Indiana St. Sycamores (14-15, 119th Strength of schedule) – This one might be surprising, however despite their non-conference schedule failures, they have been one of the more tougher teams in the Missouri Valley conference. Of course, they are no Wichita St. Shockers or Northern Iowa Panthers, but they have certainly played them the toughest. The Sycamores have also swept the Illinois St. Redbirds and Loyola (IL) Ramblers, as well as beat the Evansville Purple Aces at home. So, they do have some decent wins, but also have some very bluntly bad losses like on the road against the Drake Bulldogs and Missouri St. Bears or at home against the UMKC Kangaroo’s. However, I do think they are a better team than their record indicates and I guarantee next year, with only one senior departing, that they will be players in the Missouri Valley conference.
Long Beach St. 49ers (13-15, 38th Strength of schedule) – Continuing the tread of teams with losing records, this one is a little different given that they had 10th strongest non-conference schedule and the 38th strongest schedule overall. It’s easy to see why they didn’t accumulate many wins, especially given they played ranked teams on the road and several other top notch teams. They however played these teams rather close, losing on the road to the BYU Cougars by five, the San Diego St. Aztecs by one and the Texas Longhorns by ten. The 49ers also played the Syracuse Orange, Louisville Cardinals, UCLA Bruins, Washington Cougars and Xavier Musketeers twice, defeating them once. The win over the Xavier Musketeers is perhaps their best, but defeating the Kansas St. Wildcats, Western Michigan Broncos and UCI Irvine Anteaters stand out as well. The 49ers actually started out conference play 7-1, with the only loss coming on the road in OT against the Big West leaders in the UC Davis Aggies. Since then though, they have dropped four straight, putting them two games under .500% and back to mediocrity.