The Indiana Hoosiers released their schedule today on the school's athletic site. The common theme to the schedule is very few road games.
The 31-game regular season schedule is a favorable one as the Hoosiers don't play a true road game until they travel to Iowa City to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten opener on December 31. We all remember what happened on New Year's Eve last year when Indiana upended Ohio State at home.
Indiana only plays outside of a 150-mile radius from Bloomington, Indiana eight times in the 31-game schedule. Two of those come in mid-November when Indiana travels to Brooklyn, New York to play in the new Brooklyn Nets' arena for a two-game contest with Georgia on the 19th, and the winner or loser of the UCLA/Georgetown game on the 20th.
For the first time in a very long time, Indiana does not have Kentucky on the schedule, as both teams couldn't come to an agreement on a new contract.
My prediction this season though is for Indiana to go 27-4 on the worst-case scenario and earn a No. 1 seed in the Big Ten tourney with a possible No. 1 on the line for the NCAA tournament in March.
If Indiana can get a No. 1 in the Big Dance, the Hoosiers will most likely be put in the Dayton, Detroit, or Lexington hub site for the second and third rounds, and the Indianapolis region for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. That makes a very favorable road to a Final Four as Indiana won't have to travel very far to play.
Indiana should roll through the non-conference with the toughest game being against North Carolina in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on November 27. The Tar Heels lost a lot of their scoring and talent to the NBA and graduation, so I think this will be a tough game for them to win.
The Assembly Hall crowd will be raucous and young teams have a hard time playing in those crowds early in the season. I expect Indiana to win this game by double digits.
The only other tough test will come from Butler in the Crossroads Classic in Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, but Indiana has too much talent and depth to lose this one. I think the game will be close, but Indiana should once again pull a double-digit victory late.
The other games besides the two in Brooklyn are cupcakes as I expect Indiana to roll through the non-conference and enter conference play 13-0.
In conference, Indiana faces a stiff test in the opener at Iowa as I could easily see Indiana dropping this one. Iowa has a lot of depth and talent and will be jacked to play the top ranked team at home on New Year's Eve. This one's too early to predict, but could be a tough one for the Hoosiers.
From there, Indiana should go on a roll of nine straight wins before the February 10 matchup at Ohio State. The Buckeyes will be a bit down this year, but they should perform well at home and Aaron Craft will be tough to stop. Indiana has way more depth, but Ohio State is always a tough matchup to watch out for at home.
After Ohio State, Indiana has home contests against Nebraska and Purdue, which both are wins, then will have three of the last five games being tough. All three are on the road with Michigan State, Minnesota and the finale in Ann Arbor at Michigan.
I can see these being very close contests and going either way. Sandwiched in between, there are two home games against Iowa and Ohio State and the Hoosiers should roll through those.
Overall, this season will be a special one as the last five games of the schedule being the toughest.
November 9, Bryant
November 12, South Dakota State
November 15, Sam Houston State
November 19, Georgia—Brooklyn, NY
November 20, UCLA/Georgetown—Brooklyn, NY
November 25, Ball State
November 27, North Carolina
December 1, Coppin State
December 8, Central Connecticut State
December 15, Butler- Indianapolis, IN
December 19, Mount St. Mary's
December 21, Florida Atlantic
December 28, Jacksonville
December 31, at Iowa
January 7, at Penn State
January 12, Minnesota
January 15, Wisconsin
January 20, at Northwestern
January 23, Penn State
January 27, Michigan State
January 30, at Purdue
February 2, Michigan
February 7, at Illinois
February 10, at Ohio State
February 13, Nebraska
February 16, Purdue
February 19, at Michigan State
February 26, at Minnesota
March 2, Iowa
March 5, Ohio State
March 10, at Michigan
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