Charlie Coles' philosophy of scheduling was to schedule many road games against the best in the country to get his team ready for conference play. John Cooper has a different mindset, and that has shown in his first two nonconference schedules. Gone are the Kentuckys, Kansases and Dukes. Now, the RedHawks are focusing on good mid-majors and not so many cupcakes to help balance out the tough schedule. Miami is a darkhorse to get into the top half of the league next season, and this schedule should help them get there.
November 16th - Southern Utah (2-27), RPI: 345, Ken Pom: 351
They were literally the worst team in the nation. It doesn't get much worse than that. This game will be a nice warm-up to start the season off right.
November 19th - Evansville (14-19), RPI: 210, Ken Pom: 210
The Aces had a down year after a pretty good one the year before. This team will be improved though, as they don't lose a graduating senior and return leading scorer D.J. Balentine. He led the Missouri Valley in scoring at 23 points per game and was third in assists per game. Evansville beat Miami 78-65 in Evansville last year, so the RedHawks will be looking to return the favor this season.
November 22nd - Liberty (11-21), RPI: 313, Ken Pom: 287
This game starts off the Cancun Challenge for the RedHawks. It's not part of the bracket, but both teams are involved in the tournament. The Flames were pretty bad last year and haven't had a period of sustainable success as a program. They lose three of their top four leading scorers from last year and only return two players who scored more than five points per game. This should be another easy win for Miami.
November 25th - Northwestern (14-19), RPI: 123, Ken Pom: 133
Everyone knows about Northwestern and their basketball history. It hasn't ever been pretty for the Wildcats, as every season they seem to be on the rise but just can never make it happen. This is the first bracketed game for the Cancun Challenge to be played in the Mexican city. The Wildcats lose their top two scorers in Drew Crawford and JerShon Cobb but are bringing in a talented freshmen class. This would be a great opportunity for the RedHawks to pick up a win over a Big Ten school.
November 26th - Northern Iowa (16-15)/Virginia Tech (9-22)
These are both decent teams, even though their record may speak otherwise. Northern Iowa broke a five-year string of twenty-win seasons last year and didn't make the postseason. No notable seniors leave though and the Panthers welcome in Virginia transfer Paul Jesperson, who started in almost all of the Cavaliers' games two years ago.
The Hokies aren't known for basketball and their record last year speaks to how the basketball team lands on the pecking order of athletics at Virginia Tech. Gone are impact players Jarell Eddie (graduation), Ben Emelogu (transfer) and Trevor Thompson (transfer). Adam Smith returns and the Hokies picked up two nice transfers in Maryland's Seth Allen and South Florida's Zach LeDay. Unfortunately they won't be able to play this year. New head coach Buzz Williams will try to turn around this program that hasn't been able to contain any kind of consistency.
November 30th - Elon (18-14), RPI: 163, Ken Pom: 203
The Phoenix have been a pretty solid mid-major program over the past couple of years. Elon used that success to make the jump from the Southern Conference to the Colonial Athletic Association this year. The personnel losses are pretty substantial as four of the top five scorers from last season depart due to graduation. Tanner Samson and Austin Hamilton will have to be the ones to to try to lead Elon to another winning season.
December 3rd - Dayton (26-11), RPI: 42, Ken Pom: 38
The nation fell in love with the Flyers after their unthinkable Elite Eight run which saw them beat Ohio State, Syracuse and Stanford. Archie Miller will try to replicate that success without the services over Devin Oliver, who averaged twelve points and eight rebounds his senior year. Dyshawn Pierre and Jordan Sibert return, and they'll be primed to capitalize on another year of experience in Miller's system. It'll be tough to win, but the home crowd should be rocking for the biggest game at Millett Hall in awhile.
December 6th - at IPFW (25-11), RPI: 120, Ken Pom: 150
The Mastadons had their best record in school history last year and made the postseason for the first time, beating Akron in the first round of the CIT. After the season Head Coach Tony Jasick up and left to Jacksonville, so IPFW promoted assistant coach Jon Coffman to take the reins. They lose leading scorer Luis Jacobo but return a solid nucleus of senior Steve Forbes, sophomore Mo Evans and junior Joe Reed. Miami beat IPFW in Millett Hall last year 94-87.
December 14th - at Wright State (21-15), RPI: 177, Ken Pom: 124
The meat of the schedule ends with a short trip up route 75 to Dayton where they take on the third-best team in the Horizon League from last season. The Raiders participated in the postseason last year, earning a spot in the CIT. Four seniors graduate and they all were major contributors to the team last season. That doesn't mean the cupboard is bare, as both Reggie Arceneaux and J.T. Yoho return. Miami beat Wright State 59-56 last season.
December 17th - Longwood (8-24), RPI: 338, Ken Pom: 343
The Lancers call Farmville, Virginia home, and yes that is the actual name of the city. Also, this team is quite terrible. They've been playing Division I basketball for nine years but have just one winning season to their name. On top of that, this team was decimated by transfers. Heading out are Jeyani Dublin (10.4 points per game), Lucas Woodhouse (11.5 points per game) and Karl Ziegler (12 points per game). They do bring in Illinois transfer Ibby Djimde and Tulane transfer Lotanna Nwogbo, but that's not going to be enough.
December 22/23 - at Ohio State (25-10), RPI: 24, Ken Pom: 20
This game isn't officially on the schedule yet, but it's been heavily rumored. It'll likely be at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, home of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Buckeyes lose their top three leading scorers in LaQuinton Ross, Lenzelle Smith, Jr. and Aaron Craft but are bringing in another highly ranked recruiting class. While it'll be a loss, at least the RedHawks will get $95,000 for their troubles.
(UPDATE: This game will likely be on the 23rd, as the Columbus Blue Jackets are playing at Nationwide on the 22nd)
December 29th - Capital (12-14)
Under .500 Division III team? BETTER WATCH OUT.
January 3rd - UMKC (10-20), RPI: 252, Ken Pom: 273
The 'Roos have just one winning season in the last nine and that streak will likely continue this season. Although they lose three of their top five leading scorers, they return Martez Harrison who led the team in scoring as a freshman. There's not much depth after him though. UMKC beat Miami last year 69-55, so this is yet another game where the RedHawks hope to get them back.
Nonconference Schedule Ranking: (3 of 12)
1. Buffalo (181.69)
2. Miami (193.64)
3. Kent State (207.69)