Basketball nonconference analysis: Texas A&M, SMU

This week, ESPN.com is breaking down the nonconference schedules of each and every team in a dozen of nation's top leagues.


Toughest: N/A

Next-toughest: at Utah (Dec. 18), Cable Car Classic (Dec. 21-22), Wyoming (Jan. 2)

The rest: Loyola Marymount (Nov. 11), at TCU (Nov. 15), at Texas State (Nov. 17), Alcorn State (Nov. 19), Rider (Nov. 21), Hoops For Hope Classic (Nov. 24-25), at Hofstra (Dec. 1), at Rhode Island (Dec. 15), Furman (Dec. 30)

Toughness scale (1-10): 2 -- Southern Methodist had a huge offseason, hiring the legendary Larry Brown and a coterie of well-respected assistants. In a year, it will join the Big East. Big things are happening. If you didn't know any better, though, this schedule could convince you otherwise. It is awful.

-- Eamonn Brennan


Toughest: CBE Classic (Nov. 19-20 in Kansas City)

Next-toughest: vs. Oklahoma (Dec. 15 in Oklahoma City), at Houston (Dec. 1)

The rest: Louisiana Tech (Nov. 9), Troy (Nov. 12), Prairie View A&M (Nov. 15), Northwestern State (Nov. 26), Stephen F. Austin (Dec. 5), Texas A&M Corpus-Christi (Dec. 18), Southern (Dec. 22), Army (Dec. 29), Houston Baptist (Jan. 4)

Toughness scale (1-10): 4 -- The Aggies could have a tough SEC debut after losing so much talent from last season (see Khris Middleton and Dash Harris). This slate features enough of a cakewalk to build their confidence prior to conference play, although the CBE opener against Saint Louis is top-notch and either Kansas or Washington State awaits.

-- Myron Medcalf