|vs Wheeling Jesuit||11/6|
|vs South Dakota State||11/14|
|vs Montana State||11/21|
|at Grand Canyon||11/25|
|at St. Bonaventure||12/3|
|at Robert Morris||12/7|
Today, over the lunch hour, UB Athletics released the teams 2014 out of conference schedule for the mens basketball team. Matt was on line and did a great play by play analysis as the department teased out the whole schedule.
A Big thank you to Matt!
First I'd like to hat tip the Athletics communications department for not spending a week on "big news" tweets or teasing this out over some ridiculously long period of time. Word came out this morning that the department planned to release the schedule and a short while later the @ubathletics twitter account started to deal information.
Second I would like to acknowledge that, for the first time in recent memory, UB basketball seemed to have all of its out of conference ducks in a row rather early in the year. Since I started Bull Run five years ago a good portion of the summer and fall was spent looking at the schedules of the other 300-plus Division One schools to cobble together a schedule that UB did not release until October.
This year it's going to be other fan bases looking at our schedule to figure out their travel plans. While the Buffalo media, and the armatures here at Bull Run, have months to work on basketball previews.
Now onto the schedule...
I've seen many people call this "The Best Schedule that UB hoops has had". That is something I am not willing to say.
In the past we hosted UConn and North Carolina, and we made trips to some other big names. Those may or may not be better schedules. Really once an out of conference slate gets this good for Buffalo there is no point in trying to rank it against other solid seasons.
I will say though that this is easily the best schedule since Bull Run started covering UB Athletics in 2009.
Exhibition game against .... who cares..
We kick off with an exhibition game. As always if it's not an exhibition against Buff State or another local Buffalo lower division team I don't really care. I'd rather not have these games, outside of local teams, but every college team has them and Buff State or ECC might not be keen on playing UB every year.
Make up game:
Buffalo gets a makeup game against South Dakota State. This is technically a return game from the last Bracket Buster ever played by Buffalo. Last season we were supposed to play the Jackrabbits towards the end of the non conference slate but a snow storm forced the game to be cancelled.
Then UB gets a trip to Kentucky but this is not, as far as I know, a paycheck game. This is part of a four game tournament which sees UB play the Wildcats, Texas State, Montana State, and Grand Canyon. Three of those games are on the road.
I'm sure some older Kentucky fans are looking forward to some small measure of revenge on Bobby Hurley, who led Duke past the Wildcats during one of his NCAA championship runs.
Big 4 games:
UB gave away a home game against Canisius last year to play a game at the first Niagara Center. This year it's the Griffs turn to pass on a home game as the two teams will once again meet in downtown Buffalo. It's not a terrible spot for UB to open up their Big 4 slate on November 29th.
Buffalo plays their other two Big Four Opponents in December. They travel to Saint Bonaventure on the 3rd and host Niagara on the 19th.
Last season UB hosted Robert Morris and Binghamton while they traveled to Drexel. This season the tables turn and UB has to go play at Bingo and Robert Morris while Drexel will come play at Buffalo.
Another top team:
Three days after Christmas UB will travel to Wisconsin to take on the Badgers. Two games against two Final Four teams is the tagline for this season's schedule. Unlike the Kentucky game this is a one and done paycheck game.
Wrapping it up:
UB closes with a home game against Cornell. January 3rd is a hard date to sell tickets for with school being out of session so bringing in a team whose fanbase is a four hour drive away is a nice way to try an mitigate a potential fall off in attendance.
Of the 13 games, 11 are winnable contests and the two in which UB faces a steep uphill fight are against nationally recognized names. I like putting the two power teams towards the beginning and end of the schedule. It gives the Bulls an early trial by fire and a late reality check before conference play begins.
There is nothing UB could have done better outside of getting a big name team into Amherst or setting up the exhibition game against a local team who might motivate higher attendance.