ESPN has rolled out an extensive series on non-conference scheduling this week, the latest of which came courtesy of Myron Medcalf, who took a look at matchups that he would love to see.
Obviously, Medcalf started his list with Kentucky versus Indiana, ended it with Kentucky versus UCLA and had everything from Louisville-Indiana to Memphis-Arizona to Murray State-Creighton in between. I have no qualms with his list.
But I do have five dream matchups of my own:
Lehigh vs. Murray State: The Racers are coming off of a season where they won their first 23 games, suffered just a single loss prior to the NCAA tournament, and put together enough talent on Steve Prohm’s first team in Murray that they could have made a deep run into the tournament had they not run into a tough Marquette team in the second round. Lehigh managed to knock off Bucknell in the Patriot League’s title game to earn an automatic bid to the tournament, where they upset No. 2 seed Duke in the first round.
The common thread? Both teams return all-american caliber point guards whose only contact with a national audience for the majority of the season will be illegal internet streams. But a battle between CJ McCollum and Isaiah Canaan? Yeah, I’ll wanna be court side for that.
Wisconsin vs. Florida: This spring has been defined by “The Transfer Dilemma”, and it all started when Bo Ryan blocked Jarrod Uthoff from transferring to 26 different schools. While Ryan eventually relented on the restrictions, but it wasn’t before every writer in the country had penned a column ripping him and his abuse of power. One of the schools on that list? Florida. Making matters more interesting? Billy Donovan came out announced that he was in favor of allowing players to transfer anywhere. Awkward …
UNLV vs. UCLA: Chace Stanback fizzled out at UCLA, transferring to UNLV where he became a first-team all-conference performer. Stanback has graduated, but the presence of a disgruntled former Bruin is still on the Rebel roster. Potential all-american Mike Moser, who averaged 14.1 points and 10.6 boards last season and earned first-team all-MWC honors, also started his career in Westwood. UCLA has had more image issues than they’ve had success of late, but they will be a consensus top ten team this season.
And so will UNLV. Yes please.
Michigan vs. Georgetown: There is nothing amazing or unique about this matchup. One’s a massive state school in the Big Ten, the other is a much small private school in the heart of DC and Big East country. John Beilein did spend some time coaching West Virginia as the Hoyas’ Big East rival, but there is nothing particularly special about their history. What makes this matchup appealing to me is that both programs run a unique system offensively and mix up their defenses. Both teams should be pretty good, as well, which makes this game all-the-more intriguing.
San Diego State vs. BYU: Remember back in 2010, when Jimmer Fredette and Kawhi Leonard led BYU and SDSU, respectively, to top ten rankings and high tournament seeds before getting picked in the first round of the NBA Draft? I certainly do. They had some battles that season. Next year, the Aztecs should be really good as they add a number of athletic big men to join an already-talented crop of back court players. And BYU? They should be pretty good, too, as Brandon Davies and Matt Carlino return, Tyler Haws is finally back from his Mormon mission and Chris Collinsworth will (hopefully) be healthy. It may not be Jimmer vs. Kawhi, but it would be fun, no?