The 2007-2008 basketball schedule is hot off the presses. Our first glance tells us that, there are not a lot of Sunday night FSN games this year.
10/27 – Red/White Scrimmage
11/1 – Barton College (Exh.) 7:00 p.m.
SFN Analysis: We’ll probably have to link to the YouTube of the wild D-III finish again. Let’s hope our broadcast crew doesn’t embarrass themselves with talk of beating a “defending champion” like they did last football season.
11/6 – UNC Pembroke (Exh.) 7:00 p.m.
SFN Analysis: This just reminds us of the ubiquitous billboards on I-95 when we head south. Almost as much as South of the Border.
11/15 – William & Mary (7:00 p.m.)
SFN Analysis: An appropriate caliber opponent for a season opener (Sagarin 201). Sadly, there are 7 OOC foes that fared worse last season (shakes head incredulously). If we were the AA stop on the Lou Holtz career train, William & Mary was where he played A-ball.
11/18 – New Orleans (6:30 p.m., FSNS)
SFN Analysis: IIRC, this game is part of a “2 and 1″ series with the Privateers, as part of our deal to hire away former head coach Monte Towe. Hey, at least it’s on TV, unlike the fabulous December road date that Lee so wisely lined up for us (more later).
Old Spice Classic – Orlando, Fla.
11/22 – Rider (2:00 p.m., ESPN2)
SFN Analysis: Rider is in the same conference as last year’s 2nd-round NIT opponent, Marist (we think). Avoiding the first round upset and staying on the ESPN2 path should be easy.
11/23 – Penn State/South Carolina (TBA, ESPN2 or ESPNU)
SFN Analysis: Penn State sucks, so let’s hope for NIT legend Dave Odom to square off with the Pack here. It would be nice to get at least a moderate test before likely facing our first legitimately talented foe.
11/25 – TBA – maybe Kansas State or Villanova? (TBA, ESPN2 or ESPNU)
SFN Analysis: Not much stands between one set of Wildcats (hat tip to RickJ from the comments) and the finals, so we will go ahead and anticipate these matchups. K State doesn’t have Huggy Bear anymore, but still has his recruits (for this year anyway). Incoming freshman Michael Beasley was the only player that impressed me as much as J.J. Hickson during the McDonald’s All-American game. K State would be a very interesting game that wouldn’t get much national attention. Villanova followed up their exciting 2005-06 season with a more pedestrian 2006-07, but they would also make a quality opponent here.
Big Ten/ACC Challenge
11/28 – at Michigan State (7:00 p.m., ESPN)
SFN Analysis: Here’s your first signature moment of the 2007-08 season, and we can thank the scheduling powers-that-be for a wonderful opportunity. For the first time in Challenge history, the Pack gets one of the 2 coveted non-Duke/Carolina “Big Boy ESPN” slots. Coming off 3 neutral court games (at least 1 or 2 of which should be at least mildly challenging), the Pack should be primed for a true road test. It’s all upside here, as a loss would be respectable, and a win would be a significant, nationally-recognized upset. The Spartan fans are also a classy bunch, based on my memories of a Sendek-era NCAAT matchup.
12/8 – at East Carolina (7:00 p.m.)
SFN Analysis: Memo to Lee Fowler – when a TV-friendly ACC team (expected to be in the Top 4 of the league) plays a non-conference road game that isn’t televised – you really fucked up. There’s no point in playing this game, other than exposing yourself to a chance (albeit very small) of abject humiliation. Want to think outside the box? Schedule a “2 for 1″ against a Missouri Valley Conference team – not this Mickey Mouse shit.
12/15 – South Carolina State (2:30 p.m.)
SFN Analysis: We only play 2 games between 11/28 at Michigan State and 12/21 against Davidson (and this is one of them). I understand the need for an exam lull, but this is pretty extreme.
12/21 – Davidson (7:00 p.m., FSNS)
SFN Analysis: This was, IIRC, a late addition to the schedule. Thank God it was added, because it’s probably the best home game on the OOC schedule. Whoever guards Dell Curry’s kid needs to be awake and focused. Courtney and Gavin, this likely means you. Get your heads on straight now.
12/23 – Cincinnati (7:30 p.m., FSN)
SFN Analysis: Hopefully, some redemption for perhaps the ugliest loss of the 2006-07 season. As I watched the 2nd half over lunch with one of my kids at a Cary sports bar, I wondered if we really might go 1-15 or 2-14 in ACC play. Fortunately, we got better. Much better.
12/27 – at Seton Hall (TBA)
SFN Analysis: Former NC State commit Larry Davis will be in uniform for the Pirates. Wonder if he has any regrets? This will be a tough test, after 2 decent, bunched-together home games and only a very short break to see family for Christmas. A letdown game is very possible, perhaps even likely.
12/29 – Western Carolina (2:30 p.m.)
SFN Analysis: Curiously, we start a run of 3 extreme cupcake games, bridging the more balanced/interesting portion of our OOC schedule and conference play – going more than 2 weeks without an even mildly challenging game. I don’t see the logic in it at all – hopefully, our hands were tied and we didn’t choose such a ridiculous setup. Former Sendek assistant Larry Hunter returns to town, so there’s your point of interest.
1/5 – Presbyterian (2:30 p.m.)
SFN Analysis: The Pack rings in the new year with a first year D-I opponent. Even the worst 96-hour hangover couldn’t trip us up here – but I worry about creeping bad habits and loss of focus through this high-carb stretch.
1/9 – North Carolina Central (7:00 p.m.)
SFN Analysis: A second consecutive first-year D-I foe? That’s just freaking ridiculous. Before UNC, no less – about as extreme of a change in temperature as you can get. Think Antarctica vs. the Kalahari Desert.
1/12 – at North Carolina (12:00 p.m., ESPN)
1/15 – at Clemson (7:00 p.m., RSN)
1/19 – Miami (8:00 p.m., RLF Split)
1/23 – Georgia Tech (7:00 p.m., ESPN2)
1/26 – at Florida State (1:30 p.m., RLF)
1/31 – at Duke (9:00 p.m., RLF)
2/3 – Wake Forest (12:00 p.m., RLF)
2/5 – Virginia Tech (7:00 p.m., ESPNU)
2/9 – at Maryland (8:00 p.m., RLF)
2/14 – at Boston College (7:00 p.m., ESPN or ESPN2)
2/16 – Clemson (3:00 p.m., RLF Split)
2/20 – North Carolina (7:00 p.m., ESPN)
2/24 – at Virginia (5:30 p.m., FSN)
2/27 – Florida State (7:00 p.m., ESPNU)
3/1 – Duke (12:00 p.m., CBS)
3/8 – at Wake Forest (12:00 p.m., RLF Split)
RSN – Regional Sports Network
FSN – Fox Sports Network
RLF – Raycom/Lincoln Financial Sports
FSNS – Fox Sports Net South
BJD95′s Initial Analysis:
We caught a good break with the ACC/Big Ten challenge game – otherwise, it’s a pretty lackluster schedule. I also don’t like the way it lays out – particularly the 15 days between the last legitimate opponent (12/27, at Seton Hall) and the ACC opener (1/12, at UNC). Naturally, I also don’t like opening ACC play with our most difficult matchup of the season. That just plain sucks. Once ACC play begins, no more OOC games. Don’t like that, either.
NC State’s final Sagarin rating last year was 64. Everyone certainly expects that the 2007-08 team will be stronger – so why does our best case scenario schedule (assuming we get South Carolina and Kansas State or ‘Nova in the last 2 rounds of the Old Spice Classic) involve playing only 3 OOC teams that rated higher, and 11 rated lower? If we get opponents other than the Gamecocks and Wildcats, that ratio could slip as low as an abhorrent 1:13. A maximum of 6 of our 14 opponents were rated between 1-200 last season, and we play #299 East Carolina on the fucking road. Great idea, Lee! Generously giving first year D-1 foes NC Central and Presbyterian default ratings of 300, the Sagarin average of Wolfpack OOC foes, assuming the best possible Old Spice opponents, is approximately 183.
One nice positive – at least three appearances on “big boy” ESPN, and at least 6 on ESPN/ESPN2 combined. The Pack only has one network game scheduled (home against Duke, on CBS), which is disappointing. Still, looks like we might be able to watch in HD 7 times this season.