There were 349 teams ranked by the NCAA RPI last season. Both of UT Martin’s home games against Division I teams are against teams ranked LAST and SECOND TO LAST. That’s it — those two games, and two non Division I opponents. How is that even possible?
|Last Season RPI||Travel Distance (mi)|
|17||@ Arkansas State||185||138|
|3||@ Northern Kentucky||310||381|
|17||@ Illinois State||133||345|
|15||@ Tennessee Tech|
|31||@ Murray State|
|5||@ Austin Peay|
|12||@ Southeast Missouri|
|19||@ Eastern Illinois|
|21||@ SIU Edwardsville|
|26||@ Tennessee State|
Average Non-Conference RPI: 238.3
Average Home Non-Conference RPI: 348.0
Average Non-Conference Road Travel Distance: 479.2 miles
Non-Division I opponents: 2
This is my third year of breaking down non-conference schedules. I’ve never been at such a loss for words. There are 11 non-conference games against Division I opponents. More than half had an RPI of 300+ last year.
I’m not going this entire post bashing this schedule — you don’t have to get past the first two “Key Numbers’ to understand. (Again, 349 ranked teams. The average home RPI is…348.) So, what’s the silver lining here?
UT Martin should, for the first time in a long time, could enter conference play at or over .500. There is a realistic chance of that happening, even with such a road-heavy slate. Every home game is 100% winnable. And three of the first five games should be on TV or the internet. So, there’s that.
Road Trip to make
The two game Illinois road swing is intriguing if you can spare a few days — it’s in the middle of December (and an extended spell away from Martin Tennessee) against two teams they really should compete against, at least, they should if they’re taking a step up in the league under new head coach Heath Schroyer. While Butler has fallen from their perch, it’s still a great school to visit, if you don’t mind a long drive to Indy.
Don’t waste your money…
…sigh. There are so few home games, and so far apart, that you have to go those, right? So, um…I got nothing here. You’ll save money simply by making just three trips in November and December combined to the Elam Center.
Comparing The Schools
(Will be updated as more schedules are added)
|School||Non-Con RPI||Non-Con Home RPI||Road Travel Dist.||Non-DI Opp|
|Eastern Illinois||166.3||283.7||280.7 mi||2|
|Morehead State||170.1||235.0||605.3 mi.||2|
|Tennessee State||170.5||246.3||324.4 mi||2|
|Murray State||172.5||144.5||170.6 mi.||2|
|Southeast Missouri||176.7||221.2||571.8 mi.||2|
|Austin Peay||184.3||227.7||404.9 mi.||2|
|Jacksonville State||200.0||227.0||401.7 mi.||2|
|Tennessee Tech||208.9||240.8||561.3 mi.||2|
|Eastern Kentucky||215.5||252.5||512.0 mi.||2|
|UT Martin||238.3||348.0||479.2 mi.||2|