OOC Strength of Schedule

This is not going to be the most exciting entry you’ve ever read here. We have discussed State’s miserable OOC schedule for several months now…so I don’t think that there are many surprises coming to those that have been with us all season long.

All that is left is to do is to document just exactly how bad the OOC schedule was and what the other teams in the ACC had for schedules. So, while this table is not especially exciting, it still contains a few pieces of interesting information:

– This was the weakest OOC schedule that the ACC has played in the years available from the kenpom.com archives. This drop in OOC SOS was undoubtedly a key factor in dropping the ACC down to third place in the conference RPI rankings.

– WF, GT, BC, and FSU all played substantially weaker OOC schedules than in recent years. Time will tell if this was just a one-year lapse or if these schools have decided to follow the VT/NC State model of OOC scheduling.

– This is the third straight year that Clemson’s OOC schedule has been harder than “normalâ€? for them.

– Miami also has stepped up their schedule for the last two years.

– Once again, State ranks near the bottom of the conference in OOC SOS. I think that the RBC attendance numbers show that the fan base is not thrilled with the OOC schedule…but it just doesn’t seem to change.


Assuming that you are not a season-ticket holder, there are still at least two reasons why you should care about the OOC schedule:

– OOC SOS is one of the components that play into a team’s RPI. There is a reasonable correlation between RPI ranking and tournament seeding…especially for the first seven seeds. So, if your SOS downgrades your RPI, then it automatically works to lower your seed. (Compare Gonzaga’s AP rank, RPI rank, and seeding if you don’t believe me.)

– A weak OOC schedule + Marginal conference performance + Poor ACC tournament performance = NIT

Season ticket holders obviously have a right to complain about having to pay perfectly good money to watch 10 or 12 scrimmages against teams that couldn’t beat State even if Herb started all of the walk-ons. There is also a line of argument that harder OOC schedules would help get State ready for the tougher competition that they will face in the ACC. (I’m not a big believer in this last one, but it is not a completely unreasonable position.)


It can’t be that difficult. Six teams in the Missouri Valley Conference managed to figure it out how to get an OVERALL strength of schedule better than State’s while playing 18 games against teams from their own mid-major conference.


I don’t know why State consistently plays one of the easiest OOC schedules in the conference and the entire nation. I suspect that the Athletic Department budget plays a role, but know of no way to prove/disprove it.

In any event, the only reasonable conclusion to draw is that someone is getting the exact schedule that they want. The results are too consistent to draw any other conclusion….assuming that we can rule out gross incompetence. 😉

Data Source:

About VaWolf82

Engineer living in Central Va. and senior curmudgeon amongst SFN authors One wife, two kids, one dog, four vehicles on insurance, and four phones on cell plan...looking forward to empty nest status. Graduated 1982

General NCS Basketball

24 Responses to OOC Strength of Schedule

  1. Andy 03/27/2006 at 7:38 PM #

    Do you have a link to the formula used to calculate OOC? I feel like playing @bama @ND @Iowa, GW, and SH seems like it shouldnt be 60 spots worse than Maryland who played Zags, @GW, Minnesota, Arkansas, @ Temple

  2. Andy 03/27/2006 at 7:39 PM #

    and by 60 spots worse i mean 140

  3. VaWolf82 03/27/2006 at 8:21 PM #

    from kenpom.com:

    SOS (Strength of Schedule): This is the last two components of the RPI formula: (2/3) X Opponents Winning Pct. + (1/3) X Opponents Opponents Winning Pct.


    Without looking, I suspect that State played more games against teams ranked 200+ and this probably made a huge difference in the SOS between the two schools.

  4. Clarksa 03/27/2006 at 9:34 PM #

    Personally, my biggest problem with the OOC schedule is not the overall rank, it is the lack of marquee(sp?) opponents coming to the RBC. We get to watch and pay for these crap “tournaments” but there is no Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, etc to get excited about on the schedule. Was Syracuse the best opponent we can get?

  5. Texpack 03/27/2006 at 9:58 PM #

    When I was at Stae we played ND, Mich. St., Memphis State, @ Louisville, @ Missouri, etc. V knew that you had to play those games to be successful in the postseason. It also made the journey more fun.

  6. beowolf 03/27/2006 at 11:00 PM #

    *V knew that you had to play those games to be successful in the postseason.*

    I remember that. And I don’t think there’s any coincidence that Duke, UNC and Maryland — the last three ACC schools to win national championships — are Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in SOS.

  7. class of '74 03/28/2006 at 6:46 AM #

    In anything in life do you get better by shying away from competition? It’s just a basic fact you must challenge yourself to get better. And you do it the same darn way Bobby Bowden went to FSU years ago and turned that weakling around. You do it by going anywhere to play anyone who is great and yes you don’t always win but if you are competitive you will learn what it takes to be great.

    By trying to excuse away this terrible practice our athletic department has screwed all involved. I submit if our OOC SOS had been in the top 50 for the past 5 years we would not still be debating the Herb Sendek issue. We would be discussing the merits of another coach and quite likely a better program.

    It is nothing short of fradulent for a school that wants to be “nationally competitive” to annually schedule the way this athletic department does!!!

  8. VTPACKFAN 03/28/2006 at 7:31 AM #

    “We get to watch and pay for these crap “tournamentsâ€?”

    What would The Old Gray Fox say when reading this schedule. Dixie Classic was the sh_t, and now High School Tournements (GSK Invitational).

  9. Jeff 03/28/2006 at 7:35 AM #

    Andy, you are failing to take into the devastating impact that the other 8-10 extreme cupcakes have on our schedule. Playing a few decent teams (as other teams do) is severely impacted by the obscene number of games we play vs teams worse than #200 in the RPI (which other teams don’t).

    Guys…you are missing part of the point with the V-comparison. Playing a difficult OOC schedule is only beneficial if the team is already good enough for the experience to matter. Additionally, playing a difficult OOC schedule doesn’t help much if you can’t beat the teams. When you have a 10 record of winning only about 30% of your games vs the RPI’s Top 50, then I suggest that it is NOT a good idea to schedule those teams knowing that we can’t be competitive with them.

  10. VaWolf82 03/28/2006 at 8:13 AM #

    playing a difficult OOC schedule doesn’t help much if you can’t beat the teams.

    This year’s Maryland team is the perfect illustration of this point. While their SOS kept their RPI in the Top-50….they didn’t beat anyone of significance and went to the NIT again.

    In Feb, who would have thought that Maryland would end the year in the RPI Top-50 and State would not?


  11. Jeff 03/28/2006 at 8:27 AM #

    ^ This is why Sendek & State have chosen to go the EXTREME other route and rely on a padded, bloated, manufactured “total win” number to get State into the NCAA Tournament in 4 of the last 5 years on the bubble.

    In many cases, replace just ONE cupcake with ONE loss and we fail to make the Tournament. Our “belonging” in the tournament is further underscored by our pitiful 5-5 record over that time period – the least amount of wins of any other school that has made 5 straight NCAA Tournaments.

  12. VaWolf82 03/28/2006 at 8:54 AM #

    I am not convinced that the cupcake wins help make the Tourney except for the obvious point that there is no way that they could ever be a loss.

    State is walking a very fine line with their scheduling philosophy. There is not much difference between four of the last five NC State teams and the FSU team that went to the NIT this year.

  13. El Scrotcho 03/28/2006 at 9:37 AM #

    We’ve been one L away of missing it just about every year. If that’s not the definition of a bubble team I don’t know what is.

  14. David C. 03/28/2006 at 9:55 AM #

    its simple if we scheduled quality opponents someone might actually recognize the deficiencies of our head coach’s abilities….

  15. class of '74 03/28/2006 at 10:46 AM #

    Sorry but I don’t and can’t buy this crap of, oh well we really aren’t that good so let’s not push ourselves by playing top 50 teams. Again, my template is Bobby Bowden. He certainly did not have the talent or the program when he arrived at FSU to play the Nebraska’s and Auburn’s of the world but he knew darn well scheduling UT-Chat or Eastern Ky. wasn’t the way to go and history has proven him to be correct. Heck, common sense has proven to be correct.
    Cupcakes don’t make you stronger only fatter awaiting slaughter!

  16. Mike 03/28/2006 at 11:45 AM #

    I agree Class74, no doubt about it. I wold rather take my licks now and lose to good programs to make us stronger in the long run. Playing those teams will help us improve (or get us a coach) in the long run. I was talking to someone the other day about why State never gets the national games on TV, always UNC or Duke. One, they are willing to play them. UNC was down this year but played Kentucky, Arizona, and Duke played some tough games too against “name” schools. While Ky and AZ were also down this year, it is still a big name that gets notice. Congrats to George Mason on this year’s final 4, but next year are you going to get excited about UNC/George Mason on the tube? No. But UNC/Ky, as a State fan I still want to watch that game. Go KY!

    We have to step up to the challenge, but yes, we are afraid of losing and missing the tourney. That is all that matters, that we get into the tourney, and we have done it 5 times in a row!!!! What a streak. I would rather lose early than get whipped in the tournament that we had to smash cupcakes to qualify.

    Competition? Competition makes us all better. All you sorry souls syaing we cannot attract a top notch coach b/c of K and Roy – get real. K and Roy should BE the reason we can get a top notch coach, they want to beat the best.

    When I was a student, I regularly played pickup games in Carmichael against the team. Often it would be 8 squad members, and 2 of us like me. Funny thing, I always held my own in those games even though I wasn’t as talented. My game got better because I played in those games. I looked forward to the games against better players, ACC players, Chucky Brown, Vinny, and a few others who played in the NBA.

  17. class of '74 03/28/2006 at 12:12 PM #

    ^Thank you. And just like you, only in a different sport that being golf, I learned a heck of alot more by playing against the best amateur talent in the country than I ever did by beating some hack’s brains in. Strong competition made and continues to make this country great! If only the morons in our athletic department would adhere to this principle!

  18. VaWolf82 03/28/2006 at 4:18 PM #

    Playing those teams will help us improve…in the long run.

    Let me play Devil’s Advocate for a minute. If losing to superior teams actually helps, then why don’t the ACC losses help improve the team? Why don’t we see State get better as they go through the conference a second time?

  19. Mike 03/28/2006 at 5:22 PM #

    VaWolf, knowing where you stand I know you are playing devils advocate, but I am simply saying competition helps everyone improve. V always said it, K and Roy say it as well.

    Now to answer your Q as to why we dont get better the 2nd time around? You know why. We dont improve at all, we regress. The other teams improve and after playing them once, they learn and ADJUST, something we dont do. We never adjust, we stick to our plan.

  20. class of '74 03/28/2006 at 6:20 PM #

    Losing to anyone doesn’t help but not testing yourself by playing cupcakes is not a true test. Learning from the better programs is invaluable and sometimes you lose but hopefully you learn from those mistakes. But continue to play Eastern Kentucky in football and Stetson in basketball and you get exactly what we now have. Not mcuh to be proud about that’s certain.

  21. VaWolf82 03/28/2006 at 7:45 PM #

    I wish that I had thought of looking at this earlier. It would have made a nice addition to “Finishing Strong”



  1. StateFans Nation » Blog Archive » An Ugly Trend - 01/31/2007

    9MrKxQ Very informative post.Really thank you!

  2. StateFans Nation » Blog Archive » A Look Around the ACC - 02/15/2007

    […] It is worth noting that both VT and FSU made substantial improvements in their OOC SOS when compared to last year. In recent years, both teams suffered the consequences of super-weak OOC schedules when an 8-8 (VT – 2005) and a 9-7 (FSU-2006) ACC record was not enough to get an NCAAT bid. What do you think…..coincidence or lesson learned? […]

  3. StateFans Nation » Blog Archive » OOC Strength of Schedule - 03/30/2007

    […] 1999-2005 OOC Summary 1999-2006 OOC Summary […]

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