Just because his school is upgrading its conference doesn’t mean Bob McKillop plans to schedule any lighter.
Davidson’s men’s basketball coach said Thursday his Wildcats will play Duke, North Carolina, Virginia and Wichita State during the 2013-14 season, and have committed to playing each of the ACC schools in Charlotte once during the next three seasons.
“We’re going to be just as national and just as aggressive and understanding that, yes, the Atlantic 10 is going to be a significant challenge, but we’re still going to be very aggressive and national in scope,” McKillop said in an interview with the Observer.
“It could be the toughest schedule (in Davidson history) that I can recall,” he said.
McKillop has traditionally scheduled a tough nonconference schedule for, among other reasons, strengthening Davidson’s resume for the NCAA tournament. The Southern Conference, which ranked near the bottom among the nation’s 32 Division I conferences last season, hasn’t helped the Wildcats’ RPI (Rating Percentage Index), which plays a big part in the tournament selection committee’s decision-making process.
With the move to the A-10, the Wildcats were thought to be in position to take their foot off the scheduling gas since the conference has historically put more at-large teams into the postseason.
But McKillop said most of these high-profile games were scheduled with the “inkling” that Davidson would be in the A-10 soon.
In its final season in the Southern Conference, Davidson will visit Duke on Nov. 8 to play the Blue Devils, who are considered the early favorites to win the ACC.
The Wildcats will travel to North Carolina Dec. 21 and then to Wichita State on Dec. 29. Wichita State advanced to last season’s Final Four.
“We’ve always had a very good representation of outstanding programs on our schedule,” McKillop said.
Davidson played Duke at Time Warner Cable Arena last season, losing by 17 after being tied at halftime to the nation’s then-No. 1-ranked team. An annual Davidson game in Charlotte’s largest basketball arena will continue the next three seasons.
With Virginia coming to Charlotte this season, North Carolina is set to visit during the 2014-15 season and Duke returns the following year.
Davidson plays at Virginia during the 2014-15 season.