The start of Indiana's regular season is almost here. The defending Big Ten champs will try to bring another conference title to Bloomington and make it to the Sweet 16 for the third year in a row.
It's certainly going to be tough for the Hoosiers to accomplish what they did last year. The team is less talented, and the schedule is as tough as ever.
Indiana's nonconference games may look easy, but the Big Ten schedule will be a grind like it always is.
The Hoosiers will play in plenty of important games this season, and this slideshow will outline their five biggest.
This will not be your average early-season nonconference game.
Last year, Syracuse knocked Indiana out of the NCAA tournament in embarrassing fashion. You can bet Tom Crean has reminded his team about that game all offseason.
Sure, the rosters may be different, but players such as Will Sheehey and Yogi Ferrell will be out for revenge against the Orange.
This game is the highlight of an otherwise pretty weak Indiana nonconference schedule. It's IU's best chance to show the country the program hasn't lost a step despite losing its top players from a season ago.
When the Michigan State Spartans come to Bloomington, there is a good chance they will be ranked in the top five, perhaps even No. 1.
Any time you get to take on one of the best teams in America, it's a big game for the program.
This contest will be a good barometer for IU. The Hoosiers will get to see how they stack up against a top team.
Playing well would give a young IU squad plenty of confidence for the rest of the season.
IU has a history of taking down elite Michigan State teams in Assembly Hall. In the 2000-01 season, the No. 1 Spartans were knocked off by a last-second Kirk Haston three-pointer. Two years ago, Michigan State came to Bloomington as the No. 2 team and left with a loss.
Will history repeat itself this year?
This contest makes the list because of the Hoosiers' massive losing streak to the Badgers. Wisconsin has beaten IU 12 straight times.
Playing Wisconsin at home represents Indiana's best chance at getting the monkey, or rather badger, off its back.
This game is definitely one that is circled on IU's schedule.
This game is always a highlight of the Hoosiers' schedule. IU faces its archrival just once this year, and it's on the road.
This contest will have added meaning because Indiana has dominated the series as of late. The Hoosiers embarrassed Purdue twice last year, so those results will be on the minds of Purdue players and fans alike.
In order to keep the momentum in the rivalry, Indiana must knock off what will be a much-improved Purdue team.
For the second season in a row, Indiana finishes the regular season in Ann Arbor. Much like last year, this game could be very important to the Hoosiers.
If IU is at the top of the Big Ten standings, this outcome could determine whether or not it wins a conference championship.
If the Hoosiers are on the NCAA tournament bubble, this one could be the difference between making the tourney or playing in the NIT.
Either way, Indiana will have its hands full with a very talented and dangerous Michigan squad.