Yes, the CSU Bakersfield schedule in its entirety came out just recently. Okay, less than 24 hours ago. So, with it fresh on the minds of everyone, it is time to take a look at what head coach Rod Barnes has put together for the ‘Runners final season in the WAC.
CSUB plays five NCAA Tournament qualifiers from the 2018-19 season. The ‘Runners also take a trip to SEC country in what was going to be a homecoming of sorts for guard Jarkel Joiner. However, Joiner decided to transfer following the 2018-19 season so now it’s just another game for the Roadrunners. We will get to that in just a moment.
Here is something to think about now that the CSU Bakersfield schedule is out. WAC schools will play Kentucky, Kansas, Gonzaga, Texas Tech, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Arizona among others. That’s a pretty impressive list of Power 5 Conference schools. Imagine if some of the WAC schools pulled off mammoth upsets in these guarantee games. The college basketball world would go crazy.
So let’s look at the Roadrunners difficult non-conference schedule. It is the difficult of the road games that is impressive. At Northern Iowa, at San Francisco, at Gonzaga, at Ole Miss, at Idaho, at Cal Poly, and at Texas Tech.
According to Blue Ribbon ‘s preseason top-25, Gonzaga and Texas Tech are ranked 10th and 11th, respectively. San Francisco is coming off a 21-win season where the Dons swept BYU and beat both Cal and Stanford of the PAC-12. Ole Miss won 20 games last season and earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament as an 8-seed where the Rebels lost to 9-seed Oklahoma.
And playing on the road against a Missouri Valley Conference opponent isn’t going to be a cakewalk. Although Northern Iowa has struggled recently, the Panthers are just three years removed from knocking off Texas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The home games aren’t much to write about. Three of the games are against non-NCAA Division I opponents. CSU Bakersfield hosts South Dakota State as part of the WAC/Summit League Challenge. Other opponents coming to the Icardo Center include Montana State, Sam Houston State, Hampton, and UC Santa Barbara.
It is a challenge schedule to say the least. In fact, might be the toughest one out of all the WAC schools. Without guards Jarkel Joiner (transfer) and Rickey Holden (graduation), it might be a long year for the ‘Runners. One thing is for sure; Rod Barnes is not afraid to challenge his team with the tall task they will face in the non-conference schedule.