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Indiana's Conference Schedule and the Order of Difficulty

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Contributor Red Ramaker compiled what he thought would be the order of remaining games hardest victories to easiest. Because of that, I thought it would be a good idea to put a list that we could continue to reference throughout the rest of the conference schedule. This list, as it currently stands is the schedule with the toughness schedule on a scale of 1-18 next to the game in bold. The full list in order is below that. Take a look at the list and then we'll break down the games.

12/31/2013 at Illinois #6

1/4/2014 vs. Michigan State #9

1/11/2014 at Penn State #10

1/14/2014 vs. Wisconsin #7

1/18/2014 vs. Northwestern #18

1/21/2014 at Michigan State #2

1/26/2014 vs. Illinois #15

1/30/2014 at Nebraska #13

2/2/2014 vs. Michigan #12

2/8/2014 at Minnesota #4

2/12/2014 vs. Penn State #16

2/15/2014 at Purdue #11

2/18/2014 vs. Iowa #8

2/22/2014 at Northwestern #14

2/25/2014 at Wisconsin #1

3/2/2014 vs. Ohio State #5

3/5/2014 vs. Nebraska #17

3/8/2014 at Michigan #3

Order of Difficulty

  1. @Wisconsin
  2. @Michigan State
  3. @Michigan
  4. @Minnesota
  5. Ohio State
  6. @Illinois
  7. Wisconsin
  8. Iowa
  9. Michigan State
  10. @Penn State
  11. @Purdue
  12. Michigan
  13. @Nebraska
  14. @Northwestern
  15. Illinois
  16. Penn State
  17. Nebraska
  18. Northwestern

This list makes the idea of making the tournament feel a little daunting in my eyes. Red Ramaker said he thought that he saw 8-10 in the remaining schedule and I'd say that's a pretty good assessment when looking at it in this lense. Now of course there is the whole issue of Mitch McGary being out for Michigan which makes going into their house not the third toughest schedule on the game, but it's still a game where Indiana will go in as dogs. In all honesty, I feel confident in getting victories only up until the Michigan State game.

If that confidence comes to fruition the Hoosiers will finish the conference 9-9 and on the NCAA bubble. That doesn't leave a whole lot of room for error. Go into West Lafayette and succumb to the passions of a rivalry and you're on the outside looking in before the conference tournament begins. I've always been of the opinion that you should never want to be relying on your results in a conference tournament to get you anything. But there is a very good chance Indiana winds up that way.

I'm curious to what everyone else thinks of this list. If Indiana goes and wins @Illinois tomorrow night do we all breathe a sigh of relief and feel a lot better about ourselves? What if we lose? Red Ramaker pointed out that 2-4 is a very likely start with the way our conference schedule begins. If you assume that single digit games (the top half of the list) are likely losses and the double digit games are likely wins, then we're looking at a schedule that never really gives us a feeling of comfort.

We're talking about starting 1-3 before getting to a peak of 7-5  before trading battles for the final 7 games. It looks very much like Indiana could be going into Michigan just like last year on the final game of the season to get a season defining win. Get it and you're likely a lock for the tournament at 10-8, don't and you're going to be sitting around on selection Sunday sweating it out with a lot of other teams.