78 days: Countdown to the Bucks' 10/11 season begins

Check out Rilamann's terrific four-part mix on the 09/10 Bucks

We've hit the dead zone of the NBA calendar, but despair not: the schedule is out and we're now "just" 78 days away from games that actually matter.  OK, so that still seems like a long time, but we'll make it. I promise.

As usual, the Bucks will start the season on the road, kicking things off with a 7 pm game in New Orleans on Wednesday, October 27. They get a day off before heading to Minnesota for a Friday night game, followed 24 hours later by the traditional Saturday night home opener, this time against the Bobs. Not the toughest start to the season on paper.  Head over to Bucks.com for some more scheduling notes as well as ticket options, and read on for some more analysis of the schedule.  

Home/Road. The Bucks only have two months with more games at home than on the road: February (7 home/5 road) and March (10/5). Eyeballing the schedule, it looks like they should be OK as long as they survive December and the early part of January, a stretch that features six road games out West and eight of nine home games against 2010 playoff teams.

Going national. The Bucks have eight nationally televised games, four each on ESPN and NBATV. So yeah, I guess we can't complain quite so much about the programming geeks in Bristol and Secaucus disrespecting Milwaukee. Best of all, some of the games are actually winnable, too. Road games in Boston (11/3, 3/13) and Miami (4/6) will be tough, but home tilts against Golden State (55 points, part deux?), Orlando, Denver, Chicago and Boston (again) will put the BC crowd front and center.    

Back-to-back. The bad news is that the Bucks will play a league-high 23 back-to-backs, their most in 16 years. However, only 11 of those are of the road/road variety, which is actually the second-lowest total in the league. All told the Bucks' schedule is one of extremes. They have 22 games on one day of rest (lowest in the league), 19 games with two days (the most), and five games with 3+ days (second fewest).

For reference, the Bucks had 22 back-to-backs last year and 21 in 08/09, though it seemed like more since a whopping eight of them came in the first month of the season. The good news is that the Bucks excelled on the second night of back-to-backs a year ago, winning 14 of 22 games. That came in spite of Andrew Bogut performing significantly better when rested (though curiously his free throw shooting was best with no rest). 

Less is more? The Bucks face each Eastern foe twice at home and twice on the road, with the exception of Boston (1 home game), Charlotte (1 road), New Jersey (1 road), and Washington (1 home). Seems like a fair mix of good and bad, though Milwaukee will get just one chance to see John Wall.

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