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Analyzing Indiana men’s basketball’s Big Ten schedule

The Hoosiers’ conference slate is here:

Illinois v Indiana Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Big Ten officially released the 2023-24 men’s basketball schedule on Tuesday. Indiana’s conference opponents are now set in stone.

We took a look at the schedule to make note of anything interesting and break down what it could mean.

Points of Interest

  • Indiana will open Big Ten play at home against Maryland on Dec. 1
  • Indiana’s will welcome Michigan State to Assembly Hall on March 10 for senior night
  • Indiana’s matchups with rival Purdue will be played on Jan. 16 (home) and Feb. 10 (away)
  • Indiana does not play a game from Feb. 11-17, between going to Purdue and hosting Northwestern

Overall Notes

For this, we’re going to break the schedule down into five-game quarters for the sake of assessing stretches, ease.

  • Dec. 1 vs. Maryland
  • Dec. 5 at Michigan
  • Jan. 3 at Nebraska
  • Jan. 6 vs Ohio State
  • Jan. 9 at Rutgers

There’s obviously some nonconference mixed in here as Indiana eases into Big Ten play. Indiana will play Auburn in Atlanta before hosting Kansas, Morehead State, North Alabama and Kennesaw State between travelling to Michigan and Nebraska.

Maryland will be in year two of the Kevin Willard era and may perform better than their 2-9 record on the road from last season. Michigan lost its prize transfer portal acquisition, Caleb Love, to Arizona and projects to have a down year in 2022-23.

Michigan teams in the last few years have tended to pick up steam as the season goes on, so catching them early is probably best to avoid nail-biters like last year. By February, they tend to be a desperate team.

A trip to Nebraska is not something to take lightly. The Huskers nearly knocked off Purdue last year and Keisei Tominaga is still getting shots up in Lincoln.

Ohio State will likely improve from last year’s record simply because of how bad they were before getting a few things right down the stretch, don’t count on them looking just as lost as they did in 2022-23.

Rutgers too will likely have a down year after losing Paul Mulcahy and Cam Spencer to the transfer portal, but the RAC has proven to be a rough environment for even the best of teams before.

  • Jan. 12 vs. Minnesota
  • Jan. 16 vs. Purdue
  • Jan. 19 at Wisconsin
  • Jan. 27 at Illinois
  • Jan. 30 vs. Iowa

This could be a weird one.

Minnesota will likely be even more hapless than last year after losing both one of their best players (Jameson Battle, transfer to Ohio State) and best recruits, Dennis Evans, to Louisville.

Then there’s Jan. 16 vs. rival Purdue, the earliest game in the series since 2021. Matt Painter returns every major contributor from his Big Ten championship team while adding a transfer addition, recruits and more.

Mike Woodson appeared to have cracked the code against last year’s Purdue team considering how limited an offense that features Zach Edey and Braden Smith has to be. Still, they looked like one of the best teams in the conferences for large stretches of last year, so they can’t be taken lightly.

The Kohl Center has proven to be a bit of a nightmare arena for Indiana as of late, so the trip to Wisconsin could get weird regardless of how either team looks leading up to it. The following trip to Champaign , where Brad Underwood also retained most of his key players save for Matthew Mayer and any point guard, doesn’t exactly help either.

Then there’s Iowa, which has proven to be a difficult opponent for Indiana these past few years with matchups in the 2022 Big Ten Tournament before a blown lead loss in Iowa City and a beatdown at home last year.

Again, weird.

  • Feb. 3 vs. Penn State
  • Feb. 6 at Ohio State
  • Feb. 10 at Purdue
  • Feb. 18 vs Northwestern
  • Feb. 21 vs. Nebraska

Penn State will likely look significantly different under Mike Rhoades than Micah Shrewsberry, who left for Notre Dame following the 2022-23 season. However, they added enough talent in the portal not to be overlooked.

Again, Ohio State will probably look better, but a road environment in Columbus isn’t as intimidating as multiple venues in the rest of the conference. Aside from last year when they were bad for the whole season, Chris Holtmann teams usually start to fall off around this time of the year anyway.

At Purdue is an entirely different story, it’ll be the most hostile environment Indiana faces all season. The Hoosiers swept the Boilers last year, but again Purdue returns its lineup while Indiana’s will be almost entirely different.

Indiana’s sole matchup with Northwestern will come at Assembly Hall. It’ll be interesting to see how the wildcats look a year after their breakout with Boo Buie once again leading the charge.

Again, Nebraska shouldn’t be overlooked. Even at home.

  • Feb. 24 at Penn State
  • Feb. 27 vs. Wisconsin
  • March 3 at Maryland
  • March 6 at Minnesota
  • March 10 vs. Michigan State

Again with Penn State, it’s been a weird road environment for Indiana and they have the talent and familiarity with the new system to be interesting.

Wisconsin! Again! This time at home!

Maryland should have a great home environment and I fully expect them to be as good if not better than last year’s team. This’ll be a difficult road matchup down the stretch.

Minnesota. (no).

Finally, last but as far as possible from least, Michigan State on senior night. The Spartans will be one of the two favorites, alongside Purdue, to win the conference. They look impressive, like an Izzo Final Four run impressive. This’ll be a very difficult matchup with experience and talent up and down the roster.

There’s the Big Ten Tournament, of course, but that’s neither here nor there.

Overall I’d call this conference slate a fairly decent draw. Indiana has just one matchup with Michigan State and it’s at home when the season’s outcome is all but decided. I’d include Purdue here but the two always play twice every year.

It’ll all depend on if the talent on the roster is able to play well together and stay energized to beat the Nebraskas, Minnesotas and Penn States along with the Purdues and Michigan States.