Big Ten Basketball: Ranking & Analyzing the Non-Conference Schedules

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Big Ten Basketball: Ranking & Analyzing the Non-Conference Schedules
Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Look upon the picture from Indiana vs. Kentucky last December with nostalgia because this season may not feature many Big Ten non-conference games as compelling as that one.

With the end of the home-and-home border rivalry, the Hoosiers have had to look elsewhere for quality opponents—but did they find them? Are Big Ten schools testing themselves in the early going or merely seeking some tuneup wins to settle their rotations?

The games in this article are divided into four categories.

"Don't Miss" games are ones that demand you set your DVR if you're a fan of college basketball, let alone a fan of the team involved.

"Don't Sleep" games are the ones that may need closer looks to find the appeal, but in these games, there is appeal to be found.

"Don't Bother" games usually involve teams from the Southland Conference. OK, not all of them, but no matter which conference the opponents are from, these games should give walk-ons chances to play sometime in the last 10 minutes. The category could be called "Don't Bother Unless You Have a Family Member Who Sits On the End of the Bench," but that's very long and clunky.

"Don't Know" games are primarily part of eight-team tournaments and have four potential opponents. The exception is for Purdue, which is apparently so fearsome this season that no one wants to come to Mackey Arena for a tournament's regional round. More on that later.

Check out each team's non-conference slate. Then, discuss and rank them yourself, if you're so inclined.

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