Bucknell coach says he can't schedule games vs. Top 10 teams

January 26, 2012|By Edward Lee | The Baltimore Sun

One criteria that the selection committee looks at for the NCAA tournament is strength of schedule, which can either enhance or devalue a team’s bid for an at-large spot in the tournament.

Bucknell, which captured the Patriot League’s bid for a berth in the tournament, has tried to strengthen its schedule, but according to coach Frank Fedorjaka, programs in the Top 10 aren’t being too cooperative.

“We’ve got 12 of the top 31 teams ranked in the country on our schedule this year, but none of them are in the Top 10. Frankly, nobody will accept an invitation,” Fedorjaka said Wednesday in a conference call. “I’ve called every team ranked in the Top 10 a minimum of twice a year to see if we could just go there for one game on the road, and nobody’s taken us on. So I guess from teams ranked 11 to 31, we’re playing 12 of them, and we’re one of those 21 teams. So we’re playing just about everybody you can play in there. So we’re excited about our schedule.”

The Bison are a tough opponent for any team. They had a two-goal lead with four minutes to play before Virginia scored three unanswered goals to escape with a 13-12 overtime win in the first round of last year’s NCAA Tournament.

Fedorjaka speculated that Bucknell’s reputation has dissuaded opposing schools from adding the Bison to their schedules.

“I was kind of hoping after the season we had, it would be a little easier,” he said. “We’ve been trying to get these teams. It’s like in the past, if you lose to Bucknell, it kills your season, and if you beat us, it’s no big deal. I think now, at least with our schedule and at least with where we’ve been ranked, it’s probably more of a helpful team to play. But we’re one of those teams that’s really hard to prepare for because of all the different ways we ride and clear and play defense. It’s kind of a little bit irritating to play us, and that’s the kind of the way we’ve drawn it up, and it’s part of what we do. So I think that’s also part of it. We had Duke on the schedule and then we lost to them in overtime, and they stopped playing us. We had Maryland on the schedule, and then we beat them and they stopped playing us. Of course, Virginia will scrimmage us every year and Carolina will scrimmage us every year, but we can’t really get them on the schedule. So it’s been ongoing, and hopefully, someday, we’ll just be part of that. But we’ll just do what we need to do, I guess.”

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