). No home games over Thanksgiving weekend, none during finals week, none right around Christmas or New Year’s Eve/Day, and nothing on Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend.

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  1. Men's basketball non-conference schedule announced - Eagle Totem Eagle Totem

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