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Analysis: Ohio State Releases 2017-’18 Non-Con Schedule

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What should fans think about Ohio State’s upcoming non-conference schedule?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-South Regional-North Carolina vs Butler Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday afternoon, Ohio State released its full non-conference schedule for the upcoming 2017-’18 season. With a new head coach at the helm, this year figures to be an intriguing and important season for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Here’s a full look at the team’s non-con schedule:

  • 11/10 - Robert Morris
  • 11/12 - Radford
  • 11/16 - Texas Southern
  • 11/19 - Northeastern
  • 11/23 - vs Gonzaga (Portland, OR)
  • 11/24 - vs Florida/Stanford (Portland, OR)
  • 11/26 - vs Butler/Duke/Portland State/Texas (Portland, OR)
  • 11/29 - Clemson
  • 12/9 - William & Mary
  • 12/16 - Appalachian State
  • 12/23 - vs North Carolina (New Orleans, LA)
  • 12/30 - Miami (OH)

Fans will have to wait at least a few more weeks to get the Big Ten schedule for next season, but this should give them at least some look ahead to next season. Now, let’s dive into some thoughts on the schedule.

Thoughts

Let’s start with the elephant in the room. This is not an exceptionally well designed schedule. There are some nice opponents in there (Gonzaga and UNC), but this is not a balanced slate and lacks any true road games. That’s not exactly going to inspire confidence for the team as it prepares to enter conference play.

To provide some perspective, here’s how Ohio State’s upcoming non-con opponents rated in KenPom last season. Take a look below.

Ohio State’s Non-Con Opponent KenPom Ratings:

  • Rank: 1-50 - Gonzaga (1); UNC (3); Florida* (5); Clemson (45)
  • Rank: 51-100 - N/A
  • Rank: 101-150 - Stanford* (102); William & Mary (133)
  • Rank: 151-200 - Northeastern (159)
  • Rank: 201-250 - Texas Southern (212)
  • Rank: 251-300 - Robert Morris (266); Miami (OH); Radford (296)
  • Rank: 301-351 - N/A

While I did not include Ohio State’s potential opponents on November 26th (it’s too speculative to make it worth detailing those teams), the theme of this schedule is pretty obvious. There are a few really, really good opponents and a whole lot of nothing.

Teams like Clemson, Stanford, and William & Mary, admittedly, were not bad last season, but none of them were anything remarkable and don’t project to be all that great this season. Moreover, if Ohio State does end up playing Stanford, it likely won’t face Florida based on its potential matchups in Portland. The point here is that most of these lower teams are going to be pretty soft from an RPI perspective.

While the Buckeyes deserve credit for matchup up against some of college basketball’s best teams, this is a schedule that will likely send Ohio State to league play without any marquee wins and a handful of losses. Although the team could pull off a huge upset over a team like Gonzaga, more likely than not, Ohio State is going to lose to those elite opponents and build its record against bad teams. Whether that is the right move for Ohio State remains to be seen, but it seems like a risky proposition.

We will have to wait and see how this schedule fits with Ohio State’s conference slate this season. However, with the unbalanced nature of this slate, fans are going to have to be a bit worried about how things project for this season.