For all intents and purposes there are two parts to George Washington's freshly revealed 2013-14 nonconference schedule.
There's the non-exempt tournament portion of it:
|at Kansas State (Dec. 31)
|vs. Maryland (Dec. 8)
|Rutgers (Dec. 4)
|Georgia (Jan. 3)
|Boston University (Dec. 11)
|at Manhattan (Nov. 16)
|Maine (Nov. 12)
|Delaware State (Nov. 19)
|UMBC (Dec. 21)
|Radford (Nov. 8)
|at Hofstra (Dec. 28)
As for the second part, tack on three of these teams as part of the Nov. 28-Dec. 1 Wooden Legacy in the Los Angeles area:
|San Diego State
|College of Charleston
|Cal State Fullerton
There are some obvious takeaways for the Colonials, who went 13-17 and finished with an RPI of 143 last season.
* The Thanksgiving trip will be a brute. Yes, Miami will take a step back this season after losing the entire starting lineup of a Sweet 16 team. But Marquette and Creighton are among the Big East's top teams, San Diego State is solid and Arizona State will probably be in the hunt for another postseason appearance. It's going to be a tough weekend for GW.
* The home schedule has brand-name recognition. Neither Georgia nor Rutgers is a basketball juggernaut (especially Rutgers), but both are solid names for an Atlantic 10 school to land for its home schedule. The Colonials lost on the road to both teams last year, but should have a shot at snagging a victory or two against a bigger-name opponent.
* Much of the schedule is manageable. This is a schedule that reflects a program and staff that knows exactly where it is on the expectations clock. After a pair of losing seasons, it isn't the worst idea for GW to face a set of opponents it can realistically go .500 (or a little bit better) against.
This schedule fits that bill. There are five bottom-100 opponents from last year, perhaps six if the Colonials run into Cal State Fullerton in the Wooden Legacy. Games against Boston University and Manhattan will be tricky; both the Terriers and Jaspers should wind up near the top of their respective leagues.
GW could face as few as five teams that posted winning records last season before Atlantic 10 play arrives. That isn't great for a program poised to contend for an NCAA at-large bid. For for the Colonials, who started four freshmen at times during Mike Lonergan's second season, it's a smart slate that gives them a decent chance to take another step forward and produce a winning season.
--- Patrick Stevens