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Evaluating FSU basketball’s 2018-19 non-conference schedule

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Does the schedule fit a more mature, ranked Seminole team?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-West Regional-Florida State vs Gonzaga Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida State Seminoles basketball team, coming off a trip to the Elite 8, will almost certainly be ranked in the top 20 to begin the season. Coach Hamilton had hinted that next season’s team could probably handle a schedule a little more difficult than this year’s squad. And today, the schedule dropped.

So did Ham deliver on the promise of a more challenging schedule?

FSU basketball non-conference schedule

The season tips off with FSU hosting what will likely be a ranked Florida Gators squad, with FSU looking for their 5th straight win over UF.

This is followed by a road trip to Tulane. They’ll be a middle-of-the-pack at best team in the American, but road games are always good for the RPI.

A home tilt with Canisuis will wrap up the pre-Thanksgiving portion of the schedule. They’ll be decent.

The Advocare Invitational is next with the bracket set up for an FSU-Villanova final. To get there, Florida State will have to beat an okay UAB team, and then either LSU or Charleston, both of whom should be fringe top 100 teams. Get through those, and they’ll likely face top 10 Villanova.

The ‘Noles get Purdue at home in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. They probably won’t be ranked, but should be in the “receiving votes” level.

Next up: Troy. Lump them in with Canisuis and Tulane. Okay.

UConn is a mess, but should be in the LSU/Charleston realm of difficulty. A neutral site game with them is a great idea.

Southeast Missouri is the one head-scratcher on this list. They’re going to be playing some bad basketball.

UNF will be solid in the A-Sun. And then a neutral game with St. Louis, which is a fantastic addition to the schedule.

The non-conference season will wrap up with a home game against Winthrop, who should be solid.

All things considered, this is a solid upgrade over last year. Ken Pomeroy’s rankings aren’t out, but we can use T-Rank (the free Pomeroy!), to gauge predicted schedule strength.

Last year, FSU’s average out-of-conference opponent was ranked 202 by T-Rank, which gave FSU the 257th most difficult OOC schedule. This coming season, that average falls to 159. And that doesn’t include the 2nd and 3rd games of the Advocare Invitational. If all falls the ‘Noles way and FSU draws LSU and Villanova, then that average falls to 142.

It’s not a perfect schedule, but it’s solid, and should FSU play well they’ll be - entering ACC play - well positioned for another ticket to the Dance.