SBC coaches: RPI demands going to be difficult to follow

26 10 2010

The Sun Belt held the first part of its two-day online media day event for men’s basketball this morning, and as expected, the major topic of discussion was the league’s recently released RPI plan with regard to nonconference scheduling.

Six coaches from the SBC West fielded questions this morning, and while some were more calm than others, the general consensus was that the suggested policy will be extremely difficult to meet.

The most agitated of the coaches seemed to be Arkansas State coach John Brady – who not only expressed concern about making a schedule that will meet those standards, but also criticized the league for releasing such a policy during its media day event.

“I think the timing of that is probably not condusive to promoting our league,” he said. “We’ve got some great coaches in this league … I think the league’s in good shape.

“We had a conference meeting this summer, there was a discussion about scheduling, there was a decision made and we should have proceeded on course with it. There are some disagreements about what a 150 RPI schedule can do. It’s not inventing the wheel. I don’t think it helps the bottom teams in our league, it won’t guarantee two teams getting into the NCAA Tournament. It may improve the seeding a spot or two for the team that wins the tournament championship. A lot of guys don’t like mandates put on them, I don’t like mandates put on me to direct and guide this basketball team at Arkansas State. .. I don’t need anybody telling me how to schedule or who to schedule or questioning if I want excellence to compete at the highest level. My track record speaks for itself.”

Brady, along with UALR coach Steve Shields, Louisiana-Lafayette coach Bob Marlin and Louisiana-Monroe coach Keith Richard all expressed concern about how the new 150 average in terms of nonconference RPI scheduling will affect their respective schools’ ability to find home games. The league also suggests that schools discontinue playing games against non-Division I teams – another cause for concern with regard to building a home schedule.

One thing the Sun Belt pointed out in its release about the policy was the fact that earlier in the 2000s, it had a similar policy in place and it reaped rewards (the last year it was in place was 04-05).

Some coaches pointed out that times have changed.

“It’s a different time,” said Marlin, who is in his first year at Louisiana-Lafayette. “We talked about it in the summer and went round and round and I just tried to observe and listen, at the end of the day we wasted our time.

“We’re trying to improve the league, I don’t know if this will actually do it or not. At the end of the day we’re trying to win games and scheduling is just really hard. It’s hard to get teams to (give return home games), even regionally.”

North Texas’ Johnny Jones – who returns after a Sun Belt Conference Tournament title in 2009-10 – agreed to a certain degree, saying that scheduling is difficult as it is without mandates coming into play.

But Jones, like the rest of the West coaches, said that if the league thinks it will help – then he’ll be more than willing to give it a shot.

“It’s always tough in terms of scheduling, everyone goes through it,” he said. “It’s somewhat of a science and I know the coaches in this league are up for the challenge. At the same time, when you have great coaches and great recruiting years I think the league continues to get better. When your teams get better, it makes it even more difficult to schedule – but it’s something we’ll just have to do.

“We’re hopeful we can continue to encourage people to come here and play. We’re still trying to grow our program and be the best we can be without having to go on the road and play the most of our games on the road. You have to have a balance with the schedule, and this will make it very difficult.”

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One response

27 10 2010
Hermes

These coaches need to wake up and smell the coffee. Their teams stink. Their conference stinks. It will continue to stink unless it schedules better teams. No one cares if a sunbelt team wins 20 games when they play pathetic patsies. Look at WKU’s season last year. WKU had a few good wins but the SBC is so terrible that nobody wants more than one of its teams in the NCAA tournament. If these coaches don’t want mandates, then they should take care of business. Clearly, most of them have not.

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