I spoke with new coach Jeff Reynolds for a while yesterday about the Canada trip, and, like I said in my article in today’s edition of The Gazette, the trip couldn’t have come at a better time. Air Force relied almost exclusively on its starters last season (one of the only on-court decisions for which former coach Jeff Bzdelik can be criticized), and only one of those starters – Tim Anderson – is back.
So there’s a whole lot to sort out before the Falcons hit the court for real games. And this trip will be perfect for that.
Now, about that still unreleased schedule. When I asked Reynolds it, he shook his head and laughed.
“Jake, it’s amazing,” he said.
The Falcons’ schedule is just about complete (some minor kinks have to be worked out), but this is pretty late in the game to have it unfinished. When it’s done, Air Force likely will settle for 29 games, one less than the 30 that the NCAA allows.
According to Reynolds, there are about 90 Division I teams still trying to fill out their schedules. That’s 90. Nine, zero. I asked why, if there are that many teams in search of games, schools can’t work anything out.
“Nobody wants to go on the road,” Reynolds said. “So they hold out.”
Air Force’s schedule won’t have a lot of big out-of-conference names on it this season. But the Falcons will play what will end up being one of the most highly anticipated home contests in program history Nov. 29.
That’s when Bzdelik comes back to town with his new team, Colorado. The Buffaloes will have something to prove after the way Air Force destroyed them last year in Boulder. And the players Bzdelik left behind will have plenty to prove as well.
I asked junior Andrew Henke if he has Nov. 29 circled on his calendar.
“Who do we play that day?” he asked.
But his smile gave him away.
“No, I know. You could say it’s circled on my calendar.”
Henke, who looks like he grew about a half an inch and added some muscle, said he is excited to take on the role of underdog this year.
“I’ve always loved that role,” he said. “I want to prove all those people wrong that are going to vote us last in the conference in the preseason. … I love it, and I know all (my teammates) love it too. We’re going to come out ready to get people.”