Monday, October 22, 2012

Anticipation: A Look at the EWU Basketball Non-Conference Schedule

Snow in River Front Park 2008
photo from khq.com
My good friend reminded me today about the greatness of this time of year.  It’s the time when, as kids certainly, but still now as adults we look forward to many things.  Whether it is all the joys of the holidays, or that first morning snow there are many things we anticipate this time of year.  We can easily find ourselves daydreaming at work about hitting the slopes or seeing the faces of our loved ones as they unwrap that special gift we found for them.

It is also a time to anticipate the untarnished aspirations of a brand new season of Eastern Washington Hoops.  Yeah the media and coaches may predict the Eagles as finishing anywhere from 3rd to 6th in the Big Sky Conference, but for the next couple months and even through their next 11 games, the Eagles will share a portion of 1st place in the Big Sky and only the outcome of the action on the court will affirm or change that fact.
This post isn’t about conference play, its about the non-conference play, the first 11 chances the Eagles have to come together as a team.  The first glimmer of snow on the mountains, the first glimpse of hoped for possibilities.

Find out what's in store after the break
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Now that I've gotten your attention, let’s take a quick glance at the Eagles non-conference schedule.  

First they will play an exhibition game against Concordia University (Oregon) who went 14-16 last year. This game should be a warm up for the Eagles and as Coach Hayford said he would make his Red-Shirt decision before the game at Washington State, this is the last chance for the players on the edge.

They start D1 play with Washington State won 19 games last year and finished 8th in a tough Pac 12 conference, including 2-0 against teams from the Big Sky Conference defeating Eastern Washington and Sacramento State. Coach Hayford isn't wasting any time, this first game will be a tough test for the Eagles. In 3 meetings since 2001, the Eagles are 0-3 against the Cougars. The Cougars are led by Senior Forward Brock Motum (#12) of Brisbane, Australia. Motum led the Cougars in scoring with 18 points per game and rebounding with 6 per game.


Jeffrey Forbes handles the ball against ISU
photo from goeags.com
Next up is Cal-State Northridge, who won only 7 games last season but did not play anyone from the Big Sky. The last time these two teams met was in February of 2011 when the Matadors won 68-59. Jeffrey Forbes (#22) scored 10 points in the game for the Eagles

The University of Saint Mary’s Gaels are the best team the Eagles will face in non-conference play.  Last year’s West Coast Conference Regular Season and Conference Tournament Champions, the Gaels went 27-6 including 2-0 against the Big Sky with wins over Eastern Washington and Weber State.  The Gaels feature one of the NCAA’s highest rated Point Guards in Matthew Dellavedova.

Utah Valley won 20 games and the Great West Conference Championship.  They went 2-3 against current members of the Big Sky Conference, with wins over Portland State and The North Dakota, they lost to Montana, North Dakota and Weber State (in the CIT by just 3 points)

University of South Carolina Upstate won 21 games and made it to the second round of the CIT, but did not play any members of the Big Sky Conference.

Santa Clara lost every conference game last year, but went 8-6 outside the West Coast Conference, they also did not play any Big Sky Schools last year. The last time these teams met was in November 2007, a Santa Clara victory 66-57

Cal-State Fullerton won 21 games including  going 3-0 versus the Big Sky Conference with wins over Eastern Washington, Montana State and Portland State.

University of Idaho won 19 games last season and went 1-2 against the Big Sky with a win over Montana State and losses to Montana and Eastern Washington.
Seattle University went 12-15 as an independent last year including going 3-1 against the Big Sky with wins over Eastern Washington, Montana State and splitting two games with Portland State.

UC Davis went 5-26 last year including 1-4 against the Big Sky with their one win coming over Northern Arizona, while losing to Southern Utah (twice), Eastern Washington and Sacramento State.