Basketball Scheduling

Yesterday’s News and Observer article focused primarily on recruiting and the uncertain situation of incoming freshmen Davis, Werner, and Horner. My general take on this is that things will work out (perhaps with some attrition), but that it is nothing to obsess over. Just an inevitable part of a coaching change.

However, towards the end of the article, the N&O talks with Director of Basketball Operations Quentin Jackson. QJ had this to say about scheduling:

While Harris must focus on maintaining recruiting momentum, State’s new director of basketball operations, Quentin Jackson, already is looking at filling holes in future game schedules. About 95 percent of next season’s nonconference schedule is set, Jackson said Thursday, so he is focused on the 2007-08 season and beyond.

“We want to play the top teams in the country because that’s what we did when we played,” said Jackson, the starting point guard for the Wolfpack’s 1987 ACC Tournament championship team.

At the same time, he added, State will balance the nonconference schedule with games against mid-major conference opponents and non-ACC teams from within the state.

“I don’t want to schedule him out of a job,” Jackson joked, referring to Lowe. “But at the same time, to challenge the kids to reach their highest potential, if you [want to] do that consistently, you’re going to play some of those top 20 teams.”

I agreee 100%. A non-conference schedule needs to CHALLENGE a team. Playing a bunch of cupcakes can inflate your overall record and assure an NIT berth, but it hurts your RPI and you enter ACC play with bad habits that better non-conference foes would have exposed (and given you a chance to correct). It’s also good preparation for the NCAA Tournament to have played good teams (including mid-majors) other than familiar ACC foes. QJ also nicely addressed the strawman argument, noting that there are options other than Cupcake City and Murderer’s Row. You do need a few bunny games to experiment with player rotations and offensive/defensive sets. It’s when you have too many of these games that it hurts your program. Over the past 8 seasons, NC State has had an OOC strength of schedule of 200 or worse SIX times (thanks again, VaWolf). I look forward to Coach Lowe and QJ changing that.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

General NCS Basketball Sidney Lowe

24 Responses to Basketball Scheduling

  1. Wolfman300 05/13/2006 at 8:49 AM #

    I know this is about as off topic as you can get, and I apologize. I found this article about Phillip Rivers on ESPN and I’ll let SFN do what they will with it. By the way, I don’t post often, but I do check this site daily. Thanks for all the info and for all the work SFN!

  2. class of 74 05/13/2006 at 9:29 AM #

    There are many things in our basketball program that needed changing and this is one aspect that I agree with QJ. Let’s make 20 win seasons mean something once again not this crap we’ve endured the past 10 years!

    Our OOC should never fall below the top 100 ever! Over 200 OOC strength of schedule screws both the paying customers and ultimately the team and only provides a thin vail of cover for coaches and administrators.

  3. 70wolf 05/13/2006 at 9:44 AM #

    Whats the matter with Q ??? Doesn’t he understand that no one wants to play us except the bottom 50 teams in the Nation ( we played 8 teams wth RPI > 200 last year, most in the ACC) ?? Thats what Fowler told us…thats what Herbster told us …it must be true !!…boy has Q got a lot to learn !! (wink)

  4. Rochester 05/13/2006 at 10:38 AM #

    How about a meaningful preseason tournament as well? Nothing against the BCA and the Hispanic College Fund (by the way, what was the exact tie-in to our team on that one?), but those are nothing but an RPI drain. The only good thing about those games was that Herb would let the freshmen play.

    And is it too much wishful thinking for us to schedule Fordham? Bring Whitt home for a day and honor the 1983 team. Maybe for 2007-08 that would be an appropriate 25th anniversary celebration.

  5. Cardiff Giant 05/13/2006 at 11:47 AM #

    I demand that we remain involved in the Hispanic College Fund tournament. Millions of illegal aliens depend on us!

  6. PackMan 05/13/2006 at 11:48 AM #

    (off topic, i know- sorry)

    Here is a radio interview with LF with…

  7. RedTerror29 05/13/2006 at 12:02 PM #

    When will they get Q’s email address posted on the website so we can ask that he schedule a game with Memphis in the RBC Center?

  8. Texpack 05/13/2006 at 12:05 PM #

    This was music to my ears. When I was at State, with Coach Lowe, we played ND, Mich St, Memphis St, Mizzou, WVU, Louisville, etc. These games were breaks from the conference grind, but they generated a lot of fan and media interest. I look forward to some real scheduling. We will benefit from it in multiple ways. As a citizen of Northern Mexico (Texas) I don’t think the Hispanic tournament should be played in Gringo country. It should be moved to Northern Mexico.

  9. Hawkeye Whitney 05/13/2006 at 12:18 PM #

    That’s right Red Terror. I don’t think Calipari has ever had the chance to see our arena.

  10. packfan80 05/13/2006 at 12:39 PM #

    Calipari who?

  11. tractor57 05/13/2006 at 12:46 PM #

    I like fried calimari – lol
    I do applaud QJ in his goal to improve the out of conference scheduling. In the Herb administration I think everyone can say the out of conference schedule was not up to what we would expect. Eventually I would like to see a “Take on all comers” type of schedule but that will take a while.

  12. Joepack 05/13/2006 at 1:06 PM #

    I was also pleased to read QJ’s comments. I agree that it only helps us to play against quality non-conference opponents. Not only is it good for the team it’s a lot more fun for the fans. I was at NCSU from 86-91 and one of my fondest memories was a game against Kansas that was scheduled during the Christmas break. KU was ranked in the top 5 or 10 at the time (Dec. 1987, I think). For some reason the athletic department decided that the game would be general admission for students. No tickets were required, only an ID. I guess they didn’t expect a big crowd because of the holidays, but there was line from the box office at Reynolds down to the student store. Once the doors opened it was a mad dash to the student section behind the bench. We ended up on the 3rd row right behind the scorer’s table. It was great! Best seats I ever had in Reynolds. I’m pretty sure that there hasn’t been that much excitement and expectation surrounding a non-conference game in quite a while.

  13. 70wolf 05/13/2006 at 3:20 PM #

    Texpack – there was nothing Hispanic about the hispanic coaches tourney and there was nothing black about the black coaches tourney before that. Those tourneys were Herb and Jed bringing a bounch of loosers into the RBC so we could pad the already piss poor out of conference schedule with with 3 teams rated between 250 and 325 in the nation so we could end up with 20 wins. Check the data. We were running ~ 18 wins till we added the tourney then we started to pull out 20 wins a year. It was a complete waste of my time and money. The RBC was half empty for those games. All that will be fixed now that we bleed red again….I hope !

  14. vtpackfan 05/13/2006 at 3:29 PM #

    I know this was a topic thrown around some before. I was pleased to learn from this site the business side of scheduling. Better teams coming to Raleigh come at a premium. That said, there seems to be be two marked distinctions already as the leadership transition takes place(*).

    1) After flaunting millions to prespective coach’s that turned us down, we can assume that coach Lowe and his staff’s salaries will come under some of those early and lofty projections. Maybe Q can use this as leverage to help provide resources to help State get into the top tier with OOC shceduling. Once this ship has set sail it seems elementary that we can keep adrift by making our opponets sign reciprical contracts so we can recapture our investments we we play in their barn.

    2) With the change in coaching has come a change in attitude, specifically the will power to move forward on this key issue that was treated as a high risk/low reward one by the prior regime(*).

    (*)One member (not named Larry Davis) from the former regime is still around and could play a pivotal role in making this attitude shift into a working model.

  15. beowolf 05/13/2006 at 4:41 PM #

    TexPack, some of my favorite games in the ’80s were those barnburners we had against Kentucky and Louisville.

    I also remember playing at Oklahoma and Pano Fasoulas tearing off into the crowd to try to slug some drunken cowboy in the second half.

  16. WolfHunt 05/13/2006 at 4:57 PM #

    It would be nice to see our guys play in a preseason or Christmas tournament. Do they still have the Great Alaska Shootout?

  17. PapaJohn 05/13/2006 at 6:19 PM #

    What about the pre-season NIT tourney (or did they change the name)? We haven’t appear in that one in years. There’s usually a good collection of quality opponents. I’d love to see us face some prime, pre-ACC competition. Usually we play in the neighborhood of 12 games before the conference starts, let’s start with 3-4 easy ones, then interleave 4 majors and 4 quality mid-majors. By January we’d be toughened up for the conference wars.
    On another note, does anyone see our coaching staff as a magnet for players that want to be NBA guards? Sid and Monte played in the NBA, and Q for the Globetrotters. Remember the old saying that it’s guards that make the difference in the NCAA, and big men in the pros. It’ll be a while before we know, but I’m optomistic.
    Go Pack!

  18. vtpackfan 05/13/2006 at 6:53 PM #

    Not to split hairs, but I thought it went like “guard play gets you into the tournement, and the big men get you to the final four.” Anyways, it’s got to be an asset that State now brings to the table in the recruiting wars. Remember the era these men played in and what great guard play meant. Stephan Marbury is an examplee of a five star guard of this era. Back on the subject of OOC, do we know who we get from the Big 10 yet. On paper @Iowa last year helped out w/RPI, but talk about one of your all time ugly games.

  19. redfred2 05/13/2006 at 7:00 PM #

    What I think this is saying is that we will NOW have to earn our way into the NCAA tourney. If we play some real top RPI teams and shouldn’t happen to make it into the field of 64, it will still be a better learning exprience for the players and their futures than beating the non challenging OOC teams of the past years, only to take an early exit from the big dance in the end.

    No side stepping, no cutting corners, just a straight foward approach to improve the level of play and the basketball program. I liiiiiiiike it!

  20. stejen 05/13/2006 at 8:30 PM #

    I had the pleasure of knowing Q when we were at State. I am not saying we became good friends but I knew him well enough to know that he has what it takes to be a good public relations man. He not only is friendly but is genuinely pleasant and fun to be around but straighforward as well- not one of those “life of the party” type guys. Despite what the press is thinking about “this” choice I think, should he take a liking to it, he will do very well.
    As for the scheduling, I think it is great that we play better teams. I mean who even wants to go to the RBC center to see us play Tampa State or some other cream puff?

  21. Joepack 05/13/2006 at 9:01 PM #


    We host Michigan on 27-Nov. There was a post on SFN a couple of weeks ago detailing all of the pairings.

    SFN: Link

  22. JT 05/13/2006 at 9:14 PM #

    No doubt-the scheduling the past few years has been WAY weak. Even if the risk is to lose more games, State’s reward for having a solid schedule is well worth it come selection Sunday. And it’s a hell of a lot more interesting to get that early season gut check. What do the best teams have in common? They play a couple of really good games early. And they may lose. Then they kick ass later on.

  23. stejen 05/13/2006 at 9:37 PM #

    While I was at State I was fortunate enough to know Q. We never had the chance to become friends but I knew him well enough to know he has what it takes to be a good public relations man. He is very friendly, articulate, sincere and straightforward. He is not the “life of the party” type that many people associate basketball players as being. He will do a good job and, should he take a liking to the job, will do an outstanding job.

  24. StateFans 05/15/2006 at 8:09 AM #

    The way we remember it — we should have

    @ Cincinnatti
    @ West Virginia
    @ Seton Hall?

    Already scheduled for this season. That is more than a plenty tough games.

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