We'd like to think college basketball scheduling is a thoroughly considered, professional process among teams, conferences and the NCAA. But no. There's a message board where teams look for hook-ups. Let's explore the Craigslist of college hoops.
It's mostly weaker teams looking to fill out their schedules, but there are some big players here. Ever wonder how Kansas opened this season with Alcorn State and Central Arkansas? Probably through this board. For next season they're "seeking a guarantee game for November 21 or 22."
Guarantee game being, of course, a guaranteed win.
(Update: Nittany White Out points out that a "guarantee game" is simply a guaranteed home game, with no obligation for a home and home.)
Then there are teams like St. Bonaventure, who are offering themselves up as a guaranteed loss. They want to attract a "high major team" for a home and home series, including one at the 19,000 seat arena in Buffalo. That'd be big money for the Bonnies, but they've got to reassure the interested teams that they won't put up much of a fight: "We are losing two of our top three scorers for next season."
But that might not be good enough to convince high majors to play them instead of Wright State, which promises that they will "lose 9 players in the next two years-4 seniors in 2010(3 starters), 5 seniors in 2011."
It's competitive out there. Wyoming is offering to pay some of the travel budget for any school willing to fly to Laramie. Pepperdine advertises themselves thusly: "Get out of the cold and bring your team down to Southern California!"
It's a fascinating look behind the scenes of college scheduling, and goes a long way toward answering some of the inexplicable early-season matchups. One wonders what the bidding war for Virginia Tech's games was like, and what Longwood and Campbell had to do to get on the schedule.
Men's Schedule Board [Basketball Travelers Inc.]