As we all remember, and as Royal John pointed out in his post from yesterday, the Travis Ford lead Cowboys are no stranger to tearing up the last seven games of the season in order to solidify a spot in the tourney. In the 2008-2009 season, a 3-6 Cowboy team went 6-1 over the last seven games to secure an 8 seed. Last season, the 4-5 Pokes went 5-2 over the last seven to end the season on a high note, and earn a 7 seed. This year, the Cowboys face a similar situation as they once again sit at 4-5, needing to close out these final seven games with at least four wins to have a chance at seeing the kind of postseason action we are used to.
What I wanted to do here was inspired by a comment in Royal's post about how these final seven games stack up against the final seven from the last two seasons. Here are the schedules, with the win % and average kenpom ratings of the last seven opponents.
As you can see, the winning percentage of the final seven opponents is much better this season, yet the kenpom rating basically splits the difference of the two... so make of that what you will. Also of note is that in the previous two seasons, the Pokes only had to go on the road for 3 of their final 7, this season they have to travel for 4 games.
Overall, it would appear that the path through these last seven games is slightly more daunting this season, given the additional road game, tougher opponents (on paper), and the wildcard that is the Darrell Williams suspension. I'm not saying I don't think it can be done or anything like that (I think I have proven my eternal Cowboy optimism/delusion enough over the course of writing here for the past 7 months), but the schedule isn't quite doing us the favors it did in 2008, and this version of the Pokes don't have a "take us home" kind of a guy like Big Game James was last season. So Travis and the fellas will have to get creative (again), and find a whole new way to get the Cowboys to at least the 8 win mark. I am keeping my fingers crossed for a seven game Markel/JPO highlight reel, but will settle for a "Franklin and Shaw really put in some solid and boring minutes" if that is what it takes.