A-10 Schedule Parings Give Loyola a Rough Road

The A-10 schedule pairings for the 2023-24 men’s college basketball season are out, and the Ramblers again have one of their most attractive home schedules in a long, long time.  Dayton, St. Louis, UMass, Richmond, Davidson and St. Joseph’s are all coming to Gentile Arena for A-10 league play, plus cross-town rival UIC and probably the best program in the Ivy League, Harvard.  They’re not going to all be Top 100 programs this year, all of these programs have a solid pedigree and top 100 potential.

Dayton, UMass, George Mason, and LaSalle have all been in the Final Four; St. Joe’s and Davidson have both been in the Elite Eight within the past 20 years.  When was the last time Loyola had so many teams on their home schedule with high-level tournament experience?  You’d have to go back a few decades to find a home schedule with so many venerable opponents.

With neutral site games against Florida Atlantic (currently ranked #21 in Bart Torvik’s pre-season rankings), and two games against either Creighton (ranked #5 by BartTorvik.com), Colorado State (#60) and Boston College (#99), the non-con offers three very good chances to face Top 100 opponents on neutral courts.  There are several more games yet to be scheduled, so one or two more Top-100 contests are a possibility.

That’s the good news.  On the other hand, Loyola’s road schedule in the A-10 is a real beast.  The Ramblers will be playing at VCU, Fordham, Davidson, George Mason, St. Bonaventure, St. Joe’s, St. Louis, URI, and George Washington.  Those teams combined for a home conference winning percentage of .549 last year, which hands Loyola the second-toughest road schedule in the A-10.

Above Strength of Schedule analysis by Michael Bergman at A-10 Talk.

St. Bonaventure– isolated in a rural part of Western New York– is a really tough place to play, I’ve been told. Over the past 8 years, the Bonnies are 57-14 in conference play at home—that’s an 80.2% winning percentage.

VCU was 7-2 at home in league play last season, and Saint Louis was 8-1.  Those two teams were 2nd and 3rd in home attendance, with URI, St. Bonaventure and George Mason coming in 5th, 6th, and 7th in home attendance.  URI was a pretty bad team last year, rivalling Loyola for the basement.  But the Rams still managed to go 4-5 at home in conference play and knock off two of the better teams in the league, Dayton and Fordham.