It’s June, and while many teams are still finalizing those last one or two games to add to the 2019-2020 schedule, others are already releasing their schedules for next year. There always seems to be a lot of conversations that go on about “strength of schedule”. While I understand those talks, I also understand why teams that play 22 or 24 league games schedule a few “wins” as non conference opponents. The Heart of America for example plays 24 league games. That league is also one of best leagues in NAIA, and even the teams at the bottom of the league give people fits each and every night, so I have a harder time being critical of teams who choose to not schedule Top 25 teams for every non conference opponent. At the end of the day, I believe that coaches and programs need to do what they feel is best to prepare them for the postseason. There isn’t a right or wrong answer to the strength of your non-conference schedule if you’re team is successful in the postseason still.
Now, for guys like me, who just like seeing good basketball, having two NAIA programs, from different leagues, battle each other is fun. We will go more in depth on classics as they approach, but since it is summer time I thought it would be fun to discuss a few now.
Battle at The Beach
Panama City, FL
(Nov. 29-Dec. 1st)
While there are classics every year, the folks at Faulkner University stepped the game up a notch with the first ever Battle at the Beach! This eight team, in-season tournament, is genius, and was well put together. They also just released the brackets this morning:
As you can see, there will be some good first round matchups, and has the potential for some really good matchups in later rounds. This will be a really fun tournament, and one I’m already trying to make plans to attend!
The Show enters its 5th year in existence and features fourteen NAIA DII teams. This Show always features a tough field, and you can count on seeing a lot of these teams again at the NAIA DII National Tournament!
The Cactus Classic always has a big time field, and this years field is already shaping up to be good again. Still waiting on the final list of teams to come out, but the teams I’ve heard that are confirmed as of right now are:
Rocky Mountain (Mont)
Benedictine University -Mesa
Carroll College (Mont)
Ottawa University (AZ)
Florida College Classic
Four team classics are more common, so one I know of that has a good NAIA DI/DII field, that I want to bring to attention to is the NAIA Florida College Classic on November 1st and 2nd that features:
Cumberland University (TN)
Johnson and Wales (FL)
Webber International (FL)
I love Classics and Tournaments, andI know there are plenty more to talk about! I appreciate those of you who sent me information. As more schedules start to become final, I will do my best to shine light on more classics later in summer!