While it’s yet to be officially announced by the IU Athletics Department, the 2012-2013 non-conference schedule has trickled out in pieces over the course of the summer.
Assuming the non-conference slate remains at the 13 games revealed to-date, here’s a deeper dive into what the Hoosiers will face before the start of Big Ten play:
· North Carolina headlines home non-conference schedule: Indiana will play 10 of its 13 non-conference games at Assembly Hall and North Carolina is clearly the marquee opponent of the group. The Tar Heels will likely begin the season ranked in the top 15 while eight of the other nine home non-conference opponents failed to reach the postseason in 2011-2012. North Dakota State, a participant in the 2012 College Basketball Invitational, will visit Bloomington on Monday, Nov. 12.
· Back to the Big Apple: For the second time in the Tom Crean era, Indiana will travel to New York in the non-conference. In Crean’s second season, Indiana defeated Pittsburgh 74-64 at Madison Square Garden. This November, the Hoosiers will play Georgia and either UCLA or Georgetown on back to back nights at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Assuming Shabazz Muhammad is eligible, the Bruins could end up being the highest ranked non-conference opponent.
· No road test: Unlike last season where Indiana faced tests at Evansville and North Carolina State, it appears the Hoosiers will not play a true road game until the Big Ten schedule in either late December or early January. The elimination of the series with Kentucky, an opponent Indiana would have been scheduled to visit had the previous home-and-home series continued, probably has a lot to do with this. Talk of a potential series with Kansas surfaced after talks with Kentucky broke down, but no agreement was reached for this season.
· Much improved Bulldogs? Despite handling Butler relatively easily last November, this year’s meeting should be more intriguing given the location at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and a Brad Stevens-led group that should be a stiffer challenge than last season’s 22-15 team. Despite the loss of point guard Ronald Nored to graduation, Butler adds Arkansas transfer Rotnei Clarke, freshman Kellen Dunham and returns its four other starters.
· Guarantee/non-guarantee mix: Nine of the 13 non-conference games are classified as “guarantee” games for Indiana which means the opponent will come to Assembly Hall without the promise of a return game. Indiana had eight such games on last year’s schedule.
· Other notes: Since 1940, Indiana is 73-18 in games played in Indianapolis. … The Hoosiers have never faced five of the programs on the non-conference schedule (North Dakota State, Sam Houston State, Central Connecticut State, Mount St. Mary’s and Florida Atlantic). … The trip to the Barclays Center for the Legends Classic will be the only time IU leaves the state in the non-conference. … Bryant, who will be the opening game opponent, is beginning its first season as a full NCAA Division I member. The Bulldogs finished last season 2-28. Indiana defeated Bryant 90-52 on Dec. 28, 2009 and lost Maurice Creek for the season to a knee injury.