Air Force’s 2013-14 basketball schedule was released today, and the big stories were that the schedule is clearly a bit easier to help the Falcons adjust to a younger roster and that by the luck of the draw they will draw New Mexico just once during the conference season. Here are some more notes on the schedule:
Not as intentionally easy as it looks
Air Force’s schedule lacks big-name nonconference opponents (unless you consider Colorado or Richmond in that category), but it wasn’t necessarily by design.
“We struggled getting some teams to come in this year,” coach Dave Pilipovich said. “Obviously, maybe they didn’t look on the Internet and see all that we lost. Hopefully maybe we’ll be able to be a little more creative like we were last year, but it was a struggle this year.”
With two additional conference games this season also cut into the scheduling flexibility.
The only game scheduled between home games on Dec. 14 (UC Riverside) and Jan. 1 (Utah State) is a Dec. 21 trip to UC Davis. This is different from this past season, when the Falcons took a multiple-game swing through Florida and up the East Coast during late December.
“We just feel that the rest and time at home with family just outweighed trying to push some games in there,” Pilipovich said. “Especially with a young team. The freshmen will have not been home since before basic (training).”
Full plate at Thanksgiving
Air Force’s top two nonconference tests will both occur during Thanksgiving break. Richmond, which pounded the Falcons 91-68 last year, visits on Wed., Nov. 27 (the day before Thanksgiving), while Colorado comes to Clune Arena on Sat., Nov. 30.
Rough on the books
From the academic standpoint of keeping players on campus for class, the schedule couldn’t be much worse. Of the Falcons’ eight Wednesday conference games that take place after class resumes for the second semester, five are on the road. And that doesn’t count the mid-week conference tournament, which is held in Las Vegas.
Two birds, one stone
In scheduling UC Davis, Pilipovich achieved the goal of playing a school with similar academic standards as well as taking the Falcons into a region where they want to bolster recruiting.
He’d like to do the same with the state of Texas now that TCU is no longer a conference opponent.
Four Falcons games have been initially picked up by television networks. The ESPN family of networks has claimed the Jan. 12 home game against San Diego State, March 1 against UNLV and March 5 at New Mexico. CBS Sports has the Feb. 15 game at San Diego State.