2010-2011 schedule: Five toughest games

  • 09/13/2010 7:35 am in

DETROIT - APRIL 06:  Draymond Green #23 of the Michigan State Spartans reacts in the first half against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2009 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship game at Ford Field on April 6, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)Indiana released it’s 2010-2011 schedule late last month and here’s a look at five of the toughest games on the docket.

5. Wisconsin (Kohl Center, January 20, 9:00PM ESPN2): While the Badgers might not stack up quite as high talent wise to some of the other opponents on IU’s schedule, winning at the Kohl Center is no easy task. The Hoosiers have fallen by a combined 52 points the past two seasons in Madison and the Badgers return three starters, including 6-10 senior forward Jon Leuer (15.4 ppg), from a team that finished 24-9 before falling to Cornell in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

4. Kentucky (Rupp Arena, December 11, 5:15PM, ESPN): The Wildcats replaced five first round NBA Draft picks with the nation’s top recruiting class and once again should be ranked in the top 15. The eligibility of their top incoming player, Turkish center Enes Kanter, will play a significant role in determining just how good this year’s Kentucky team will be. Without Kanter, the Wildcats will be a much more perimeter oriented team with freshman guards Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb and junior wings DeAndre Liggins and Darius Miller leading the way. If Kanter is eligible to play, Kentucky will once again have a likely top-five NBA Draft pick and a dominant post presence in the fold.

3. Illinois (Assembly Hall, March 5/6, TBA, TBA): When you combine one of the best student sections, a general disdain for the IU program and one of the better returning rosters in the conference, you get an environment in Champaign that will be both hostile and tough to conquer. The Hoosiers matched the Fighting Illini blow-for-blow a season ago on the road before falling 72-70 on a buzzer beater from Demetri McCamey. This year’s meeting won’t be any easier as McCamey, Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale all return for Bruce Weber as do super sophomores D.J. Richardson and Brandon Paul.

2. Purdue (Mackey Arena, February 8, 7PM, ESPN): When E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson opted to return for their senior seasons, the Boilermakers solidified themselves as one of the nation’s best teams and a co-favorite to win the Big Ten. With Moore, Johnson and an assumed healthy Robbie Hummel, Matt Painter has three All-Big Ten caliber players at his disposal, but will need to replace the intangibles of the graduated Chris Kramer (defensive agitator) and Keaton Grant (capable of hitting the big shot). Lewis Jackson is the incumbent at point guard, but it likely won’t be long until freshman Terone Johnson, a North Central product, takes the reigns.

1. Michigan State (Breslin Center, January 30, 6PM, BTN): IU caught a break by once again getting a single play with the Spartans, but this time the meeting will be in East Lansing, a place where the Hoosiers have dropped their last 15 games. After flirting with the Cleveland Cavs job, Tom Izzo dismissed guard Chris Allen over the summer, but returns a stacked roster that includes Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers, Korie Lucious, Draymond Green, Delvon Roe and a stellar incoming freshman class. That sounds like a recipe for another Final Four run.

Others games under consideration: New Mexico/Colorado (Las Vegas Classic, December 23, TBA, TBA); Ohio State (Value City Arena, February 26/27, TBA, TBA).

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  • Scott W.

    Type your comment here.Wisconsin, Illinois,Kentucky and Purdue are a winnable games. I believe we match up well with these teams. Kanter will not be cleared to play. if he is, there is something very wrong with the NCAA.

  • JerryCT

    Yes I agree these are the toughest games and the most important. However I think ALL our games will be tough. We are not a blowout kind of team and still have to find an offense that is reliable and a defense that can win games.

    In fact , aside from a meaningless end of season win against NW I consider NW among the most difficult for us to beat based on our guards struggling to handle their screens and back cuts.

  • ScottieIU

    I’d put Wisconsin game ahead of UK and ILL, only because the Kohl Center is practically impossible to win a game in….without Kanter I’d give us a 30-40% shot of beating UK. No way I see us winning in Madison.

  • Yogi Kelin Zeller

    I like our chances this year in three of these games other than @MSU and @Wisconsin.

    1. IU v Illannoy- minus Mo Creek we had them and could have won that game. This year with more talent, the pain of losing to them like we did, and a bigger team I think we could beat them.

    2. IU vs. Kentucky- Kantor won’t be ruled eligible, I can’t see that happening now given the new information that has come out. KY a perimeter team will struggle. I think this years team and class is overrated…I don’t think Brandon Knight is that good, Liggins did not live up the hype….and it would not surprise me IU goes down there and win. The advantages they had over IU last year are ALL gone, size, athletic ability, experience, and talent. Playing in rupp will be tough

    3. IU v Purdue….We will beat them at home, put that in the books via Yogi Kelin Zeller. In Mackey it won’t be like it was last year but at least it will be closer. Losing Kramer and Grant is a tough loss…….

  • Anonymous

    When I think about these match-ups and how the team performed last year on the road, I can’t help but be excited about the VAST improvement that I think they will have made since last year. We don’t have a great number of new guys that we expect to be big contributors that have not played in the Big Ten this year, so that should help the disparity in scoring between home and road games. We obviously aren’t going to win them all, but I could definitely see us winning 2 (most likely out of 3, 4, or 5) of these 5 “big” games this year. If Guy is a formidable post presence that can free up our other bigs to do their jobs, we’re going to have a good year (17+ wins, maybe 20+).

    A guy can dream at least.

  • GFDave

    I agree with Scott in that I think there is no way the NCAA can clear Kanter to play. His club team has provided documents that show the payments and housing expenses. He’s done as an amateur in the US. I therefore think that we can beat pUKe down there. I’d say the odds are 50/50.

    I also think an upset win over Illannoy is not out of the question. Should be a barn-burner of a game.

    The rest of games are longer shots, with Purdue being the next most likely victory.

  • Yogi Kelin Zeller

    First you have gone above and beyond with the personalized Avatar logo…nice.

    If Kanter is cleared to play, as a coach I would not recruit another US kid outside of the top 10. I would strictly send coaches over seas to the turkish league and others and go to town with the highest paid ‘amateur’ over there, sign him and three of his teammates and dominate college basketball until the NCAA finds its soul!

    I would find some satisfaction in competing stronger in the MSU,PU and Wisconsin games than the previous year even if it was a loss.

  • GFDave

    Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    I am with you on #2. I can envision #1 happening. You are smoking crack on #3. Don’t get me wrong: I’d love to win at Mackey, and I am excited now that I believe the time is coming when the balance in this rivalry will be restored, if not tipped in our favor. But that ain’t this year. That’s a potential Final Four team in their own building against their biggest rival.

  • HoosNation

    A little off topic of top 5 games… but do we play any exhibition games this year? Cant find anywhere it says we have any games before FGC.

  • Anonymous

    I think those are usually announced a little bit closer to when the season starts.

  • Yogi Kelin Zeller

    should have clarified….we will beat them at Assembly Hall not Mackey….

  • Herby

    I am sorry and in no way am I trying to highjack this discussion, but I am looking into purchasing season tickets this year and I believe the price comes down to around $33 a ticket. How good of a deal is this? What is face value of a main level ticket to a conference game? I have struggled finding any relavent info. btw, i have recently found inside the hall and have absolutely fallen in love with it. Kudos on a very cool site. Sorry again.

  • Anonymous

    No argument from me. The Big Ten is going to be very tough but at MSU, PU, Wisconsin and Illinois are probably the toughest of the bunch. If we could steal one of these games, it would be great. If we get two, the Hoosiers are probably having a 20 win season and reintroducing us to the NCAA tournament.

  • HoosNation

    Thanks Mike.