For the blue bloods of college basketball putting together a non-conference schedule isn’t a particularly arduous affair. While there may be an opening or two to fill in the spring/early summer period, that status generally makes it easy to put together a slate that works to the program’s advantage.
That isn’t the case for some programs that don’t have that kind of cache, especially if they’re hoping to get a home game out of a series. For UAB head coach Jerod Haase, who’s team not only reached the NCAA tournament last season but knocked off Iowa State once there, getting a fair scheduling agreement has proven to be a bit difficult.
And according to AL.com, the need to put together a solid slate of home games means that Haase will only go so far in scheduling games against higher profile opponents.
Haase, however, wants to fill Bartow Arena too. And he’s not willing to sacrifice his team’s record or morale just to play more attractive schools.
“I’m not going to go 47 times to Alabama (and we play) and one time at UAB,” Haase said. “I have to do what’s best for our program too. And to be honest with you, we think pretty highly of our program right now.”
It should be noted that while UAB begins a four-game series with Auburn this coming season, with the Tigers hosting two of the meetings (UAB will host one at Bartow Arena in 2016, and the 2018 meeting will be played at Legacy Arena in Birmingham), UAB and Alabama have only played once in the history of the two programs. Hence Haase’s comment regarding scheduling, as he’s looking to put power conference opponents on UAB’s schedule in hopes of boosting his team’s profile come March.
In recent years Conference USA hasn’t been a major player when it comes to at-large bids to the NCAA tournament, so at the very least a quality schedule can help its automatic bid recipient seeding-wise. But that doesn’t mean the league’s coaches should agree to unfair scheduling agreements in their non-conference games, because they need to generate home ticket sales as well.