You must admit there's a difference between playing Chattanooga and Belmont. Between Radford and Davidson. Between Penn and Samford. Between Penn State and and Colorado State. Of course, fans of "top tier" programs look at schools like those as automatic wins, but there's a considerable difference.
In the past 3 years, Duke has played 25 nonconference opponents in the top 100 RPI. Kentucky -- 15. Narrow it to the top 50, it's Duke 15, Kentucky 10.
That's how it works.
That's the coward's way of scheduling. The Coach K way. I'd much rather have it the way UK does it, with numerous marquee matchups to look forward to every year. What would you look more forward to, your school playing a Top 10 team or a team ranked 50th or 100th? It's a no-brainer for me.
"I talked to an advance scout that told me if Joey Votto and Albert Pujols were on the same team he'd advise his team to do the unthinkable...pitch around Votto to get to Pujols." - Buster Olney, ESPN
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