The Seattle University Redhawks got off to a great start in 2018-19, finishing the non-conference schedule 12-3. Seattle checked off wins against PAC-12 Conference foes Washington State and California. The Redhawks also beat Denver in the WAC/Summit League Challenge along with in-state foe and head coach Jim Hayford’s former team, Eastern Washington.
One of the blemishes was a loss at home against Southern Utah. The other two losses on the Seattle schedule are understandable. Playing Stanford and Washington on the road is no easy task.
However, the wheels fell off once conference play started. Much of that is attributed to a plague of injuries Seattle suffered through. But head coach Jim Hayford has a different viewpoint and spoke about it at WAC Media Day on Oct. 9.
“Last year, we went through the non-conference at 12-3. We were in perfect health and went 2-2 against the PAC-12. And then injuries hit and we probably should have had a little more adversity against in November and December. And so I probably overcompensated for that.”
Overcompensate might be a great definition of the Seattle non-conference schedule in 2019-20.
The Redhawks play in two preseason tournaments, both on the east coast. In fact, Seattle takes two trips across the country in two weeks. It is “a little less than ideal,” according to Hayford.
Seattle has seven games that will be nationally televised including games at Syracuse and at Ole Miss as part of the 2019 NIT Season Tip-Off Early Round. Also, as part of the 2019 NIT Season Tip-Off, Seattle will play Bucknell in Orlando and either Yale or Western Michigan in the second game.
“You’re playing great competition and you’re getting exposure,” Hayford said. “This opportunity came at us late in the Summer … it involved two nationally televised games … I like the opportunity to play. One’s at Syracuse and one’s at Ole Miss. And then a great tournament down in Orlando with Yale and Bucknell and Western Michigan.
“It’s a great opportunity. It’s seven games on national television for Seattle University and for the WAC, playing against really good competition.”
Hayford’s veteran group will also take on crosstown foe Washington on Dec. 17. And, the Redhawks will travel to Pullman for a date with Washington State on Nov. 7 to tip-off the 2019-20 season. Yes, Seattle hosts Saint Martin’s on Oct. 22 but considering it is an exhibition game, it doesn’t necessarily count as the first game of the season.
Two other big names on the Seattle schedule are Long Beach State and Saint Mary’s. The Redhawks host Long Beach State on Dec. 23 and travel to Moraga, Calif. to face the Gaels on Dec. 28. The trip to Moraga is the final non-conference game before Seattle tips off conference play at UMKC on Jan. 2.
Seattle also hosts in-state foe Eastern Washington on Nov. 9. The Redhawks defeated the Eagles, 88-68 in 2018.
Seattle might not find the same success in the non-conference as it did in 2018-19. However, 10-4 is most likely the record to come out of a difficult non-conference schedule. Perhaps with a veteran group that lost only one player from a season ago, an upset will happen. But, for Hayford and the Redhawks, it’s about facing adversity, growing as a team, and being prepared for conference play. Oh, and keeping the injury bug from rearing its ugly head once again.