With basketball season (somehow) right around the corner, I thought it would be good to, you know, actually start thinking about shooty hoops. What better way to do that than take a look at Tech’s schedule, how we stack up, and what we can expect from some of the tougher games on our schedule?
Dunkin’ Dogs in 2020-21
The Bulldogs are led by Eric Konkol, who is coming into his sixth season as the suit-wearing dude with a clipboard on the bench. Under Konkol, Tech has gone 105-57, 55-35 in CUSA play.
We did a more detailed look at the returning players and production on the podcast (Episode #66!), but for now suffice to say that two mainstays (DayDay Bracey and Derric Jean) are gone, and the Dogs will have some work to do to replace them. With that being said, Tech does return a number of really talented core players from last season in seniors Amorie Archibald, Kalob LeDoux, Andrew Gordon and underclassmen Isaiah Crawford and Cobe Williams. It will be interesting to see who the starting five are, and if newcomers Kenny Hunter and Kenneth Lofton can have any immediate impact as freshmen.
Tech’s Preseason Rankings (out of 357)
CBS Sports: #110
The definition of a very good mid-major program a season ago. No. 71 at KenPom, a 22-8 record and would have been capable of earning C-USA’s auto bid.Matt Norlander, CBS Sports
NCAA NET (end of 2020): #87
CUSA Media: Tech will finish 7th in conference play.
|Date||Opponent||KenPom||KenPom Score||CBS Rank|
|11/27/20||UT Arlington||159||W, 74-67 (73%)||179|
|11/29/20||Northwestern St||268||W, 80-67 (88%)||231|
|12/3/20||ULM||292||W, 75-62 (89%)||300|
|12/9/20||Southeastern||322||W, 81-65 (93%)||327|
|12/12/20||@ULL||158||W, 75-73 (59%)||196|
|12/15/20||Jackson St.||305||W, 75-61 (90%)||285|
|12/19/20||Lamar||245||W, 77-65 (86%)||212|
|12/22/20||@ULM||292||W, 73-64 (79%)||300|
|1/1/21||Marshall||96||W, 77-76 (54%)||146|
|1/2/21||Marshall||96||W, 77-76 (54%)||146|
|1/8/21||@WKU||81||L, 75-69 (31%)||71|
|1/9/21||@WKU||81||L, 75-69 (31%)||71|
|1/15/21||UTSA||145||W, 79-73 (69%)||166|
|1/16/21||UTSA||145||W, 79-73 (69%)||166|
|1/22/21||@UTEP||192||W, 71-66 (65%)||158|
|1/23/21||@UTEP||192||W, 71-66 (65%)||158|
|1/28/21||@USM||276||W, 74-65 (77%)||249|
|1/30/21||USM||276||W, 76-63 (88%)||249|
|2/5/21||@UNT||103||L, 70-67 (41%)||87|
|2/6/21||@UNT||103||L, 70-67 (41%)||87|
|2/12/21||UAB||116||W, 74-71 (61%)||203|
|2/13/21||UAB||116||W, 74-71 (61%)||203|
|2/19/21||@MTSU||161||W, 73-71 (59%)||250|
|2/20/21||@MTSU||161||W, 73-71 (59%)||250|
|2/26/21||Rice||260||W, 78-66 (87%)||307|
|2/27/21||Rice||260||W, 78-66 (87%)||307|
My initial reaction to this schedule is… How on earth did the CUSA Media pick Tech to finish 7th? I understand that we’re losing two leaders in Jean and Bracey, but this schedule seems pretty easy. KenPom projects Tech as the winner in 24 of 28 games (14 of 18 conference games), but predicts that Tech will finish the season 18-8 and 11-7 in conference play.
With the scheduling oddities this year (conference games are matched up in pairs, with games on Friday/Saturday against the same opponent in the same location), it seems like the toughest matchups here are on the road at North Texas and on the road at WKU. Luckily, the Dogs get Marshall and UAB at home. Tech also has the benefit of playing the two lowest ranking CUSA teams in Rice and USM, thanks to the CUSA West being pretty weak at the bottom. Unfortunately, the cross-divisional opponents (WKU, Marshall, MTSU) are #1, #2, and #4 in the eastern division.
Overall, this seems like a decent schedule. It’s not going to be good enough to get into the NCAA Tournament without winning the conference title, but it’s a schedule that should lead to a lot of wins in the regular season.