More Sun Belt RPI thoughts

27 10 2010

Today was day two of the annual Sun Belt virtual men’s basketball media day event.

On the line this morning were the league’s six East Division coaches – and just like it was yesterday – a popular topic for discussion was the league’s recent RPI mandate with regard to nonconference scheduling.

Here are some comments from a few of the coaches with regard to the new scheduling policy:

WKU coach Ken McDonald

“I think time will tell. It does show that the institutions from the top down are thinking about it and trying to put some stuff in place to make an improvement, that’s the bottom line.

“Time will tell whether it’s the right policy. It has its challenges at each level and each institution. We’ve adhered to that standard for the last 10 or 11 years.

“That’s our philosophy and where we’re at as a program.

“It’ll be interesting to see how it goes, and there are frustrations at every level with scheduling. It is a challenge to get home games and quality opponents. And then as you build and you get pretty good it gets even harder.

“Two years ago when people thought we’d be down I was able to get some good home games and series. But as you knock off a team and do well, it gets tougher. We’ve done some things and it makes it harder to be honest.

“One thing that was frustrating is when you’re playing the teams at the low end of your league and winning you see your RPI go down, that’s frustrating to go through.

“Especially if you’re in position for an at-large or even in the discussion. Those numbers, one, two or three points make a big difference.

“You do have to win, but you’ve got to schedule games also.”

Florida Atlantic coach Mike Jarvis

“First of all, you do what you have to do and to be very honest with you when I look at a schedule I look at each team’s schedule. Every team has a different philosophy. The difference between our scheduling and say the Big East is that their conference has such a high power rating that their non-conference schedule (can be a bit easier).

“If we’re going to start getting multiple teams in the NCAA Tournament, the power rating has to go up. And the only way to go up is to schedule tougher teams. But if you’re going to play higher ranked teams, most of them are going to have to be on the road. The universities have got to put the money up to make sure we’ve got quality home games against top teams. If they don’t, then we’re only kidding ourselves.”

Middle Tennessee coach Kermit Davis

“Our league’s not broken at all. We beat five SEC teams last year and the league went through a rash of injuries. … The league is good and the league is going to be much better this year with a new influx of newcomers and returning players.

“Our best teams need to play well in nonconference play and stay away from injuries. The league’s not broken, we just need to continue to improve it.”

“Every AD and every coach in this league is trying their darndest to get quality home games. We play three SEC teams, Vanderbilt at home, UAB at home, next year we start a series with Ole Miss. But how many games can you buy? How much is the administration or the league willing to help buy home games for some of these teams that have trouble with it.

“For some of these teams, it’s going to be interesting to see how many home games we have. And is the 150 going to force more and more teams to go on the road? It’ll be interesting to see how the league top to bottom can handle that.”

South Alabama coach Ronnie Arrow

“Everybody in this conference wants the best for our conference. I can’t say that I agree with what’s been proposed for us. I think one of the things that we have to look at is a conference is that the toughest conference in the country is the conference you play in.

“No coaches were talked to and asked what needed to be done, we have excellent coaches in this conference.

“It’s not the teams that you play, you must win the games you’re supposed to win. Nobody wants to play just a bunch of easy teams, but for us in this league, it’s very hard to get home games. What you’ve done now is made it harder. I met with my AD yesterday, I called 49 teams, I know scheduling. There’s 49 teams that would not play us. Until the NCAA mandates that larger schools have to go on the road and don’t play 12 out of 13 games at home, it’s going to be very hard for teams in conferences like ours to be able to do what’s asked.

“(With) these schools that have told us no, it’s going to make us play games further away, it’s going to enhance our budget which presidents and athletic directors won’t like.

“We need to get an alliance with conferences like Conference USA and the Missouri Valley that have good RPIs. We need to get an alliance with them where our top four teams play them home and home, that’s what we need to be doing.

“Just to go out and mandate that you play 150 (is tough). I hope I’m wrong, I hope it works for everybody. But we’ll know in July in August if we’re not being told we’ve only got 11 home games, what are we going to do for season ticket holders? That’ll tell the story.”

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