We're 10 games into the season, so it is time to start thinking about the postseason and our RPI. Last year we dropped a pair of non-conference games away from Mackey Arena, and they were to the best opponents we played. It looks like this year will be much of the same. Alabama and Xavier are the two best teams we have faced, but we have a couple of possible NCAA teams already in our win columns in Iona, Temple, and Miami. Here is what our full non-conference schedule and what everyone has been up to:
For the record, our own RPI is currently 58, right between Cleveland State and Indiana
Northern Illinois - RPI: 272, Record: 0-7 - This is by far the worst team we have played. The Huskies just dropped a game to a non-Division I team. They are that bad. They lost to Nebraska-Omaha 77-72, who is in the first year of a transition to Division I. The closest they have come to a win is a 59-57 loss to Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
High Point - RPI: 300, Record: 2-6 - It is official: We avoided disaster in nearly losing to High Point. Their lone Division I win came in overtime over The Citadel. This is a team that has played a ton of close games, however. Five of their losses are by five points or less.
Iona - RPI: 25, Record: 7-1 - Top 50 RPI wins are the life-blood of an NCAA Tournament resume, and top 25 wins are even better. Thanks to the Gaels, we have a top 25 win already. This will likely drop as they get into their conference, but we're the only team that has beaten them thus far. So far they are 3-0 on an eight game road swing and own a win over a major conference team in Maryland. The more wins they get int eh next five, all away from home, the better.
Temple - RPI: 43, Record 5-2 - This is another top 50 win on our resume, and one that can likely stay there. Temple does have a bad loss to Bowling Green, but playing in the Atlantic 10 against good teams like Dayton, St. Louis, and Xavier will help the Owls immensely. They also have a nice win over Wichita State, one of the favorites in the MVC. Their next two games against Villanova and Texas would be nice wins for them to get in order to help us.
Alabama - RPI: 13, Record: 7-2 - I was afraid of this, mostly because the SEC sucks out loud at the sport of basketball outside of Kentucky. Alabama has fallen in their last two games to Georgetown and Dayton. They are still an NCAA team, but a next level team wins both of those games against good, but not great competition.
Western Michigan - RPI: 184, Record: 1-6 - The Broncos have played one of the toughest schedules in the country, but have only beaten a Division II team. Gonzaga, Iona, and Temple have beaten them, so if they can start winning some games we might get a small boost from them.
Coppin State - RPI: 119, Record: 3-4 - Coppin State has an odd schedule. They are 3-0 against non-D1 competition, but they have played Purdue, Oklahoma, and Connecticut in their other games. We should have an interesting litmus test Sunday when they play at Illinois, giving us an idea of how well they play against another opponent.
Miami - RPI: 82, Record: 5-3 - The Hurricanes need a big win, and they have a chance to get a nice one this weekend at West Virginia. They have missed out on chances to get good wins at Mississippi and at home against Memphis. Right now there best wins are against Rutgers and UMass.
Xavier - RPI: 20, Record: 7-0 - It really frustrates me that this ended up being a loss, because you don't get a chance to get many top 25 wins on the road. This was a huge loss for us. It could cost us a seed line in the tournament, depending on what Xavier does the rest of the season. They beat Butler by 12 last night at Hinkle.
Western Carolina - RPI 209, Record: 5-5 - Yes, it is alarming that we had to survive another sub.-200 team at home. Quite simply, that should not be happening, not when we have a 23 game home winning streak.
Eastern Michigan - RPI: 246, Record: 4-4 - This is another mid-level MAC team at best, so it is another warning sign if we struggle against them this coming Saturday. They have a win against an Indiana team already when they beat IUPUI by two.
Butler - RPI: 205, Record: 4-5 - One of their wins is a non-division I win, but this is not the same Butler teams as the past few years. They have lost a conference game already (Valparaiso), and they have lost to every big name opponent they have faced. Evansville, Indiana, Louisville, and Xavier all own wins over them already. Of those, only Evansville is a bad loss, but they are likely only making the NCAA tournament if they win the Horizon League.
IPFW - RPI: 217, Record: 4-3 - The Mastodons have already started 1-1 in the Summit League and they got a nice non-conference win over Valparaiso this weekend, but they still shouldn't be a danger to us. They, too, lost to Xavier, and they also have a loss to Iowa.