2009-2010 schedule: Five toughest opponents

  • 08/19/2009 3:10 pm in

Indiana released it’s 2009-2010 schedule earlier today and here’s a look at five of the toughest opponents on the docket.

5. Maryland (Assembly Hall, December 1, 7:30 PM, ESPN2): Senior guard Greivis Vasquez returns to lead a Terrapin team that went 21-14 a year ago, advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and should be among the top 25 teams in the country. The Venezuela native averaged 17.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg and 5.0 apg as a junior and tested the NBA Draft waters before deciding to return. Besides Vasquez, Gary Williams returns three other starters. It will be the first trip for Maryland to Assembly Hall.

4. Michigan (Crisler Arena, January 14, 9:00 PM, ESPN/ESPN2): Year three of the John Beilein era in Ann Arbor could find the Wolverines square in the middle of the Big Ten race with Michigan State and Purdue. After winning one game in the NCAA Tournament a year ago, Beilein has the pieces in place to make a run deeper into March. The one-two punch of guard Manny Harris and forward DeShawn Sims is arguably the best in the conference and the supporting cast is strong with guards Laval Lucas-Perry, Stu Douglass and Zack Novak all returning.

3. Michigan State (Assembly Hall, February 16, 7:00 PM, ESPN): The Spartans knocked off a pair of No. 1 seeds in Connecticut and Louisville a year ago before falling to North Carolina in the national championship. Forward Goran Suton and guard Travis Walton are both gone, but Kalin Lucas returns as the front runner for Big Ten Player of the Year. Sprinkle in a healthy Delvon Roe with wings Durrell Summers and Chris Allen and the Spartans could be looking at Tom Izzo’s sixth Final Four appearance.

2. Kentucky (Assembly Hall, December 12, 12:00 PM, CBS): The Billy Gillispie era was short lived in Lexington and the Wildcats swung for the fences by hiring former Memphis coach John Calipari. The move paid immediate dividends as Calipari brought in the nation’s top recruiting class, highlighted by point guard John Wall and forward DeMarcus Cousins. Jodie Meeks opted for the NBA Draft, but forward Patrick Patterson returns to anchor the front court with Cousins and freshman Daniel Orton. Kentucky will be a consensus top five team nationally, but are there enough basketball’s to keep everybody happy?

1. Purdue (Mackey Arena, March 2/3/4, TBA, TBA): The rivalry between Indiana and Purdue will only become more heated as Tom Crean and Matt Painter battle for in-state recruits to build their programs. The Boilermakers figure to be in the race for the Big Ten regular season title and this late season test on the road could be the toughest of all for a young Indiana team. E’Twaun Moore, Robbie Hummel and JuJuan Johnson should all compete for first team All-Big Ten honors and Chris Kramer returns for his final season in West Lafayette.

Just missed the cut: Ole Miss (Puerto Rico Coliseum, November 19, 5:00 PM, ESPN2); Pittsburgh (Madison Square Garden, December 8, 9:00 PM, ESPN); Ohio State (Value City Arena, January 6, 8:30 PM, BTN); Illinois (Assembly Hall, January 30, 2:00 PM, ESPN/ESPN2).

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  • DMJ

    Pitt at the Garden will be tougher than when we get Maryland at home. It's debatable as to who is the better team, but NYC and MSG has been a second home to Pitt in the last decade, whereas we'll have a home court advantage on the Terps.

    In the long run it really doesn't matter though — both will crush us into the ground.

  • dale11

    I like the optimism.

  • Kelin Blab

    Out of these 5….I think we can….

    Beat Maryland at home: Home court game, kids will have something to prove, Vasquez will do something to piss off the IU faithful, and we do have some guys who could match up with him.

    Be in the game against Michigan, we always play them tough no matter where and had them beat with less talent last year.

    Mich St. will show us why they are always good and take control of the game late.

    Purdue late in the season usually plays well and I don' think we are there yet, we will play them tough but they will pull away at the end…or sooner. Mackey is a tough arena….

    We WILL BEAT KY at HOME! Did I miss something here as to why KY is ranked so high? They are still freshmen you know along with booger. KY is NOT going to come into bloomington and win with a bunch of Frosh. I think the deciding factor is, this team will have something to prove on a nationally televised game and this game 'atmosphere' could rival that of Duke IU a few years ago….This isn't a 'heart' prediction but early in the season freshmen are freshmen, AH is AH, and there is NOT a massive talent gap as it was last year with these two teams.

    which is why I am saving to get scalpers tickets………

  • StuHoo

    Good for you Kelin; you are absolutely right. We may or may not beat Ky, but it is an absolutely 'winnable' game. Guys like Elston, Capo, Watford, etc. routinely competed effectively against Orton, Cousins in AAU. OSU on the road is easily just as tough a a game…and by the way, I don't care if they aren't highly ranked next year; at Wisconsin is an 'L' darn near guaranteed.

  • Bryan

    I'm not sure I buy into the hype that Kentucky is a Final Four team, but given that both squads are going to be leaving heavily on underclassmen, you have to give the edge to UK, simply because they have Patrick Patterson.

  • Kelin Blab

    But we have Tijan Jobe……

  • I agree with you totally here Kelin. Except I think we'll give Mich State a little more than they want. Not saying we'll win but Izzo will have to sweat a little before getting that W. we gave them all they wanted last year at the Hall.
    Also i do think we can beat Kentucky. I think that team will take a while to become a team. Too many guys used to scoring 25-30 a game. I think we'll be a more solid team early in the season and since we get them pretty early I think we can steal this one and if we end up around the 18 win mark it might push us into the NCAA (thats an optimistic outlook I know but hey who cares)

  • tomcreansdietcoke

    hahaha! i love it, kelin.

    I agree with everyone that this game is very winnable, especially with UK relying on so much freshman talent. Yes, Patterson will be our biggest problem, but certainly one of our 6 players at 6'8'' or taller can match up with him. I'd like to see Elston guard this kid..

    Also, I just don't see a team with so many young, highly-ranked NBA hopefuls doing great b/c all of them will want to stand out. I don't know these kids, so I'm not sure.. but my guess is there will be a lack of team oriented basketball at UK

  • dylanb02

    It's Crisler Arena! 😀

  • Good point. I'll make the fix.

  • Diesel

    I don't care who we are playing, how highly ranked the opponent might be and how low our ranking might be, if we are playing at home it is a winnable game. It's Assembly Hall. It's Indiana.

  • GFDave

    If you're talking about opponents, then yes, Alex has put up a pretty good list. But most posters seem to be thinking about the difficulty of the game, which brings location into play as well as the quality of the opposition. The home games with Maryland, Kentucky and MSU are winnable because of our great crowd support. Maryland is not overly talented, Kentucky will be young and inexperienced and we traditionally give MSU a tough time at home.

    So I think the toughest games we will play this year are all on the road and include the Pitt game as well as B10 road contests at Illinois, Purdue, Wisconsin. I also include the Michigan and OSU road games as a tie in difficulty, given that their home crowds are about equally lame (UM folks don't care that much about bball and the OSU group seems to be more about wine and cheese than hoops.)

  • tomcreansdietcoke

    hahaha! i love it, kelin.

    I agree with everyone that this game is very winnable, especially with UK relying on so much freshman talent. Yes, Patterson will be our biggest problem, but certainly one of our 6 players at 6'8'' or taller can match up with him. I'd like to see Elston guard this kid..

    Also, I just don't see a team with so many young, highly-ranked NBA hopefuls doing great b/c all of them will want to stand out. I don't know these kids, so I'm not sure.. but my guess is there will be a lack of team oriented basketball at UK

  • dylanb02

    It's Crisler Arena! 😀

  • Good point. I'll make the fix.

  • Diesel

    I don't care who we are playing, how highly ranked the opponent might be and how low our ranking might be, if we are playing at home it is a winnable game. It's Assembly Hall. It's Indiana.

  • GFDave

    If you're talking about opponents, then yes, Alex has put up a pretty good list. But most posters seem to be thinking about the difficulty of the game, which brings location into play as well as the quality of the opposition. The home games with Maryland, Kentucky and MSU are winnable because of our great crowd support. Maryland is not overly talented, Kentucky will be young and inexperienced and we traditionally give MSU a tough time at home.

    So I think the toughest games we will play this year are all on the road and include the Pitt game as well as B10 road contests at Illinois, Purdue, Wisconsin. I also include the Michigan and OSU road games as a tie in difficulty, given that their home crowds are about equally lame (UM folks don't care that much about bball and the OSU group seems to be more about wine and cheese than hoops.)