In Rob Murphy’s first two years as head coach of Eastern Michigan, the Eagles have seriously upped the rigor of their non-conference schedule.
According to KenPom.com, Eastern Michigan’s non-conference strength of schedule was 276 in 2009-10 and 224 in 2010-11, but when Murphy arrived the strength of schedule was 106 in 2011-12 and 108 in 2012-13.
Is Murphy employing the “Anytime, Anywhere, Anyone” kind of scheduling strategy? Maybe not that far, but he certainly isn’t shying away from the top teams in the country.
In this his third year at the helm, the non-conference schedule is highlighted with games at Kentucky (part of the Keightley Classic), vs. Massachusetts, at Purdue, vs. Green Bay, and consecutive games at Duke and at Syracuse to close out 2013.
According to Murphy: “We’re excited about playing the tough non-conference schedule we’ve put together. Facing elite programs such as Duke, Kentucky and Syracuse that have great basketball tradition are challenges we’re looking forward to.”
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Jim Boeheim threw Murphy a guarantee game as Murphy was an assistant at Syracuse from 2004-11.
In all, Eastern Michigan will play three teams that participated in the NCAA Tournament last season (Akron, Duke and Syracuse) and ten others that competed in other post-season events (Green Bay, Kentucky, Kent State, Massachusetts, Oakland, Ohio, Purdue, Robert Morris, Texas Arlington and Western Michigan).
The Eagles are looking to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998.