Saturday, May 05, 2001

XU schedule upgraded, almost complete


Opponents have better RPI average

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Last fall, Xavier couldn't finish filling its men's basketball schedule until Sept.28, months after most others. But next season is done except for one home game, and the schedule is arguably Xavier's strongest yet.

        XU's nonconference opponents include four 2001 NCAA Tournament teams — home games vs. Wisconsin (No. 19 RPI last season), Cincinnati (31) and Kent State (93), and a trip to Creighton (23) — plus visits to Purdue (67) and Miami University (121). XU also plays Siena (117) at home and at San Francisco (231).

        The average RPI for those eight teams is 87.8. The average RPI of XU's nonconference opponents last season was 139.9. Since XU entered the Atlantic 10 in 1995-96, the best average was 128.3 in 1998-99.

        XU also will host the CoSIDA Classic Nov.23-24, an exempt event at which two games count as one against the regular-season limit of 26. XU athletic director Mike Bobinski said the tournament will include Ohio University (109 RPI) and two undetermined teams, probably Illinois State (78) and Charlotte (48), another NCAA Tournament team.

        “We made a concerted effort to do this early and do it well,” Bobinski said. “And it's another step in the right direction for what we've wanted to continue to do. We want to play the best teams we can.”

        Bobinski said of the remaining home date: “We're looking for a team in the 70 to 80 (RPI) range.”

        The contracts call for Creighton and Purdue to visit XU in the 2002-03 season and for XU to play Siena that season at Albany, N.Y. Bobinski lined up the Creighton series last week when asking Creighton coach Dana Alt man about his interest in XU's coaching vacancy.

        BROWN HOPEFUL: New coach Thad Matta's intentions to allow each player to prove himself anew and his hints at a deeper rotation inspired Alvin Brown, who will return this fall as a graduate student for his final season.

        “Considering my previous situation, I think it's very good for me,” Brown said.

        Brown, who played in every game of the 1999-2000 season, averaging 17.8 minutes and 6.5 points, fell out of the rotation this winter and averaged 4.6 minutes in 19 games (1.8 ppg).

        SCHMIDT HIRED: Former XU assistant Mark Schmidt accepted the head coaching position Friday at Robert Morris College in Pittsburgh, according to a source. Schmidt, 38, an assistant to Skip Prosser the past eight seasons, probably will be announced in a press conference Monday.

       



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