It was Christmas in May for Friar fans today, as Coach Ed Cooley announced the non-conference schedule for the 2017-2018 season. The beginning of the schedule will look more like a NBA schedule then one for a college team looking to make its 5th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. The Friars will open the season by playing 4 games in 8 days. Another interesting wrinkle to the schedule is do the Comic-Con at the Dunk the Friars will open the season playing at Mullaney Gym in Alumni Hall against either Houston Baptist or Belmont. The Friars haven’t played a game at Alumni Hall since 2012 when the Friars held an exhibition game at Mullaney Gym vs Assumption College. I remember in 2011 of my senior year at PC, Coach Cooley’s first season at PC, the Friars played an exhibition against Assumption College and struggled for much of the game before beating the Division II opponent 64-51. Obviously back then PC didn’t nearly have the talent as they have now but it will be interesting to see how PC opens a regular season playing at the smaller venue. Here are some other highlights of the non-conference slate.
- Gavitt Games: As I wrote last week PC will be hosting the University of Minnesota on Monday, November 13th as a part of the Gavitt Games. It will be PC’s second game of the season and will be a fantastic early season test vs a potential top-25 team.
- 2k Classic at MSG: Which once promised to be a very intriguing tournament when it was first announced last year has since lost some of its luster. The Washington Huskies fired their coach Lorenzo Romar and with that they lost the #1 ranked incoming freshman Michael Porter Jr as well. The Indiana Hoosiers fired their Coach Tom Crean and replaced him with Archie Miller. Before they did that they withdrew from the 2k Classic and were replaced by Saint Louis. While I believe Washington and St. Louis will field a competitive team they shouldn’t be an issue for either the Friars or the Virginia Tech Hookies. Having said all that it sets up an intriguing final between the Friars and Hookies. An interesting subplot to the game between former Big East foes is that it will feature the AAU squad Mass Rivals’ backcourt from last season. Incoming Friar freshman Makai Ashton-Langford will be going up against his former teammate and good friend freshman Wabissa Bede for the Hokies.
- REVENGE GAME: The Friars will host Boston College on November 25th in what will look to be a revenge game for PC. Last season the Friars went to Chestnut Hill to wrap up their non-conference schedule and had arguably their worse loss of the season against an Eagle team that would finish the year 9-23 in a 79-67 defeat. The Conte Forum (I have a nickname for the venue that I will not be sharing on the blog) has always been a house of horrors for the Friars but the Eagles would only in 2 more games the rest of the season after that game! I expect the Friars to handle BC at the Dunk but with the young dynamic backcourt of Ky Bowman and Jerome Robinson the Friars shouldn’t take them lightly.
- Mohegan FUN: On December 20th the Friars will play against the Houston Cougars of the American Conference. The game will be apart of the Holiday Showcase, with St. John’s facing St. Joes in the other game. The games will be played at Mohegan Sun or as I like to call it New England Adult Disney World. The Friars have had success at “Dunk South”, back in 2013 they beat Florida State and Notre Dame in Uncasville, CT. Unfortunately the game is on a Wednesday but I would like to get down there.
- Road Dogs: The Friars will play two true road games against UMass and URI in 2017. UMass should be an easy win for the Friars as UMass is rebuilding under new coach Matt McCall. As for the game at URI December 2nd will be a date Ram and Friar fans will have circled on their calendar for a while. I personally think PC has a better squad then URI next season but this game will be a war. Having said that Cooley has never lost to the Rams in six games (3 at the Ryan Center), so bring it on Hurley!
That about wraps up the highlights of the Friars nonconference schedule for the 2017-2018 season. While I feel like Friars have had harder schedules in the past this one definitely provides the Friars with opportunities to build their resume for a 5th consecutive trip to the Big Dance. Once the Big East schedule is released I provide you all with a preview of the entire schedule and Crierdomis may make some predictions on the Friars record as well. Until then Friar fans just know that we are less then 6 months away from the season opener. Go Friars!