The 2019-2020 season is starting to take shape, as the SEC recently released their draw for the upcoming conference basketball season. Before we jump into the results, here’s a quick primer on the 18-game scheduling format.
- Six games are split among three permanent home-and-home opponents
- Four games are split among two rotating home-and-home opponents
- Four games are played against rotating “road only” opponents
- Four games are played against rotating “home only” opponents
It’s a system that appears clunky at first glance, but it actually does a nice job creating games against every SEC team while rotating a pretty fresh crop of teams through Reed Arena on an annual basis.
Personally, I look for three things in this announcement:
- Top-half SEC teams in the “home only” bucket
- Bottom-half SEC teams in the “road only” bucket
- The worst possible opponents in the “rotating home and home” bucket
Let’s check the results
Rotating Home Games: Kentucky, Ole Miss, Florida, Mississippi State
If the end goal is “we want the good teams at home, and we only want them once,” it’s hard to argue this result. All four of these teams went to the dance last year, and when you add our permanent home game against LSU and our non-conference gem against Gonzaga, we’re looking at a pretty dang solid home schedule.
Rotating Away Games: Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
This one works, too. Sure, Auburn and Tennessee are almost certainly games where we’ll be huge road underdogs, but I could see us grabbing wins at both Alabama and Vanderbilt next year. Alabama is an outgoing transfer nightmare after the departure of Avery Johnson, and Vanderbilt managed to throw up an 0-17 goose egg in last season’s SEC campaign. Those games can be had.
Rotating Home-and-Homes: South Carolina, Georgia
This is the single biggest piece of the puzzle, and I have to say… we killed it. South Carolina doesn’t appear to return much from a team that overachieved in conference play after some truly stunning early losses to sub DI opposition, and Georgia managed to have a worse year than we did.
We can grab three of these four.
What does it all mean?
Well, context is key. With our current roster construction, it probably means the difference between a potential bubble run and another year in sub-NIT land, but there’s a huge piece of the puzzle still outstanding.
#Hokies star Kerry Blackshear announces on Instagram he is withdrawing from the draft and is still evaluating his college options— Mark Berman (@BermanRoanoke) May 30, 2019
Second team all-ACC Virginia Tech forward Kerry Blackshear removed his name from NBA Draft consideration and entered the transfer portal, instantly vaulting to the top of every “available grad transfer” list in existence.
His relationship with Buzz has A&M listed among the finalists, with Florida (his home) and Kentucky (with their NBA prospect machine and whatnot) also thought to be heavily in the mix.
If we pull this off, this schedule rapidly accelerates the timeline for Buzz’s turnaround. Add Blackshear to this squad, and we’re ready to do some legitimate damage in year one.