Every aspect of OSU’s 2012-13 basketball schedule has how been revealed. Just like they did last season, the Beavers are starting to grow out of the mega-cupcake stage and actually get some good games in.
While there are still the boring cupcakes on the schedule (Chicago State, Towson, Howard, Texas-Pan American), the Beavers did a good job of getting regional cupcakes as well (New Mexico State, Montana State, Portland State, San Diego). Even the game against Grambling State is somewhat interesting. Not because of the result (will surely be a blowout), but because it's not a usual Beaver opponent. Too often we've been stuck in the rut of directional Texas and no-name Chicago and DC schools, and while there are still a few of those, we're getting better.
Oregon State catches a break in that it will not play a true road game outside the state of Oregon until January 17. Apparently Craig Robinson went to the school of SEC football scheduling over the summer. We'll break it all down below using the too-often-relied-on RPI.
For all of the following, last season’s RPI will be in parenthesis. Potential opponents at the 2K Sports Classic are italicized. All times listed are Pacific, because Pacific time is God's time.
Cream of the Crop
The following are teams very likely to have above average RPI numbers and as a result will boost OSU's strength of schedule:
vs Alabama (35), vs Kansas (6)
Oregon State gets a pair of high RPI power conference opponents at neutral sites for the second straight year. The Beavers will meet Alabama in New York City on November 15 at 4:00 PM on ESPN2, which will actually be the team's second straight game on the ESPN family of networks. The Crimson Tide finished 2011-12 with a 21-12 record and lost a heart-breaker to Creighton in their first game of the NCAA Tournament. This year's team doesn't figure to be as good, however, especially early on as they try and replace the top two scorers from last year's team. But, with the addition of shooting guard Devonta Pollard to help ease the transition, the Tide could be in good shape to make a run at the NCAA Tournament come March.
Realistically, the Beavers should be happy to get a win in either of these two. I'll say it's the Alabama game, because while Kansas does lose Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor, they reload with six newcomers who would instantly take over a six-man rotation on any team outside the Top Five in the country. Group that with a crowd will be 99% Jayhawk (100% if the Beavers play in the Pac-12 Championship the same night), there's no way we get out of the Sprint Center with a W. The Kansas game will be played on November 30 at 5:00 PM on the Jayhawk Television Network and ESPN Full Court.
This group of teams are likely to neither hurt nor help OSUs strength of schedule. But they do provide a solid name to the slate, one that the selection committee can look at and not shudder with disgust.
New Mexico State (59), vs Purdue (47), vs Villanova (119)
The only definitive opponent on the list are the Aggies, so we'll start with them. Marvin Menzies loses top scorer Wendell McKines from last year's squad, but he can turn to a solid guard in Christian Kabongo(Kabong has transferred to Southern Miss, h/t Sam Wasson of Bleed Crimson)Daniel Mullings to lead the team on offense. Unfortunately, the frontcourt is small and inexperienced, and struggled mightily against bigger teams in 2011-12. Regardless, this is still a dangerous team who made the NCAA Tournament and stuck with Indiana for 30 minutes. The Beavers will face either Purdue or Villanova in the 2K Sports Classic, with the Wildcats definitely being the easier choice. Last year's Cats finished with an unusual 13-19 mark, but they do add a pair of standout freshmen for the 2012-13 campaign. If those two are able to make an immediate impact at the one and five positions, I could definitely see Jay Wright's squad knocking off Purdue and playing in the 2K final.
These are teams that the Beavers should roll against. There are a few interesting meetings sprinkled in, but just like the rest, the outcome should not be in question by Halftime. Here's a look at the majority of the teams on the non-conference schedule.
Niagara (200), Montana State (276), Grambling State (341), Portland State (188), Chicago State (336), Howard (285), San Diego (193), Towson (311), Texas-Pan American (313)
Generally it's a good idea to stay away from teams with RPI's in the 300s. Inexplicably, the Beavers have scheduled four of them. These games not only look terrible in the eyes of the selection committee, but also won't draw well either. While opponents like Niagara, Montana State, and Howard are going to drop your RPI standing even with a win, they at least provide better names to the slate than your Chicago State's and Towson's of the world. We say it every year, but Oregon State needs to cut those kinds of opponents if it wants respect from not only the local fan base, but the nation as well.