Fordham released its non-conference schedule, or at least as much as the Rams know, last Monday. It is an odd one to be sure, but it appears that there are a variety of factors driving what will be a long time on the road for Tom Pecora’s squad in the first few months of the season.
The biggest “Huh?” moment in the schedule comes from the fact that Fordham will open the season in San Marcos, Texas against Texas State of the Southland Conference. Of course last season Texas State came to the Bronx, so this is obviously a return game. Actually, that’s the tricky part about most of Fordham’s schedule. There are just a lot of return games. That’s why the Rams will head to Harvard, Georgia Tech and Lehigh this season.
All those return games and an appearance in the NIT Season Tip-Off have created an interesting dilemma for the Rams. They have just three true home games through the New Year. The Battle of the Bronx against Manhattan (Nov. 29), Siena (Dec. 23) and Monmouth (Dec. 31) are your chances to see Fordham at Rose Hill. It’s also just tough to get teams to play there, especially after the Rams went 6-1 at Rose Hill last season.
“When you win games at home, it becomes harder to schedule games,” Fordham head coach Tom Pecora told The New York Post. “After we beat St. John’s [in December 2010], Georgia Tech and Harvard, it’s not easy to get people into Rose Hill. Our goal is to make it as tough a place to play as it is in the country.”
Of course the Rams will be playing in venues in the city. They’ll take on Princeton (Dec. 15) at the Barclay’s Center and St. John’s (Dec. 8) at Madison Square Garden as well.
It’s possible that Fordham is hoping to play some more home games by hosting a NIT Season Tip-Off consolation pod, but since there is speculation that Fairfield is hosting one, it seems unlikely. Last season Manhattan got shipped out to Colorado State for its consolation pod after playing in Syracuse, so there are no guarantees. Chris Dobbertean over at Blogging the Bracket has the most up-to-date list I’ve seen of the NIT Season Tip-Off participants and there are still two teams TBD. Right now it looks like there are five “Northeast” teams slated to play in the tournament and be in the consolation bracket depending on results (Delaware, Penn, Lehigh, Fordham and Fairfield). That number could increase. If it does maybe things look more promising for a home pod for Fordham. Those consolation pod games would be on Nov. 19 and 20.
Throw in two more major conference opponents in Ole Miss and Connecticut and Pecora sure has his work cut out for him. Monmouth should be much improved in its second season under King Rice. Manhattan is going to challenge for a MAAC title. It appears Fordham doesn’t have a single guaranteed win on its non-conference schedule this season. So the best hope for a jump-start seems to be the Siena game because the Saints lose pieces from an already thin rotation. Otherwise the Rams will earn their wins and prepare for a tricky Atlantic 10 (16) season.