The Horizon League released its men’s basketball conference schedule Tuesday, and Wright State coach Billy Donlon said the first thing he checked was how many off days his team had before each game compared to how many the opponent has.
“The first thing I looked for was balance,” said Donlon, who will be beginning his fifth season as head coach and ninth with the program overall.
“We play every couple days, so I wanted to make sure there was some consistency with the schedule in terms of prep time,” Donlon added. “I know there are going to be times when we play someone and one team will have four days to prepare and the other two, but I want to see if the second time we play if the situation is reversed.”
WSU will be at a disadvantage in that regard in the two games against Valparaiso, playing both the home and away games on two days of rest while the Crusaders will be off six and five days, respectively.
But the Raiders come out ahead on their series with Cleveland State, facing the Vikings on five and then four days of rest while CSU will have three and two days off.
“There are always going to be some difficult, adverse things you expect in conference play,” Donlon said. “With an odd number of teams in the league, and with the TV contract, we don’t play on set days. We have games on every day of the week. But I really like this schedule. I think they did a really good job trying to make it equal.”
WSU opens Horizon League play Friday, Jan. 2 at home against Detroit. The longest road trip of the year follows with the road game at Wisconsin-Green Bay on Monday, Jan. 5.
But unlike last year, the Raiders won’t be playing Wisconsin-Green Bay and Wisconsin-Milwaukee on the same swing. The trip to Milwaukee won’t happen until Jan. 20, and it will be followed by five off days.
WSU will play three of its first five league games, and four of its final six, at home at the Nutter Center. The offset to that will be a tough stretch in the middle of the slate with four of five on the road.
The school has not released its non-conference schedule yet, but most of the Raiders’ opponents have.
In addition to the Dec. 27 contest at Ohio State, WSU will play road games against Bowling Green (Nov. 19), Charleston Southern (Nov. 22), Evansville (Dec. 2), Belmont (Dec. 11) and Western Carolina (TBA).
The Raiders also will compete in a holiday tournament at South Carolina-Upstate that begins on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27. The other teams in the tournament are Florida International and Cal State Fullerton.
The Bowling Green game will be a rare 4 p.m. Wednesday start ahead of the BGSU-Toledo football game that evening.
The home nonleague schedule includes contests against Belmont (Nov. 14), Miami (Dec. 14) and George Mason (Dec. 23).
Local commit: Chaminade Julienne senior Alan Vest has verbally committed to play basketball at Wright State, following in the footsteps of his father Mark (Class of 1986) and brother Matt (Class of 2014).
A 6-foot-3 forward, Vest averaged 10.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.4 steals for the Eagles last year.