The Atlantic 10 will discuss the possibility of expanding the men’s basketball schedule from 16 to 18 games when school officials meet with Commissioner Bernadette McGlade at a regularly scheduled meeting in May.
But if the group is depending on support from the majority of league coaches, the proposal will never advance past the conversation stage.
The 14 A-10 coaches were asked on a media teleconference Monday about playing two more league games, and most were either opposed or undecided, while only a few were supportive.
University of Dayton coach Archie Miller was among those who thought 16 should be the maximum.
“I know where we stand at Dayton in moving forward — and hopefully continue to grow our program the way we want to — playing the amount of nonconference games we play is vital to our résumé. It’s vital to our perception nationally. It’s vital to what we’re doing.
“Playing 18 games would really landlock us in what we’re doing with our model. If you’re asking me the big picture, 16 is perfect for us.”
The Flyers normally play six one-way games to generate revenue, seek five “series” games with attractive opponents and play in an exempt tournament. Going to 18 league games means something would have to give.
“I don’t see the need for it right at this time for the A-10, and I certainly don’t see it as being in the best interest of the University of Dayton at this time,” UD Athletic Director Tim Wabler said.
“If you look at the strength of our nonconference schedule, we’ve been able to take the 16 games of the conference and create a nonconference schedule to complement it that puts us in the top group year in and year out.”
The discussion about increasing league games has been triggered by changes in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which will go from 16 to 18 games next season, and the Southeastern Conference, which reportedly will do likewise.
That means all six power conferences will have 18 league games in 2012-13 and will need fewer games outside their leagues.
A-10 teams play three league opponents twice and everybody else once. One proponent of increasing conference games is Duquesne coach Ron Everhart, who believes it would create a more equitable schedule. But the only way to achieve true balance is for each team to play all other league members twice. And of the six BCS conferences, only the 10-team Big 12 is small enough to pull that off.
Big Ten schools play seven teams home-and-away and four just once (two at home and two on the road). Those one-time foes change every two seasons.
“I’m not a fan of the 18-game schedule. I’m just not,” Xavier coach Chris Mack said. “I feel like 16 conference games is plenty. You have the opportunity outside the conference to schedule how you want.”
LaSalle coach John Giannini also pointed out the A-10 needs to consider its RPI, which currently is the seventh-best rating nationally. Two more league games mean a .500 record in those games for the conference, which probably isn’t as good as the league could do with two outside games.
“I understand there’s certain teams that need 18 games. For us, 16 is perfect,” Fordham coach Tom Pecora said. “We can get two more games that are much more winnable than A-10 games.”
Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2125 or dharris@DaytonDailyNews.com.
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