Today, LIU Brooklyn Athletics released the 2013-14 men’s basketball schedule. LIU will play a 29-game schedule with 13 non-conference games and 16 Northeast Conference games down from the 18 conference games they have played in the past several seasons.
The Blackbirds will play 12 home games, 9 homes games at the Steinberg Wellness Center and 3 games at the Barclays Center, NBA home of the Brooklyn Nets. They will play 15 true road games and 2 neutral-court games. The Blackbirds will face six teams that participated in postseason play including two 2013 NCAA tournament teams.
Today, I will focus on LIU Brooklyn’s non-conference schedule and give a brief breakdown on each non-conference opponent. Let’s take a look at the opponents the Blackbirds will face this season in non-conference play.
November 9, 2013 – St. Peter’s (Barclays Center – Brooklyn, NY; 12pm)
’12-’13 Record/Finish: 9-21 (3-15 MAAC)/10th (last)
’12-’13 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 283/282
Outlook: St. Peter’s for the second consecutive season finished well below .500 and finished last season in last place in the MAAC. One of their nine wins last season did come against LIU Brooklyn in their first road game after the Julian Boyd ACL injury. The Peacocks lost six seniors from last season’s team including three starters. They do return their leading scorer in redshirt junior guard Desi Washington (14.6 ppg) who lit up LIU for 28 points in their meeting last season. They also return starting senior guard Chris Burke. SPC’s eighth-year head coach John Dunne has brought in three freshman and three juco transfers onto his roster for this season. In what will be a tough MAAC conference this season, it looks like SPC will likely take their lumps again this season.
This will be the second straight season LIU will open their campaign at home although last season they opened their season at the Barclays Center. This is the first season opener at the Steinberg Wellness Center since the 2010-11 season when they opened the season against Norfolk State. This is the 35th meeting between LIU and SPC. LIU is 13-21 all-time vs St. Peter’s. The two teams have alternated wins and losses in their last six meetings with the home team winning each time.
November 12, 2013 - at Indiana (Assembly Hall – Bloomington, IN; 6pm) (Part of 2K Sports Classic)
’12-’13 Record/Finish: 29-7 (14-4 Big Ten/1st)
’12-’13 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 9/3
Postseason: NCAA Tournament – Sweet 16
Outlook: Last season, LIU was one NCAA tournament win from facing Indiana in the second round. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. Gone are NBA draftees Cody Zeller (4th pick overall-Charlotte) and one my favorite players of last season, Victor Oladipo (2nd pick overall – Orlando). But sixth-year head coach Tom Crean has plenty to work with for this season. Starting with sophomore point guard Yogi Ferrell. Ferrell started every game as a freshman last season averaging 7.6 ppg & 4.0 apg (lead team). Senior forward Will Sheehey (9.5 ppg) also returns. Both these players were on the 2013 USA Basketball Men’s World University Games Team. Also, Indiana wouldn’t be Indiana without landing some big time recruits. Crean signed FOUR ESPN Top 100 high school recruits with the top recruit being #13 overall 6’8″ power forward Noah Vonleh from Haverhill, MA. The Hoosiers will once again make a play for the Big Ten title along with Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State. This will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
Sad (for LIU fans) but true: Indiana has not lost a non-conference home game since Loyola (Md.) beat them in December, 2009. That is a span of 29 straight non-conference games without a loss. The one good thing is the game could likely be televised on the Big Ten Network.
November 22, 2013 - at UC Irvine (Bren Events Center – Irvine, CA; 10pm) (Part of 2K Sports Classic-subregional)
12-’13 Record/Finish: 21-16 (11-7 Big West/4th)
’12-’13 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 133/161
Postseason: CIT Tournament – Second Round
Outlook: UC Irvine had its first winning season in five seasons in ’12-’13. They look to build on the success they had last season which carried them to a CIT berth. They do lose two of their top three scorers from last season but do return 6’8″ junior F/C Will Davis II (9.7 ppg/6.8 rpg) who finished second on the team in scoring and first in rebounding. They also return senior guard Chris McNealy (9.2 ppg) who got late run as a starter including in their Big West tournament and CIT postseason run and sophomore guard Alex Young (9.2 ppg) who started in 29 of 37 games as a freshman. Last season, UC Irvine was 13-1 at home with the one loss going against LSU. Will be a very good early test for the Blackbirds. This is the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
November 23, 2013 - vs. Eastern Washington (Bren Events Center - Irvine, CA; 6pm) (Part of 2K Sports Classic-subregional)
’12-’13 Record/Finish: 10-21 (7-13 Big Sky/9th)
’12-’13 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 324/292
Outlook: It has been a rough go for EWU since they last made the NCAA tourney back in 2003-04. They have had just one winning season (’06-’07: 15-14) and have not been over .500 in conference since 2005-06. Third-year head coach Jim Hayford had some challenges last season including his leading scorer leaving the team just after the start of conference play. Hayford does has some talent returning in starters Venky Jois (12.3 ppg) and Parker Kelly (9.5 ppg). Jois was the Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year. EWU did have a tough time playing away from home last season as they were a combined 3-14 in road and neutral-site games. This is the first all-time meeting between the two schools.
November 23, 2013 - vs. Boston University (Bren Events Center - Irvine, CA; 4:30pm) (Part of 2K Sports Classic-subregional)
’12-’13 Record/Finish: 17-13 (11-5 America East/Tied for 2nd)
’12-’13 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 156/148
Postseason: CIT Tournament – First Round
Outlook: Boston U. and third-year head coach Joe Jones return plenty of talent from a team which played in the CIT last season. They return their top seven scorers including leading scorer senior guard D.J. Irving (14.2 ppg). They return four players who scored over 9.0 ppg including leading rebounder 6’8″ senior forward Dom Morris (11.6 ppg/6.4 rpg). The Terriers this season make the move from the America East conference to the Patriot League. The will likely be contenders this season with the likes of Bucknell and fellow newcomers Loyola (Md.) in their conference. Last season, the Terriers were respectable away from home, going a combined 7-10 in games away from campus. This will be the sixth all-time meeting between the schools. LIU is 4-1 vs Boston U. Will likely be another great early-season test for LIU head coach Jack Perri and the Blackbirds.
December 1, 2013 - Norfolk State (Steinberg Wellness Center – Brooklyn, NY; 2pm)
’12-’13 Record/Finish: 21-12 (16-0 MEAC/1st)
’12-’13 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 176/214
Postseason: NIT Tournament – First Round
Outlook: Norfolk State has had a magical last two seasons under former head coach Anthony Evans. The Spartans went a combined 47-22 and 29-3 in the MEAC. Two years ago they went to the NCAA tournament and upset Missouri in the “second round” and last season they went undefeated in conference but had to settle for the NIT after losing by 2 to Bethune-Cookman in MEAC tournament. Since then Evans has left for Florida International and NSU named associate head coach Robert Jones as their interim head coach. Coach Jones has most of his quality players returning. Five of his top six leading scorers are back including top scorers seniors Pendarvis Williams (14.3 ppg) and Malcolm Hawkins (11.6 ppg) as well as top rebounder sophomore Rashid Gaston (8.3 ppg/6.3 rpg). With some much talents returning plus a familiar new head coach, don’t be surprised to see Norfolk State back at the top of the MEAC once again. After a one-year absence last season, LIU and Norfolk State will meet for the third time in the last four seasons. NSU was a respectable 10-12 in combined games away from home last season. LIU did beat NSU in their only home game of the series back in November of 2010. They are 2-1 all-time against NSU.
December 5, 2013 – at Seton Hall (Prudential Center – Newark, NJ; TBA)
’12-’13 Record/Finish: 15-18 (3-15 Big East/Tied for 13th)
’12-’13 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 130/109
Outlook: For the second straight season, LIU will face the Seton Hall Pirates. Last season, LIU was manhandled by the Pirates in a rout at the Barclays Center. This season, the scene shifts to Newark. The Pirates are coming another subpar season in the Big East going a horrid 3-15. This could be a make or break year for Seton Hall’s head coach Kevin Willard who is entering his fourth season at the helm. Seton Hall hasn’t had a .500 season in conference since the year they last went to the NCAAs back in ’05-’06. Willard will need another productive season from senior Fuquan Edwin (16.5 ppg/5.8 rpg) who was the Pirates leading scorer a season ago. Seton Hall also returns senior center Gene Teague (11.2 ppg/7.2 rpg) and junior forward Brandon Mobley (9.0 ppg). Willard was able to grab a ESPN Top 100 recruit in point guard NJ native Jaren Sina. Seton Hall is entering the season on a 15-game home non-conference winning streak dating back to December 2010. The Pirates finished last season 8-7 at home. The all-time series between Seton Hall and LIU is now all tied at 16 apiece.
December 7, 2013 - at Lehigh (Stabler Arena - Bethlehem, PA; 7:30pm)
’12-’13 Record/Finish: 21-10 (10-4 Patriot/Tied for 2nd)
’12-’13 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 106/96
Postseason: CBI Tournament – First Round
Outlook: Last season, Lehigh was the pick to represent the Patriot League in the NCAAs but then NBA-draftee C. J. McCollum (10th pick overall-Portland) was lost for the season with a broken left foot after 12 games and gone was his 23.9 ppg. But Lehigh’s seventh-year head coach Brent Reed keep his team together and rallied behind his other senior to a successful season and a trip to the CBI. This season, Reed will have to depend on a new set of seniors in guards Mackey McKnight (11.9 ppg), B.J. Bailey (8.3 ppg) and Anthony D’Orazio (6.4 ppg). This is the third all-time meeting between LIU and Lehigh with Lehigh leading the series 2-0. Lehigh was 10-3 at home last season.
December 12, 2013 - at New Jersey Institute of Technology (Fleisher Athletic Center - Newark, NJ; 7pm)
’12-’13 Record/Finish: 16-13 (6-2 Great West/1st)
’12-’13 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 304/267
Outlook: NJIT will be playing this season as the nation’s only Division I independent. They will be using this season as pretty much an audition to gain entry into either the America East Conference or the Northeast Conference after the lowly five-team Great West conference disbanded after last season. NJIT head coach Jim Engles has done a fantastic job under difficult circumstances. NJIT finished with their first winning season last year (16-13) since joining Division I back in 2006-07. Unfortunately, this could be a long season for the Highlanders this year. They lose their top three scorers from last season to graduation. The top returning scorer is sophomore guard Ky Howard (7.2 ppg). This will be a very young team with just one senior and two juniors on the roster. NJIT was a good home team last season at 12-3 but that was with a senior top-heavy team. LIU is 2-0 all-time against the Highlanders.
December 18, 2013 - Lamar (Steinberg Wellness Center – Brooklyn, NY; 7pm)
’12-’13 Record/Finish: 3-28 (1-17 Southland/10th-last)
’12-’13 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 334/345
Outlook: In what was likely LIU’s worst loss of last season, Lamar who ended the season with just 3 wins, got one of those wins against the Blackbirds while they were going through their roughest stretch of the season. Lamar, who is coach by third-year head coach Pat Knight, the son of college hoops coaching legend Bob Knight, had a terrible season after getting his senior-loaded team into the NCAAs the year prior. Knight with a very young team (6 freshman, 2 sophomores) struggled to find wins. There were only three seniors on last season’s team but two of those were top three scorers including his leading scorer. Sophomore forward Rhon Mitchell is Lamar’s leading returning scorer (10.3 ppg). With even more youth being implement into the system this season and with Knight having to play guys with not as much experience more minutes, this could be another challenging season for the Cardinals. With the win last season, Lamar is 1-0 all-time against the Blackbirds.
December 21, 2013 - Temple (Barclays Center – Brooklyn, NY; 5:30pm) (Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational)
’12-’13 Record/Finish: 24-10 (11-5 Atlantic 10/Tied for 3rd)
’12-’13 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 42/62
Postseason: NCAA Tournament – Round of 32
Outlook: After over 30 years in the Atlantic 10 conference, Temple is moving to the brand new American Athletic Conference (Thanks football!). Temple has been enjoy plenty of success since Fran Dunphy took over the program from the legendary John Chaney. Dunphy has taken the Owls to the NCAAs in every year he has been the head coach with the exception of year one (’06-’07). Dunphy will face more of challenge this season. The Owls will face new teams and will do it without their four of their top five leading scorers from last season due to graduation. Junior forward Anthony Lee is the top returning scorer and rebounder (9.8 ppg/6.8 rpg). After Lee and junior guard Will Cummings, the rest of the roster don’t have a ton of experience. It will be interesting to see how Temple will fare this season. Last season with a veteran team, the Owls were a combined 12-7 away from home. This is the fourth all-time meeting between the schools. The Owls are so far undefeated at 3-0.
December 28, 2013 - at Sam Houston State (Johnson Coliseum – Huntsville, TX; 5pm)
’12-’13 Record/Finish: 17-17 (8-10 Southland/Tied for 5th)
’12-’13 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 227/231
Outlook: The Blackbirds makes the annual trip down to the Lone State state for two games. First, it’s the Sam Houston State Bearkats. Talk about a team with a bunch of upperclassman here. The Bearkats have 10 juniors and seniors on their roster this season. The majority of the team are junior college transfers and not a single player has been with the team for more than two seasons. Head coach Jason Hooten brings back his leading scorer and rebounder in senior forward James Thomas (9.6 ppg). This team like to play at slow to moderate pace as their 65.6 possessions per 40 minutes shows. They kept opponents to .951 points per possession last season. They weren’t a great home team last season going just 9-6 and had a below .500 record overall versus Division I schools (14-17). This will be the first meeting between the two teams.
December 30, 2013 - at Texas State (Strahan Coliseum - San Marcos, TX; 8pm)
’12-’13 Record/Finish: 12-22 (5-13 WAC/Tied for 5th)
’12-’13 Final RPI/KenPom rankings: 268/240
Outlook: Texas State is about to enter third conference in three years. After a long run in the Southland Conference, last season the Bobcats moved to the WAC. This season, they head to the Sun Belt Conference. There is a new head coach this season for Texas State in Danny Kaspar who arrives from Stephen F. Austin. Kaspar has a weapon on the roster in returning leading scorer and rebounder senior forward Joel Wright (17.8 ppg/6.9 rpg). Texas State last season was 6th in the nation in possessions per 40 minutes at 73 although Kaspar’s team usually play at a much more slower pace (SFA last season: 62.3 poss/40 – 323rd rank nationally). After a one year absence, LIU and Texas State will meet for the third time in four seasons. LIU is 2-0 lifetime against Texas State.
The average 2012-13 RPI for LIU’s non-conference opponents is 191. The average of 2012-13 KenPom ranking is 188. LIU Brooklyn’s RPI last season was 174 and their KenPom ranking was 191.
Tomorrow, I will shift the focus to LIU’s NEC schedule and take a look at LIU’s path through the NEC as they try to continue their unprecedented championship streak and chase after their fourth straight NEC men’s basketball title.