Prescription for a Strong 2011-2012 Basketball Schedule

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Non-conference
strength of schedule kept Virginia Tech out of the NCAA Tournament two seasons
ago, and Selection Committee Chairman Gene Smith used non-conference performance
as a reason the Hokies were left out again this
year. Scheduling has become a big issue for Virginia Tech, and hopefully next
year will be the year it doesn’t keep the Hokies out of the Big Dance. Seth
Greenberg has set up a good schedule so far, but there are ways to make it even
better while also being able to win enough games.

Greenberg takes a lot of heat for scheduling teams ranked below 200th in his
non-conference schedule. This season, the Hokies played five non-conference
opponents that finished 250th or worse (out of 345 teams) in the RPI: 
Campbell (286), UNC-Greensboro (293), Cal-State Northridge (250), USC-Upstate
(311), and Longwood (322). UNC-G (road) and CSNU (neutral) at least weren’t home
games, so the Hokies got more credit for those wins under the RPI formula.

However, truth be told, Tech’s schedule isn’t much different from that of a
lot of other teams. Other ACC teams play UNC-Greensboro in the Greensboro
Coliseum because the ACC Tournament is played there. Maryland, Kansas, Marquette
… all those teams played Longwood.

That said, there are some things the Hokies can do to improve their strength
of schedule, which is all about — in our opinion — avoiding games against
teams ranked 250th or worse in the RPI. Scheduling teams in the top 200 of the
RPI would go a long way towards improving Tech’s SOS numbers.

As we’ve seen during the last two Selection Sundays, the Selection Committee
puts strength of schedule on a pedestal. You can go 18-14, but if you played a
tough schedule, you’ve got a chance to make the Big Dance, even if you lost most
of those games.

We already know what most of Tech’s schedule will look like next season.