Comparing the non-conference schedules

Different coaches take very different approaches to non-conference play, and this season’s schedules are no exception. Rather than just looking at names, these are the average Pomeroy ratings of non-conference opponents for each of the Ivy League schools.

Yes, using the previous season’s data doesn’t allow for year-to-year improvement or fall-off, but this is the best one can do when forecasting schedule difficulty. The formula includes a home court adjustment of 11.2 percent — adding 5.6 percent to the difficulty of away games and subtracting that amount for home games — based on Ken Pomeroy’s home court advantage coefficient.

Here’s how the eight Ivy teams rank in non-conference strength of schedule, with tough games being ones with a rating of over .700 and weak games coming in under .300, listed in order of toughness and weakness, respectively:

1. Yale
Toughest games: at Kansas, at UCLA, at Stanford, at UMass, at Holy Cross
Weakest games: Oberlin, at Longwood, Wagner, at Hartford, at Longwood
Rating: .4836

2. Brown
Toughest games: at Notre Dame, at Michigan, at Providence, at Baylor, at Northwestern
Weakest games: UC Davis, New Hampshire, Wagner, at Army, at Quinnipiac, at Hartford
Rating: .4649

3. Harvard
Toughest games: at Providence, at Stanford, Michigan, at Holy Cross
Weakest games: Mercer, New Hampshire, at Long Island, at Lehigh
Rating: .4433

4. Penn
Toughest games: at Villanova, North Carolina, Virginia, at Miami, Drexel
Weakest games: at Florida Gulf Coast, NJIT, Howard, The Citadel, Lafayette, Elon, at Monmouth
Rating: .4326

5. Princeton
Toughest games: vs. Duke, at Penn State, Seton Hall, at Evansville, vs. Illinois/Arizona State*
Weakest games: Dominican, Iona, Lafayette, at Monmouth, Manhattan, at Lehigh
Rating: .4066

6. Cornell
Toughest games: at Duke, at Syracuse, at Bucknell
Weakest games: Alvernia, at NJIT, Colgate, at Stony Brook, Army, at Quinnipiac, Binghamton
Rating: .3759

7. Columbia
Toughest games: at Villanova
Weakest games: Polytechnic, at NJIT, Lafayette, at Long Island, at Wagner, St. Francis (NY), at Stony Brook,
Rating: .2812

8. Dartmouth
Toughest games: at Air Force
Weakest games: Daniel Webster College, UMES, UC Davis, at New Hampshire, at Colgate, at Stony Brook, at Army, James Madison, at Quinnipiac
Rating: .2707

* For tournaments where opponents in later rounds are unknown, no attempt was made to forecast matchups. These games were simply left out of the calculations. This hurt Princeton more than anyone else, as the Tigers are guaranteed at least one more neutral site game against a quality major conference opponent in the EA Sports Maui Invitational. Columbia and Penn also have possible games against major conference opponents if they can win their respective games.

Jake Wilson

Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Basketball U.

Jake Wilson wrote 754 posts

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