Writer: How to be a ‘true believer’ in the college basketball calendar
Posted On June 8, 2021
I think I can be a true believer in the calendar, according to one writer who has devoted his entire career to college basketball.
In a piece for The College Basketball Today, former NBA writer Matt Bowen, who writes for ESPN, calls himself a “skeptical” about the calendar because he believes it creates a “false sense of urgency” to play at a certain time and place each season.
It’s not hard to see why, Bowen writes, because when it comes to schedules and schedulemakers, “they can be sneaky.”
He cites the NCAA’s schedule for the 2015-16 season, which was set before the current season began.
It included six games in mid-March, five in mid April, three in mid May, two in mid June, one in mid July, and one in August.
As Bowen notes, he’s skeptical because “if you look at the schedule, there are only three games in the first five weeks of the year that are played outside of the calendar.”
“So if you’re playing six games this week, that means there are three games that are at home,” Bowen wrote.
“You have a week where it’s a blowout.
You have a game that’s played at a neutral site.
It’s an unbalanced schedule.
It makes it tough for a team to win.
You’re getting into a zone where the schedule isn’t going to work.”
Bowen also wrote that the scheduling system “seems like it’s set up so that every team gets a certain number of games that they have to play before the next season starts.
So teams that have a chance to win a championship and win all three games are guaranteed a bye year.”
The NCAA doesn’t release any data on what constitutes a “win,” but Bowen notes that the SEC has won four conference titles in six seasons, the Big 12 has six, and the Pac-12 has three.
It also doesn’t break down how many games teams have to win to advance to the College Basketball Playoff, but Bowen suggests it’s probably about 10 percent of the teams in the NCAA tournament.
If you look closely, you can see why he’s not convinced.
If a team is expected to win the Big Ten championship in six weeks, and wins four games to get there, that’s a team that has to win eight games before the final three weeks.
That’s a lot of games, Bowen argues, because the NCAA schedule is designed to have teams win at least three games to advance into the championship game.
“We’re in a situation where we have three teams that are very likely to win that tournament and two teams that could be very close,” Bowen writes.
“If we don’t have that kind of schedule, it’s hard to get out of that zone.
It becomes even harder when the schedule is a lot easier to win.”
It also makes it hard for a top-ranked team to advance, Bowen points out, because “the better teams don’t win those games, so the schedule becomes even more difficult.”
The schedule also takes a lot longer to adjust to the schedule changes that occur when players, coaches, and front offices get hired or fired, Bowen says.
The NCAA’s scheduling formula for the 2017-18 season is as follows:A team must win at most five games before they can advance to play in the national championship gameA team can advance into a championship game only if they have a winning record in eight of the last nine regular season gamesA team with a winning percentage of 60 percent or better in its last 10 regular season contests is a team with two wins in its next six regular season winsA team is required to win six games by a 50-point margin before it can play in a national championshipgame.
The only other time the NCAA has had to adjust its schedule was in 1996-97, when it was moved to the new Big East, but that adjustment didn’t affect teams that had already played in the tournament that season.
The Big East is currently the only division in the nation to have a schedule with fewer games than that of the NCAA.
Bowen says that’s “a good thing.”
“I think if you look around the league, the league has made a lot more changes to the way they schedule the conference,” Bowen says, “and that’s because they have more people involved in the scheduling process.
It is a more sophisticated and complex process.”
The College Basketball Schedule in ReviewThis season is not the first time that the NCAA made major changes to its scheduling, but it is the first year in the modern era of college basketball that it has been forced to make changes.
This past season, the NCAA was forced to tweak its schedule after the Big East’s schedule was released.
The ACC was forced out of the Big Dance for the first two seasons of the conference’s existence because of the schedule.
And the SEC and Big 12, which had been at the forefront of the conferences scheduling changes in