We're about a month or so away from the release of non-conference schedules, which always gets everyone excited about the upcoming basketball season. For some schools we know quite a bit of who they'll likely be taking on this season. For other schools it's all quiet on the Western Front. Here's what we know (or at least what we think we know) heading into the 2014-2015 MAC basketball season:
There isn't a lot out there about the Akron non-conference schedule, but we do know that they'll be playing in the Charleston Classic in, you guessed it, Charleston, South Carolina. This will be a pretty competitive tournament, as the other teams competing are Charlotte, Cornell, Drexel, Miami, Penn State, South Carolina and USC. Hopefully the Zips will avoid South Carolina in the bracket, as those teams played twice last year in back-to-back games (both Akron losses). I'd venture to say that the Zips will be playing some MEAC schools to pick up some December victories and will also continue the series with Cleveland State.
The Cardinals only have one confirmed game so far. They'll be playing against IUPUI at the Fairgrounds Coliseum in Indianapolis. They will also likely be playing return games at Southeast Missouri State, at Valparaiso, and home against Southern Illinois and James Madison.
There is nothing confirmed here, but the Falcons do owe return games to Western Kentucky and Detroit. There also could be a return trip to South Florida, where the Falcons lost in triple overtime the last time they were there. I would imagine that there's still a lot to piece together here for the new coaching staff.
Not too much out of Buffalo, just a game at St. Bonaventure per The Bona Blog. I'm guessing they'll play Niagara and/or Canisius too as those schools are right in their backyard.
The Chippewas will be hosting a multi-team event like they did last year on November 21st and 23rd per the Basketball Travelers website. Only one team is confirmed for this event (Maine) with two spots left to fill. They'll also likely get return games from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and SIU-Edwardsville.
Eastern Michigan is also hosting a multi-team event that same weekend. They'll be playing against UNC-Greensboro, Youngstown State and a team to be determined. They owe a return game to Wisconsin-Green Bay and will have two or three non-D1 teams on the schedule. The Eagles will also likely play another top ten team like they have in the past against the likes of Duke, Syracuse and Kentucky.
Of all the MAC schools, we know the most about the Flashes schedule. They're hosting a multi-team event the same weekend as Central and Eastern per the Basketball Travelers website. No teams are confirmed, but Kent State can usually bring in some quality mid-majors. Kent State is one of the teams competing in the 2014 WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational along with Alcorn State, North Dakota State and UTEP. They play North Dakota State on December 21st and play the winner/loser of UTEP and Alcorn State the next day.
They're also traveling to Allen Fieldhouse to take on the Kansas Jayhawks on December 30th. This will be the second straight year the Jayhawks have scheduled a MAC team; last year Toledo came to Lawrence and nearly knocked them off.
The RedHawks have nothing confirmed, but they do have a couple return games from Dayton and Missouri-Kansas City. They'll also likely return a game at Illinois-Chicago and Tennessee State. I'm going to say that Miami probably won't schedule Wilmington this year, as the D3 school knocked off the RedHawks last season.
Your guess is as good as mine on this one. I'm guessing they'll go to Dartmouth in a return game and get UC Riverside at home but those may not happen this year as a lot of traveling is involved. They'll take their lumps too as they'll likely schedule one or two Big Ten teams and maybe a few Big East teams.
The Bobcats' schedule is also one we know quite a lot about. They'll take part in the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii over Christmas break, which is the same tournament that Akron played in last year. The other teams involved are all strong too: Colorado, DePaul, George Washington, Hawaii, Loyola Marymount, Nebraska and Wichita State. They also get UNC-Wilmington at home on December 30th.
Belmont has yet to return a bracketbuster game from two years ago so that will likely happen this season. St. Bonaventure will also travel to Athens this year per The Bona Blog. UNC-Asheville and Morgan State may be making return trips to the Convocation Center as well.
I've read that the Rockets will play at Michigan this year, and that's gonna be a whole lot of blue and yellow. It should be a great game too and a chance for Toledo to pick up a huge win. The Rockets will be hosting a subregional of the Legends Classic per our own Blogging the Bracket. They'll play Bucknell, Detroit and Florida Atlantic November 14th-16th in a round robin format. Michigan is also participating in the Legends Classic, but the game between the two had been scheduled prior to the Legends Classic field being announced. What that means is Toledo will play one of the other schools involved in the tournament (VCU, Oregon or Villanova) with each one being a marquee game.
This message board topic (FWIW) mentions that Tod Kowalczyk stated the Rockets would also be playing at Duke and at Cleveland State, and that Arkansas State, Robert Morris and Oakland would make their way to Savage Arena this season. This year's schedule is shaping up to be a daunting one for the Rockets.
The defending MAC regular season and tournament champions will be playing in the Wooden Legacy tournament out in California from November 27th through the 30th. This looks like a fairly competitive tournament with a bunch of evenly matched teams in Long Beach State, Princeton, San Diego, San Jose State, UTEP, Washington and Xavier. Drake may make a return trip to Kalamazoo this year, as the Broncos played out in Iowa last year.
Also, UMass still has to play a few MAC teams per the football agreement, so they'll be sprinkled amongst the non-conference schedules. There are a lot of unknowns so far, but even the little bit of information that is out there gets us excited for basketball season.
Feel free to add any games you've heard about in the comments.