Numbers game


It’s clear that Florida learned an important lesson when it put together its 2010-11 non-conference schedule.
It pays to pad the schedule with tough games in November in December.
Florida’s 13 losses in 2009 was its most in a season since 1997-98. But the Gators still reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007 because of a non-conference schedule that was more challenging.
And it’s not just at the top. Gone this season are the Florida A&M’s, North Florida’s and Florida Gulf Coast University’s, sub 300-RPI teams that weighed UF’s strength of schedule down in previous seasons.
Florida has eight non-conference games scheduled against Top 100 RPI opponents. Only four opponents are below the RPI Top 200 and one (North Carolina A&T) below the RPI Top 300.
Here’s a look at the RPIs of Florida’s non-conference opponents, based on the end of last season:

Kansas State — 5
Xavier — 17
Ohio State — 20
Florida State — 43
Rhode Island — 46
Kent State — 71
Fairfield — 82
Morehead State — 91
Jacksonville — 130
Radford — 172
UCF — 189
Florida Atlantic — 218
UNC-Wilmington — 235
American — 295
North Carolina A&T — 301