Wright State basketball: Raiders put together ‘good’ non-league schedule, but it wasn’t easy

Credit: Timothy D. Easley

Credit: Timothy D. Easley

FAIRBORN — When Wright State’s Scott Nagy first started as a coach, his offseasons were considered a time to replenish and unplug from the demands of running a program.

Not anymore.

Ramped-up pressure in recruiting and the arrival of organized summer workouts have kept Nagy and his peers on the clock more than ever.

But the 2018, ‘19 and ‘20 Horizon League coach of the year has adapted and still loves his job — most of it, anyway.

If he could wave a magic wand and do away with one part of his workload, he’d be throwing an abracadabra at schedule-making.

The Raiders have 11 non-conference games this season, and only three of them are at home against Division-I foes. There are two more games at the Nutter Center against lower-division teams.

They open Nov. 10 at Colorado State and also host Toledo and visit Indiana in the first week.

They’ll play three games in the mid-major Gulf Coast Showcase, facing Sun Belt champion Louisiana in their opener.

After that, they travel to Davidson and host Western Kentucky and regional rival Miami.

“I feel like, every year, the schedule we’re playing is the toughest schedule I’ve ever played,” said Nagy, who’s in his eighth year at Wright State and 29th season overall. “But this is a good schedule.

“I’ll be honest with you: It’s very difficult for us to get a better schedule than we have right now. It’s hard to find people who will play you. You end up playing people like Toledo — because Toledo has the same problem.”

The Rockets are the first current MAC school to win three straight outright conference titles, while the Raiders have won the league tourney twice and the regular-season crown three times in the last six years.

“Toledo is good, so it’s hard for them to find people who will play them,” he said. “MAC schools struggle just like we do to put good schedules together, so you end up playing each other, basically.”

The Raiders had only four non-league home games last season and three the year before that.

They had seven in each of Nagy’s first four seasons, but they hosted holiday tourneys in 2016 and ‘17.

Once they reached the NCAA tourney in 2018, they found opposing schools weren’t so eager to return their calls.

“It’s hard to get home games. We can’t play as many home games as people who can just buy games,” said Nagy, meaning offer a handsome payday to opponents to venture to the Nutter Center.

“But it’s better than when I was at South Dakota State (from 1995-2016). My last year, we had four non-conference home games, and two of those were non-Division I. We couldn’t get anyone to come out there. We can at least get some people to come to Ohio.”

Nagy got his wish with the conference schedule. He’s been vocal about doing away with the travel-partner system, and the league, for the most part, complied.

Wright State and Northern Kentucky had been travel partners and could only host games when both arenas were available. That created some scheduling oddities.

The Raiders finished the regular-season last year with four road games in a row, losing three.

In 2021-22, they had stretches of six consecutive road games and four straight at home.

This year, the Raiders’ league schedule was made without having to consider the Norse.

“It gave the league more flexibility,” Nagy said.

The Raiders don’t play more than three straight times at home or away this season.

“I don’t care about too many road games in a row. I don’t like having too many HOME games in a row,” Nagy said.

“It just doesn’t leave people hungry. You have fan fatigue. They want you to go away so they’re excited about you coming back. When you play five games in a row at home, it affects the emotions of everybody.”

Wright State

Men’s basketball schedule

(2022-23 records)

Nov. 10 @ Colorado State (15-18)

Nov. 14 Toledo (27-8)

Nov. 16 @ Indiana (23-12)

Nov. 20-22 Gulf Coast Showcase

Nov. 29 IUPUI (5-27)

Dec. 2 @ Davidson (16-16)

Dec. 7 Bethel (20-13)

Dec. 12 Western Ky. (17-16)

Dec. 19 Miami (12-20)

Dec. 22 Muskingum (1-24)

Dec. 29 @ Green Bay (3-28)

Dec. 31 @ Milwaukee (22-12)

Jan. 4 Cleveland State (21-14)

Jan. 6 @ Purdue Fort Wayne (17-15)

Jan. 10 @ Robert Morris (16-17)

Jan. 12 @ Youngstown State (24-10)

Jan. 18 Green Bay

Jan. 20 Milwaukee

Jan. 25 @ Cleveland State

Jan. 28 @ IUPUI

Feb. 1 Youngstown State

Feb. 4 @ Northern Kentucky (22-13)

Feb. 8 Detroit Mercy (14-19)

Feb. 10 Oakland (13-19)

Feb. 17 Robert Morris

Feb. 22 @ Detroit Mercy

Feb. 25 @ Oakland

Feb. 28 Purdue Fort Wayne

March 2 Northern Kentucky

March 5-12 Horizon League tourney

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