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Keatts, NC State Take Things Up A Notch

Scheduling Auburn is tough, challenging and smart

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NCAA Basketball: Florida State at North Carolina State
Feb 25, 2018; Raleigh, NC, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack head coach Kevin Keatts reacts during the first half against the Florida State Seminoles at PNC Arena. 
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

For those who remember the Jim Valvano era at NC State, you may remember that he wasn’t really scared to schedule tough teams.

In 1985-86 alone for instance, Valvano scheduled Kansas, UNLV, Louisville, Kentucky and Oklahoma.

Valvano loved those types of games.

After he was forced out, that kind of scheduling stopped. Les Robinson wasn’t able to get the program going at a high level right after the scandal that ended Valvano’s career (not much in retrospect) with heavy restrictions still in place.

Herb Sendek was the absolute worst in this regard. He rarely scheduled anyone challenging and big surprise, no one showed up to see State take on the Lipscombs of the world.

Sidney Lowe wasn't a whole lot better. Mark Gottfried was minimally, but still, it was pretty rare for State to have challenging non-conference games and the program suffered.

In his final year, Gottfried did schedule Arizona State and Missouri, but neither was very good at the time.

Basically he was gaming the RPI.

So we were intrigued to see that Kevin Keatts has agreed to a home-and-home with Bruce Pearl’s Auburn.

Despite being absolutely destroyed by Clemson this March in the NCAA tournament, Auburn finished 26-8 and were 21-2 on February 3rd.

The Tigers obviously took a hit from the FBI’s investigation into NCAA basketball, but also lost center Anfernee McHardaway on February 17th for the season. That cut Auburn down to eight players and ruined a team that could’ve won a #1 seed.

So this isn’t gaming the RPI or the tournament committee or anything like that. Kevin Keatts appears to want a touch schedule and that’s good news for the Pack and the ACC at large. You can’t be the best unless you play the best.

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