ESPN is breaking down all the nonconference schedules “of each and every team in a dozen different leagues”. Since the BIG EAST is technically still alive (kinda like Al Davis), today they analyzed all 16 teams and ranked their schedule from a scale of 1-10. What is Ed Cooley looking at in his first OOC run with the Friars? Not as easy as UCONN (they got a ONE. way to defend your crown) but nowhere near as hard as St. John’s (10/10).
Toughest: at Fairfield (Nov. 14), South Padre Invitational (Nov. 25-26)
Next-toughest: at South Carolina (Dec. 1), Boston College (Dec. 8), at Rhode Island (Dec. 23)
The rest: Fairleigh Dickinson (Nov. 12), Florida A&M (Nov. 19), Southern (Nov. 22), Holy Cross (Nov. 29), Brown (Dec. 5), Bryant (Dec. 10), New Hampshire (Dec. 20)
Toughness scale (1-10): 4 — The Friars do have a difficult slate for a team that won four Big East games and 15 overall and now has a new coach in Ed Cooley. Iowa State should be a sleeper in the Big 12 and Northern Iowa is never an easy out. Those will be games in South Padre Island, Texas. Cooley also has to go back to Fairfield, where he built a nice MAAC program. Winning at South Carolina and Rhode Island won’t be easy, but both programs are in transition at the moment, as is Boston College.