After the Maui Invitational, Ohio State, and UCLA last year, Coach Brey has lightened the load for the nonconference schedule a bit this season. The results aren't too pretty.
2009 Pomeroy Rankings of Non-Conference Opponents-
North Florida- 335
St. Francis- 319
Long Beach St.- 174
Kennesaw St.- 338
Northwestern- 70 (Chicago Invitational Challenge)
Idaho St.- 190
Central Florida- 136
Loyola Marymount- 320
With the exceptions of UCLA, Northwestern, and Central Florida (a solid but beatable mid-major) this schedule will lead the team to a low RPI for little reason. Good RPI-conscious programs have learned to walk the line between scheduling good competition and avoiding an embarrassing early loss.
Take a peak at Gonzaga, a program that has lifted itself out of the mid-major range through intelligent scheduling.
2009 Non-Conference Opponent Rankings-
While a major conference team like Notre Dame does not necessarily need to schedule as many top 50 programs as Gonzaga, we really should avoid playing the dregs of the world.
Instead of playing upwards of nine teams who will fail to make a remotely competitive go of things in the Pavilion, Coach Brey should be lining up a handful of midlevel Missouri Valley or Horizon League teams. Even a home-and-home with a good midwestern Catholic school such as Dayton would be nice to see. Any game against these teams should be a win in almost every circumstance, but would ensure that the Irish keep a high RPI and the strongest tournament resume possible.