The business side of college basketball comes starkly to life on the Basketball Travelers Schedule Board.
It's a disconcerting place where high and high-mid teams offer guarantees - money - to low and even D-II and D-III teams to fill in their non-conference schedule with single game and home/home series.
DePaul, Northwestern and UIC have all been active on the board this offseason, but a certain post listing first-year UIC assistant Al Biancalana caught my eye as a first of its kind in Chicago.
WEEKEND IN CHICAGO - TWO GAME SWING!
The post, dated April 29, begins.
The University of Illinois-Chicago and Loyola University are looking for
a team wanting to come to Chicago for a two-game swing. This will be a
combined negotiated guarantee opportunity. Come play UIC on Saturday,
December 17, 2011 and then play at Loyola University on Monday, December
This is the start of something interesting, and it's good to see the Horizon League teams in Chicago working in tandem to bring a reputable program to town with a combined (read: larger) guarantee.
A low-mid without any outstanding holiday tournament commitments looking to travel for the long weekend would be great for the Ramblers and Flames who could both be hurting for wins early next season.
But really, the whole board is interesting, if disheartening.
Some teams, the Horizon League's Wright State for example, actually market an easy win, boasting, "We lost 4 starters (2 all-conference) from last season." Wow, right?
DePaul's most recent post, from April 14, is in search of an opponent to visit Allstate Arena between Dec. 4-8, and Northwestern is in search of both a home and home series and a hosted guarantee game in November or December.