With the 2008-09 men’s basketball schedule now set (or so we hope!), it starts the process of looking a little closer at the opponents and matchups that await the Panthers this season.
Before getting to that, though, a little insight on actually announcing a schedule. Some schools did so a few weeks ago, and some still have not. We've fallen somewhere in the middle compared to league schools, even though it was looking like we might be the final one to get the schedule set.
There are so many factors that work into setting the schedule, which is another discussion for another time. But, our goal in announcing the schedule is to do so when we think it is 100 percent set, right down to the game times for home games. Of course, it usually turns out it is not 100 percent set, as no doubt something will shift for TV or otherwise and we'll be announcing a change. The main thought, though, is to try and avoid the confusion of time and date changes by announcing the schedule when it is as close to 100 percent set as possible.
This year, we announced the schedule on a Tuesday morning. As recently as the day before, there was a change to the schedule, as well as another possible change that fell through.
Meanwhile, you may have noticed the women's schedule has not yet been announced. That is because, in part, just yesterday the possibility of shifting two games for television purposes came about. So, we wait and hope to announce a complete schedule very soon.
Here are a few of the early notes on the non-league part of the schedule...
- UWM will be part of a multi-game exempt tournament for the second time in the last three seasons. The Panthers hosted the John Thompson Classic two years ago at the U.S. Cellular Arena.
- This season will mark the second time UWM has played in a tournament at Iowa State. The first time was in 2001 when the Panthers split two games in the Tribune Cyclone Challenge. The Panthers lost to host Iowa State, 71-62, before beating Nebraska-Omaha, 87-68.
- The matchup with Iowa State will mark Milwaukee’s first contest against a Big 12 foe since a win over Oklahoma in the first round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament.
- Cal Davis is the only school on the 2008-09 schedule the Panthers have never met. The Aggies are members of the Big West Conference.
- The Panthers will be looking to snap an eight-game losing streak against teams from the Missouri Valley Conference when Bradley visits Dec. 20. Milwaukee's last wins over teams from the Valley came in 2002-03, when the Panthers knocked off both Indiana State and Missouri State.
- SIU-Edwardsville is playing its first season in Division I after building a stellar tradition as a Division II school. In fact, the Cougars made it to the Elite Eight of the Division II tournament as recently as 2006. SIUE has already earned membership into the Ohio Valley Conference, and will begin competition as a full league member in future seasons. In the meantime, SIUE has loaded up this year’s schedule with big-name Division I opponents, including Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa State and Bradley.
- Miami (Ohio), the alma mater of UWM Director of Athletics Bud Haidet, will return to the U.S. Cellular Arena next season as part of a home-and-home arrangement. That is an attractive mid-major game against a typically strong Mid-American Conference school.
- This is the first of two-straight years where UWM will play both Wisconsin and Marquette on the road. The Golden Eagles come across the street to the U.S. Cellular Arena in 2010-11 and the Badgers come back to The Cell in 2011-12.