With Johns Hopkins' looming entrance into the Big Ten, the Jays' schedule have a different flavor in 2015 compared to its 2014 taste. Hopkins will need to save dates for five Big Ten opponents, potentially erasing traditional games with frequent opponents. There will be discomfort related to this transition, but the coming spring does provide one last opportunity to watch the Jays dictate their own momentum with an independent slate.
Here are some schedule highlights and games of note:
March 15: Syracuse; March 22: @Virginia; March 29: North Carolina; April 4: Albany; April 12: Maryland
This stretch -- a brutal period of consecutive games -- has become a tent pole aspect to the Jays' yearly agenda: Since 2009, Hopkins has played these exact teams in this exact order on virtually the same dates of the calendar each season. While this defining period of contests shapes the nature of the Jays' overall schedule, Johns Hopkins hasn't had tremendous success in this stretch over the last five season, going just 12-13 against these opponents in their regular season meetings:
- 2009: 2-3 (beat Albany and Maryland)
- 2010: 1-4 (beat Albany)
- 2011: 4-1 (lost to Syracuse)
- 2012: 3-2 (lost to Carolina and Maryland)
- 2013: 2-3 (beat Virginia and Maryland)
February 9: Ohio State; March 2: v. Princeton (Baltimore, M.D.); May 5: @Loyola
There's pressure here in important games; these are opportunities to bag valuable wins in tough spots, necessary resume builders that yield great reward. The date with Ohio State is an odd 11:30 A.M. Sunday morning start, a weird way to begin the Jays' 2014 campaign (television, everyone!). Loyola could loom as a season-ending must-win game, an iteration of the Hopkins-Loyola rivalry that should see the Greyhounds firing on all cylinders late in the year after having its postseason avenues somewhat determined in the Patriot League Tournament. And the Face-Off Classic date with Princeton provides an early season chance to announce that 2013 was an aberration and that the Jays have the horses to run with the strongest teams in the nation, building momentum toward Hopkins' vitally important stretch of five monster games starting with Syracuse in mid-March. All of these games are critical but in different ways.
Building Toward Double-Digit Wins
February 15: Towson; February 22; @Michigan; March 4: @Mount St. Mary's; March 8: @UMBC; April 18: @Navy; April 23: Villanova
There isn't flash here, but these are serious planks that build the Jays' postseason resume. Running through these six games without issue provides the foundation for Hopkins to pursue and add big-ticket victories against the nation's hyper-elite. Without an unblemished run through this part of the schedule, potentially influential victories against some of the country's better teams lose a little bit of shine.