2007-08 basketball schedule: idiocy in evidence.

IU announced the 2007-08 basketball schedule. Unfortunately, it isn't yet available in list form, but here is the article. On the positive side, season ticketholders can look forward to quite a home schedule. Thanks to the 18 game home schedule, IU plays every Big Ten team at home except Michigan. Home games against Connecticut, Kentucky, and Georgia Tech (Big Ten/ACC) highlight the nonconference schedule.
On the downside, despite the expanded conference schedule, IU and Purdue play only once in conference play for the next two years. This year's game is in Bloomington and next year's will be at Mackey. I'm not sure how to explain the Big Ten's idiocy on this issue. Why aren't there protected rivalries in basketball as there are in football? Indiana-Purdue is one of the most intense rivalries in college basketball, and while both programs declined for much of the last decade, in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s it was a nationally prominent rivalry. From 1972 (Knight's first year) to 2000 (Knight's last year and the end of Keady's best years) IU and Purdue combined for 18 Big Ten titles (8 outright and 3 shared for IU; 4 outright and 3 shared for Purdue). From 1972-1996, no more than two seasons ever passed without one of the schools winning a share of the title, and that only happened twice (77-78; 85-86).
As I said, this rivalry has declined in recent years, in part because of the departure of two larger-than-life coaches but mostly because of the quality of play. Since Purdue's "three-Pete" (gag) from 1994-1996, IU's 1/5th share of the Big Ten title in 2002 is the only conference title won by either school. The era of decline seems to be coming to an end. Kelvin Sampson has re-energized the IU program, enrolled a top 10 recruiting class, and IU seems to be a consensus top 10 pick for the upcoming season. Matt Painter has recruited very well (four top 100 kids, all from Indiana, enrolling in a couple of weeks) and made the NCAA in only his second year leading what had been a terrible program for most of the decade. Also, these coaches don't like each other. Painter is a protege of Keady protege Bruce Weber, and other than Weber himself, no coach has been more publicly critical of Sampson for recruiting Eric Gordon than has Painter. Painter worked himself into a self-righteous fury over some trash-talk by former Hoosier Earl Calloway during last year's game.
If the Big Ten office understands anything, it's TV revenue. IU-Purdue could re-emerge as one of the nation's top rivalries. Yet, they have done nothing to protect this rivalry. Can you imagine the ACC acting this way?


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