2011-2012 non-conference schedule: What we know

  • 04/15/2011 8:40 am in

The complete 2011-2012 Indiana basketball schedule won’t be released until late summer, but yesterday the Big Ten announced a small nugget in regards to next year’s challenge with the ACC.

For the second consecutive year, Indiana (along with Michigan) will receive a road game against an ACC opponent. Minnesota will play at the Barn once again and Nebraska somehow received a home game in the event. The full schedule for the 13th annual Big Ten-ACC Challenge should be released next month.

Next year’s non-conference slate is looking a bit more daunting than last year’s, which was the 325th toughest in the country according to Ken Pomeroy. The Hoosiers beat just two teams in Pomeroy’s top 250 in last season’s non-conference, Wright State (112) and Evansville (166), and only played one NCAA Tournament team (Kentucky).

Here’s what we know thus far about next year’s non-conference schedule:

At Evansville. This was announced last August and is the second game in a 3-game series which began last season at Assembly Hall. It will not, however, be the opening regular season game in Evansville’s new arena.

Notre Dame on December 17 in the Crossroads Classic at Conseco Fieldhouse. The Hoosiers get the Fighting Irish in year one of this event and Butler on December 15, 2012.

Butler at Assembly Hall. This will be the fourth game of an exempt tournament in which both IU and Butler will host three games at home and then meet in Bloomington.

Kentucky at Assembly Hall. Depending on which players decide to return to Lexington, the Wildcats could come to Bloomington ranked in the top 3 nationally.

ACC opponent on the road. Assuming the ACC swaps last year’s home and away designations, the potential opponents are Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia and Wake Forest. As appealing at it might sound for storyline purposes to have Zeller vs. Zeller in Chapel Hill, IU would be better off going to Georgia Tech or North Carolina State for postseason aspiration purposes.

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  • Anonymous

    Always excited to play Kentucky…I want tickets to that one!

    Would like nothing better than to turn another huge corner with an upset early!

    As far as the rest of the schedule, good. We need to start challenging ourselves a bit more. We should be ready to take on that challenge.

  • stonaroni

    I agree with the challenge aspect. I would guess that IU would have won a couple more close conference games last season if we had a couple more losses to tournament teams in the pre conference schedule.

    The team next year has a chance to win 20 games and be in the NCAA tourn. I hope a tougher pre conference schedule means a solid Big 10 record and a bchance to dance.

  • Anonymous

    I think last year’s schedule didn’t really do us any favors as many people pointed out last December. Too many cupcakes. I feel this schedule could be perfect for us: *****Notre Dame loses half their squad to graduation,
    *****Butler looks to be losing Mack along with Howard Vanzant and Hahn,
    *****I can’t believe we would draw anyone but the second or third to last place team in the ACC from last year (Miami Hurricanes sat out of the challenge last year as a result of finishing last place in 09, could we please draw them? I’ll be front row!)
    **** Evansville loses their 6’11 center, and should have no one on the team taller than 6″8 to deal with Cody

    These are all good teams but I think we can win them all. As much as we all talk about 2012 and beyond, I am still really excited about THIS season. I really feel this season sets the foundation for how far we can go in 2012. If we miss out on the tournament this year, I think it will be hard to go deep in 2012, you need that experience.

    Please coach Crean find a starting 5 and a rotation of 8-9 and stick with it, we have to stop playing the entire roster because we feel bad for guys or because we just don’t know who should be in there, look at all the teams that success in the tournament, most went 8 deep, we need that cohesion, and the players need the confidence to make a mistake and play through it!

  • No one will sit out the challenge as both conferences now have 12 teams.

  • Anonymous

    Kentucky is going to be a tough matchup.

    I’m really intrigued by the Butler game. I’m interested to see how Zeller matches up with the playing styles of Marshall and Smith.

    With the BigTen/ACC Challenge, I’ve always assumed competitiveness was a factor in matchups. If they don’t go for the media attention of Zeller v. Zeller then it seems like (from Alex’s list) GT or NCSU may make sense, and maybe Maryland if Jordan Williams comes back.

    From what little I know, GT returns everyone from a 13-18 team, NCSU returns most of their underperforming 15-16 team (they had two 5-star freshman, both returning). Maryland will be weak if Williams stays in the draft.

  • Glawton12

    This is shaping up to look more like the IU schedules we’ve seen in the past, and I for one am all for it. Great traditional rivalry games, great in-state rivalry games, and hopefully some balance by playing teams IU should roll so the guys’ can get their confidence going early.

    As much as I’m sure everyone would love to see the Zeller v. Zeller matchup, the powers that be behind the Big Ten/ACC Challenge do a fairly good job of creating interesting matchups while keeping them fairly balanced. Thus, I don’t foresee IU playing what should be the favorite to win the ACC in UNC. And honestly, I’m okay with that too.

  • Glawton12

    I’m not sure we’d match Zeller up with Smith, but frankly after seeing how easy it is to get in his head, I’d take any of our big men over him. He demonstrated during the tournament that even though he’s got inches on everyone else, he doesn’t necessarily have the skills to match. I can’t tell you how many times he didn’t come down with a rebound or make a put back that he should’ve. And if you get to him early, he’s done, either mentally or through foul trouble. Unless Smith makes a lot of progress over the summer, I don’t see him being the biggest of our worries in the Butler matchup.

  • JerryCT

    Wow ! As I see it if we gained a net 10points on each team we would finish only 10-8 this past year in the B10. To reach your expectations will be a huge challenge …………… I hope you are right

  • Anonymous

    I think Zeller would match up with Marshall, but there may be stretches where he’s on Smith. Depends on what the lineup looks like in the fall.

    I’m primarily interested because it’ll be relatively early in the season and we’ll get to see how we stack up against a top 25 team.

  • InTheMtns

    I think we can bet that Smith will get better over the summer. He’s only a sophomore. It takes most big men a few years to develop and my guess is that he will be much, much tougher his junior year. I agree with you, though, that he won’t be our biggest matchup problem.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Miamihoosier!

    I can’t express enough how much I agree with your 8-9 man rotation. I would actually argue 7-8 man rotation.

    95% of the time any good team plays a tight rotation, regardless of the talent on the bench. This isn’t Y ball. We are here to win. We need to find the best 5-7 players, play them 90% of the time, let them develop a chemistry and win. Duke, UNC, Wisconsin, Ohio St., etc. all do this. There is a reason! We are getting to the point, talent-wise, where there is no reason we shouldn’t be doing this either.

    I will be disgusted next year if Crean keeps that crap up. He is not going to out-wit anyone with his excessive subing. When it comes to that, keep it simple.

    I don’t like mass substiutions. We need to create a system. Jordan Hulls / Watford / and one other should almost NEVER leave the floor. They will have a backups that play sparingly. Then, slot in the two other guys and have them split minutes.

    This gives us the best chance for success. Just like any other team!

  • Luke72

    It looks like the NBA is going with a change to a 2 year and done! Have to see what happens with UK. A win in the Hall over the wildcats would set a nice tone to next year’s season!

  • JerryCT

    Normally I would agree but with this IU team I do not. Each player has a primary strength and then an equally ugly weakness which poses a dilemna.

    This means that some players and combinations are better against different teams and at different times during the game.

    Lets take our favorite player Hulls. If we need defensive stops to get back in the game can he stop Cully Payne, Cartwright, Morris, Hardaway, Battle, Marble , Taylor, Diebler ………its a long list. Yet we need his 3pt shooting on offense.

    Every starter we have is this way. If the team learns defense or Sheehey, VO learn offense then maybe we have enough for a short rotation.

  • That change would not affect this years draft. Knight, Jones and the rest of the freshmen are still free to go this years draft.

  • CreamandCrimson

    IU’s road woes have been well-reported on this site. I think it is safe to say the early season game at Evansville could be our first road game. I also think it is fair to call that contest a huge one for the returning group of players. We will hear about how great everything is going heading into the season and we will probably open the season with a couple of directional schools to beat up on and feel good about ourselves. Then we will go to Evansville. A win on the road would be a nice confidence booster. Not because it is Evansville but because they finally won on the road. A loss could have the opposite effect and any momentum and goodwill we were feeling would go right out the window. Tension will be high for an early season game at Evansville.

    All that being said, I like how CTC is ramping up the schedule as the talent improves. Playing Butler, ND and Evansville makes a lot of sense. We know we are going to play Kentucky. It doesn’t really seem to make sense that you would give Nebraska a home game but it should be a good road test for the Hoosiers. I hope the rest of the schedule is filled with decent mid-majors from the MAC, Valley (maybe ISU) and Horizon League and a couple of guarantee games against Northwestern State, SIUE or Slappy State. This would seem like a proper balance of “gimmes”, decent tests against good mid-majors and big challenges. The schedule had to be brutally weak last season because we weren’t capable of beating many good teams. Will the 2011-2012 squad be able to handle the step-up in competition? I can’t wait until November to start finding out.

  • millzy32

    I stopped smoking whatever you’re smoking after this past season. I hope you are right but the current progression mixed with the few changes to the lineup this upcoming year will make it a really tough task. Again, I hope you are right and I am wrong.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent point on the rotation issue.

  • millzy32

    If that happens they disband the tournament and declare the Big East the best conference ever and replace the NCAA tournament with the Big East tournament and the 68 teams all stay home.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed. Hulls will be a Junior, he needs to be handed the keys to the team and it’s sink or swim 35-38 minutes a game. I feel our starting 5 should be pretty obvious by now (unless we land Jamari Taylor, IMO he starts from day 1 over Pritchard).

    This would be my rotation:

    Hulls 35-38 (backed up by VJIII)
    Creek 28-32 mpg (backed up by VJIII, VO, Sheehey)
    Watford 28-32 mpg (backed up by VO Sheehey)
    Pritchard 24-28 mpg (backed up by Elston)
    Zeller 28-32 mpg (backed up by Elston)

    Does VJII get angry at not starting? Probably. But we can’t afford the turnovers, and missed defensive assignments, we need to win. Etherington, Capo, and Roth take off the warm ups in any blowout win or loss, and Danny Moore, well I won’t go there, but if Coach can’t do this I can’t see us having a winning season. For anyone who says VJIII as Senior should start over Creek because he won’t be 100%, I would say at this point we know what we have in VJIII including his limitations, I think we have to take the gamble with Creek knowing he may struggle to get his confidence early, but if able to get back to 100% physically AND mentally he would be a game changer…..he has NBA talent folks…….let’s just pray we get him all the way back…he deserves it

  • Anonymous

    Three guys at 25 min/game = 75; 6 more at 20 min/game = 120 min; total of 195 min; still 5 min left for others with a good 9 man rotation!

  • Anonymous

    I kind of see what you are saying for instance if you put our probable starting 5 of Hulls, Creek, Watford, Zeller, and Pritchard, in a pick up game against Verdell, VO, Sheehey, Elston and Capobianco I am not that confident that the starters would beat the 2nd team even 7 out of 10 times, and that is NOT a good thing! But my point is the weaknesses you brought up each player having might be improved if given the opportunity to be on the floor enough to figure a way to win in spite of them, as far as needing to take hulls out for defensive purposes, I don’t recall the Jazz taking out John Stockton to “get back in the game” defensively, or the Suns with Nash, both these guys were out matched every night defensively but their teams won consistently as a direct result of their play. We are going to have to figure that part out……Hulls needs to play the whole game.

  • guest

    that process would have worked this year in crowning the champ

  • Anonymous

    I also think we should tighten up our rotation a bit, but some of those schools you listed DO go even deeper into their bench.

    I mean, one of Roy William’s more signature traits as a coach is running a literal first team and second team without mixing them often. As in, if his starting five starts a game poorly, he’ll bench all five of them and send in his second unit. That’s ten players right there. He did that often this season and it has always been a part of his style. All the other schools you mentioned do runner tighter rotations but UNC plays MORE guys than we do, not less.

  • IUJeff

    The expectations for this year’s team should be .500 or above. Still no true center or elite point guard. Still have several players who can’t guard and a few who aren’t D1 caliber. Cody and Austin will help but the culture of losing and being okay with it will be hard to overcome until the rest of the D1 players start to arrive in fall 2012.

  • Anonymous

    Kentucky will be a close game at Assembly Hall. It all depends on who comes back for them, and how well our players improve on defense over the off season.

    Notre Dame will be a cake walk at a mostly IU fan Conseco Hall. They lost 5 of their 6 man rotation.

    Butler, depending on who leaves for the draft should go down at a crazy Assembly Hall.

    Evansville, should be a win.

    To be honest, I would like to see us go on the road to play a few cupcakes instead of bringing them all in to the Hall. Because last year, if we played one of those cupcakes on the road and got at least one road win, it would’ve given us a little bit more winning experience on the road.

    I would personally love to see IU travel to play at the pit in New Mexico. Play Steve Alford’s boys in one of the loudest road environments in the country. Maybe get a win, or at least get used to playing in a tough arena before heading into big ten play.

    As for the ACC challenge, give us North Carolina. I would rather play their best team and see what we can do, then beat their worse team. I feel like we would gain more from losing at chapel hill, then winning at say Miami.

  • Anonymous

    Also, question. On the Butler tournament we are hosting. Would we both be playing the same 3 teams? And you said it is exempt? So it’s like Maui? As in we could play over the traditional # of regular season games?

  • Anonymous

    9-4 last year in the pre-conference schedule. Can we do that this year with tougher teams/games? If we can, we need to win 11 in the B10, compared to 3 this year, to get to 20 wins. Seems tough.

    9-4 next year pre-conference would probably be an improvement, since the schedule’s probably tougher. Then 8 wins in the B10 (5 more than this year) would be pretty great. So that could be 17-14 going into the B10 tourney. That seems maybe reasonable.

    But then, maybe pick up an extra win or two somewhere, maybe win a game (or two!) in the B10 tourney, and suddenly, yeah, maybe there’s a chance for 20.

    Don’t you love the off-season?

  • CreamandCrimson

    You are really underestimating Notre Dame. They lose Hansbrough and Tyrone Nash and will take a step back. However, they return Tim Abromaitis, Carleton Scott and Scott Martin (the latter two have a 5th year) plus they add a top-100 player in Connaughton. Notre Dame finished second in the Big East, return three starters (did not lose 5 of their top 6). They won’t be a cake walk.
    Butler is going to be a top 25 club, top 15 if Mack comes back, and will be a very difficult win.

    Financially, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for IU to play many road games in the pre-conference season. I like the idea of a trip to New Mexico but the schedule is tough enough with the Big Ten, Butler, ND, ACC opponent and Kentucky on it.

  • Anonymous

    Oh i see. According to ESPN and all the announcers of games that I watched with Notre Dame said they were seniors so I assumed they were all bye bye. But still.. And no, if Mack leaves, Butler is not top 25 by any means. They simply don’t have the talent. The scorers this season, were Mack, or Howard, with sometimes vanzant asserting himself.

    If butler is going to be good next year without Mack, they have to rely heavy on young people like Stigal, Marshall, and Smith and they all need a lot of improvement.

  • JerryCT

    I fully agree with you and said last year we needed a “breakout” season from 2 players to be any good. We did not get it. I am sticking by my “2 player breakout” theory.

    Last year I thought Elston and Creek would break out. I am done with that.

    This coming year I am thinking WS and CW and hoping for VO. Of course perhaps they all breakout at the same time ………… that is fun to think about

  • JerryCT

    Hulls cannot play the entire game and still play well. Teams started to pressure him like crazy and he virtually disappeared late last season.

    He avg about 5+pts in over 33min per game when playing PG that many minutes at the end of the season.

    This is not a knock on him it is just that he works harder than anybody on the floor and there is a limit to how well anybody can play under the pressure the opposing defenders were putting him under.

  • Anonymous

    It is rare when a good defense is truly one on one, it is almost always a “team” defense.So, yes, Hulls can do his part by turning the penetration and getting help. This team has never had a long 7′ player in the post. That will help everyone on defense. Both Will and Victor will be much improved next season on both offense and defense. A nine man rotation is not a “short” rotation. We all appreciate your insights Jerry, so can you give us a taste of your individual breakdown of our players as to strengths and weaknesses?

  • Anonymous

    Add in Etherington, Jones and Elston. These six guys have to play well. We know that Zeller, Watford and Hulls will be good. Pritchard should be OK.

  • Anonymous

    Where do you get Capo as one of the 10 best players on the team?

  • Anonymous

    Where did you see a report about the NBA policy change to 2-yrs in college. I have heard more talk of a policy of direct to the NBA for the truly gifted and a baseball like 3-yrs in college rule for anyone going to college, but only by commentators, not by NBA Executives. (USA Today a few weeks ago in a small article). The NCAA is going to “squeeze” the players with a very short window to declare and then come back to college.

  • Anonymous

    I vote for Etherington over Creek at the beginning of the season. How do you double Hulls with Watford and Etherington ready to hit 40% from the 3-point line? How do you step out on Hulls with Zeller capable from 18′ in and Victor ready to soar and slam? Let Mo get strong and in game shape slowly. Then he starts. The Big 10 season is when we need him. I vote Oladipo over Pritchard except against teams with three real bangers. We have the horses and depth to run, run, run and to pressure, pressure, pressure! Let’s do it!

  • Anonymous

    Most teams play a 4 as their center and do well: Purdue-Johnson, WI-Leuer, MI-Morgan, Iowa-Cole; MI St- they are all 4’s. Most also do well without an “elite” PG: Purdue, OH St, Iowa, MN (I would add Northwestern, IL). Only WI, PN St and MI St had elite PG’s. Hulls can be the PG on a 20 win team in 2011-12. Who can’t guard-Jones and Elston- if that is the case they don’t get many minutes. Who is not a D-I player-Roth and Capo-if that is the case they don’t get minutes. That still leaves 9 scholarship players. Indiana needs to win 20 now!

  • Anonymous

    Games we could have won but did not: PN St at IU, Iowa at IU, Purdue at IU, WI at IU, Northwestern at IU, at Iowa, at Northwestern. That makes 10-8. Non-conference losses: two out of KY, ND, ACC, Butler. That makes 10-2, 20-10. Definitely NOT a sure thing, but possible.

  • MikeinNC

    I’ve never understood why, if we are looking to fill our pre-con schedule with a good mix of easy games and reasonably challenging ones, we don’t simply just look within the state and play Evansville, Valpo, Notre Dame, IUPUFW, IUPUI, Ball State, Indiana State, and Butler then round it out with the ACC challenge, Kentucky, and any fill any remaining slots with cupcakes. Seems like it would be a decent recruiting technique to be playing some of these as away games plus you know the environment would be crazy so it would be a good developmental test for the players. Are we just afraid of losing a bunch of these games and looking bad from a recruiting standpoint?

  • IUJeff

    Good points loop and HH. How bout this one? We will still be running the dribble-drive right? Who on our current team can get by their man and score or dish consistently? I am saying .500 and above is fair until Yogi gets here. I will be thrilled with 20 wins but CTC has not shown a willingness to change the offensive philosophy to fit who we have now and I don’t expect that to change.

  • jaywiz

    Does Creek deserve it? Absolutely. Should he start. No friggin way dude! I love Creek and I love his dedication, hard work, and positive attitude when it would be easy to just say screw it. But He was played too early last season and it showed. Not only in his physical play, but in his head as well. I think Sheehey or Oladipo have earned a spo in the starting rotation. Let creek get some minutes here and there until he proves that he is ready both physically and mentally to handle the rigors of the long season. Once he proves that, i am all for him starting. He has earned a starting spot as much as any other player on this roster. No need to force it.

  • Anonymous

    I’d classify Guy as a true center, even though he was ultimately not eligible. I think Jurkin appears to be in that mold, as well, even though he’s more athletic than the plodding, planted on the block post guys.

  • Anonymous

    Last year’s freshmen showed good ability to drive. Certainly both need to improve ball-handling (VO in particular, who tends to get out of control,) but the potential is there. Jones at least gets into the lane, which is–with his pull-up–as effective as some guys’ completing the drive. Mo Creek, if healthy, can get to the rim.

  • Anonymous

    I think the main problem that has arisen with finding a rotation is the fact that so many players were situational guys. Some could score but not guard; some were fantastic defenders but little to no threat with the ball. Some had to play because they were big, and there wasn’t a lot of depth on the front line.

  • Anonymous

    ESPN would be OK with that, because then they would just beg the ACC to schedule Duke/UNC 28 times a season and air all of them.

  • Anonymous

    I think Smith just missed another lay-up.

  • Anonymous

    According to the radio down here, Criminalipari has told Jones, Knight, and Liggins that they should consider going pro.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately this thread is probably dead now, but I’ll respond anyway. If we take the wait and see approach with Creek, I think we will be waiting all season. It’s hard to show what you can do in 8 minutes of game action. Sure he was rushed in too early last year, but this injury wasn’t as severe. , I am not saying we blindly throw him out there as starter and hope he does well, if I’m right about him, he will be the starter because he will be dominating in practice. If he isn’t showing that in practice, then I agree with you, he sits behind VO or Sheehey.

  • Anonymous

    funny, just trying to make the size matchups work, Roth is definitely better, but I’d say he at least nudges out D Moore, and big Jeff

  • Anonymous

    We had no offense though Jerry, he was option 1 and 1a a lot of times, I think with a healthy Creek, and an offensively skilled big guy the floor opens up, defenses cant key in on him as much, his production and ability to be on the floor should increase.