I’m starting to see a few 2018 schedules getting released by various schools and I want to analyze some of the teams that should be able to make some noise come November. The first schedule I came across was for UT-Dallas and it’s a good one.
The DIII schedule starts this year on Friday, August 31 and there are a number of tournaments that weekend. In a future post I hope to catalog all of the tournaments West Region teams will attend during the season and look at the teams from other regions that we’ll compete against. As it turns out, UTD will be hosting their own tournament Labor Day weekend but right now I only see them playing two teams (both on Friday), Wis.-Superior and Heidelberg. Both of these teams were good in 2017 with DePauw earning an at-large NCAA bid. Looking towards this upcoming season, Heidelberg was one of the teams I identified as a possible Top 25 team back in January after examining the statistics loss due to senior graduation.
The following weekend, UTD will head down to Trinity for their Invitational that looks to be stacked with some good teams. UTD will draw the defending champions Claremont-Mudd-Scripps followed by TLU, La Verne and then host Trinity.
The third weekend of matches sees UTD flying out to CMS to play Cal Lutheran, host CMS (in a rematch) and Emory. Quite an impressive list of matches to start the year for a squad that should be one of the top in the nation.
UTD will then start into its conference schedule but will take a break in early October to play at Southwestern University. To top off the year, the last weekend sees the Comets flying to Washington-St. Louis for their tournament where they play Millikin, DePauw and host WUSTL.
I believe UT-Dallas will be able to hit the ground running in 2018 due to minimal statistic losses due to graduation. On top of this, they should see the return of a couple of top players that were injured for the entire 2017 season. So, despite their daunting schedule, I think UTD has a real chance to do damage and put themselves in a great spot in the West Region. Nationally, Emory looks to be a top contender for the championship this year along with WUSTL so these matches will be a great measuring stick for the Comets. Millikin appears to be heading for a down year but DePauw has a good chance to finish the year in the Top 25 so another good test for this team.
Overall, UT-Dallas is scheduling perfectly. They are playing a tough national schedule while playing the traditional top teams in the West Region – CMS, Cal Lu, La Verne, Trinity, Southwestern in addition to conference foe UMHB. They don’t see a Northwest Conference team, which is probably the only issue I can dream up with their schedule, but you can’t argue with any school that takes two trips out of state in a season.