As I noted in late June, when the OOC was released, it’s funny how quick Hofstra is to unveil the men’s basketball schedule when it’s one deserving of accolades. Last year’s schedule was released in blink-and-you-miss-it fashion in mid-September. But this year's schedule was released yesterday, which means students will know the dates of the games they won’t attend before they even arrive on campus!
Anyone who is not excited about this year’s schedule isn’t reading this, so I can safely call those folks booger-headed drones. Playing Kansas and UConn in the season’s first four days marks the greatest opening 1-2 punch since “Go” and “Animal” led off Pearl Jam’s Vs.
(Yes I know Hofstra plays Colgate in the first round of the Preseason NIT, which I guess means UConn is technically “Dissident” in this analogy, but it’s my blog and my bias so I’m going with “Go” and “Animal” and assuming Hofstra and UConn win their first-round games to set up My Worlds Colliding Moment. Boy, that second-round game is going to be the mother of all letdowns if Colgate plays UConn or Hofstra plays Yale)
Where was I? Oh yes. The rest of the schedule is Vs.-worthy as well, with the Dutchmen in line to earn at least one home game in the consolation bracket of the NIT before they end the home portion of the non-conference schedule with tilts against Fairfield, Manhattan and New Hampshire before facing St. John’s and, perhaps, Davidson in the Holiday Festival.
(Apparently, the unofficial metro-area Big Five is down to two with Stony Brook, St. Francis and Fordham off the schedule. Does this mean Hofstra gets to call itself the Big Five champ and raise a banner by beating Manhattan, a la 1992-93 when the Dutchmen went 2-0 against Central Connecticut to “win” the “ECC” championship?)
The pacing of CAA schedule, at first glance, seems a little friendlier to the Dutchmen this year than last. Hofstra once again visits Towson in the look-but-don’t-touch conference opener the first Saturday of December. There’s no avoiding the barrage of conference games immediately after New Year’s, and the task ahead of the Dutch seems pretty imposing with a trip to Georgia State sandwiched around home dates against William & Mary and Towson, all in a five-day span.
Of course, last year, Drexel-at Northeastern-Delaware in a five-day span seemed pretty inviting, and it took everything the Dutchmen had not to go 0-3. And give me a trip to Georgia State at the beginning of the season, when it tends to still be working out the kinks, than when the Panthers are clicking at the end.
Along those lines, it’s ironic—in that it’s not ironic at all—that the Dutchmen’s Senior Day opponent is Georgia State, which thrashed Hofstra in its Senior Night last year. I’d just like to say, once again, that I can’t wait to see what Life With Corny has in store for Senior Day.
The Dutchmen have four midweek trips to CAA opponents, one fewer than last year. And two of those trips are short jaunts to Boston and Delaware. The Dutchmen take three trips to Virginia and get three days of rest following weekend games at Old Dominion and William & Mary.
More about the road: The Dutchmen embark on only two multi-game road trips, one of which is the Kansas-NIT combo. The only multi- game road trip after New Year’s occurs when the Dutchmen travel to Wilmington and Delaware Feb. 13-16. Last year Hofstra had three two-game road trips following Jan. 1 (including the Bracket Buster at Fairfield followed by Georgia State in February) and five overall, counting the season-opening Charleston Classic.
All in all, it sounds like a pretty good schedule, challenging yet not overwhelming. I’m going to hold off on predicting a record for the Dutchmen until I can further examine the schedule and break it down and evaluate the entire league and oh the hell with it, I see 37-2, at least, and I’ll spend the weekend figuring out if that’s too pessimistic. In the meantime, sit tight and come back Monday morning for a Q&A with Tom Pecora.