The University of Dayton basketball team played Alabama, Mississippi and Seton Hall at home last season — the first power conference schools to visit UD Arena since 2007. And while this year’s nonleague schedule may lack in name power, coach Archie Miller believes it packs just as much punch.
UD announced Wednesday it will play five teams outside of the Atlantic 10 that reached the postseason during the 2011-12 season: Murray State, Illinois State, Manhattan and Weber State at home and Alabama on the road.
UAB, an NCAA team two years ago, also will play at UD Arena in a one-way game, and the Flyers will start a home-and-away series with Southern Cal on the road.
The Charleston Classic from Nov. 15-18 also includes five schools that play in BCS conferences.
“It’s probably one of the hardest schedules overall that we will endure here,” Miller said.
“To me, some of the teams coming in here, they may not have a BCS package, but I know this: No one wants to play Murray State, no one wants to play Illinois State, no one wants to play the UABs of the world. Their numbers and their resumes are as good as most of the teams in the country.”
The nonleague schedule was all but complete before Butler and VCU joined the A-10, giving UD two more rugged foes it hadn’t planned on playing.
“I’ll be honest with you, not knowing Butler and VCU were on our schedule up until a few weeks ago, it did impact us. We could have said, ‘Wow, maybe we overdid it,’ ” Miller said.
“When you add those two to the mix — when you didn’t ever think they’d be on your schedule — it makes it really challenging because our conference is going to be so strong. It’s a rare year in the Atlantic 10. In my opinion, it’s going to be as strong as the power conferences on a given night .”
Miller also said the Flyers remain committed to playing Miami University each year, even though new RedHawks coach John Cooper said this week he needs more time to figure out whether the UD game will fit into his long-term plans for building his program.
“We’re planning on continuing that series for as long as we possibly can,” Miller said. “I know there’s a lot of pride in that rivalry, and it’s an old one, it’s a long one. Nothing has been brought to our immediate attention. If they need to talk or we need to talk, we’ll do that.”
Of the nine nonleague games at UD Arena, seven will be on a Saturday.
The Flyers will play exhibition games at home against Findlay on Oct. 27 and Ryerson University, a Canadian school, on Nov. 4.