Breaking down the 2011-2012 IU basketball schedule

  • 09/09/2011 1:22 pm in

After nearly 48 hours to digest the 2011-2012 schedule, here are five thoughts on the slate of games Indiana will face beginning in early November:

1. In-state opponents a welcome addition

After just one non-conference game against an in-state opponent last season and zero the year before, the Hoosiers will play three teams from Indiana this season. A showdown at Assembly Hall with Butler in the Hoosier Invitational on November 27 might be the game fans are most looking forward to given the Bulldogs’ recent NCAA Tournament success. But games against Notre Dame at Conseco Fieldhouse in the Crossroads Classic and a trip to Evansville to play in the Aces’ new Ford Center should be equally competitive and entertaining.

2. Back home again in Indiana

With the exception of a trip to Raleigh to play North Carolina State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Indiana’s entire non-conference schedule will be played in-state. Some may view this as a negative for a program that’s struggled to win away from Assembly Hall over the past three seasons. The Big Ten’s decision to give the Hoosiers a road game once again in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge was probably a significant factor in IU’s decision to not seek out another non-conference road game. As it stands, two true road games (Evansville and N.C. State), two home games with Final Four teams from a season ago (Butler and Kentucky) and a neutral site game at Conseco Fieldhouse (also the home of the Big Ten Tournament), should do enough to have this group prepared.

3. Tough stretch to open Big Ten play

The Hoosiers will open the Big Ten against three of the league’s top four teams in Michigan State (away), Ohio State (home) and Michigan (home). The game at Michigan State is the conference opener and Indiana will return to Assembly Hall to face the Buckeyes on New Year’s Eve and the Wolverines five days later. For some perspective on how difficult it will be for the Hoosiers to win their Big Ten opener, consider this: Indiana has dropped 16 straight games in East Lansing and last won at the Breslin Center on February 28, 1991.

4. Single play draws not the most favorable

With the addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten, the number of conference single plays increased to four this season. As announced back in June, Indiana will play the following teams just once: Illinois (home), Nebraska (away), Northwestern (home) and Wisconsin (away). While the Hoosiers did get the Badgers, who will likely be picked to finish second in the league, just once, the meeting is in Madison. Add that with the fact that Indiana drew single plays for three of the six teams The Sporting News projects to finish in the bottom six of the conference and it’s safe to say the Hoosiers drew one of the shorter straws.

5. Guarantee games

Season ticket holders may not perk up in their seats at the thought of hosting teams like Gardner Webb, Howard and Savannah State, but guarantee games have become a way of life in college basketball. Skim through schedules from teams across the country and you’ll find them. Indiana has eight games at Assembly Hall that probably fall in this category based on RPI finishes from a season ago:

Stony Brook: 242
Chattanooga: 200
Savannah State: 258
Gardner Webb: 261
Stetson: 303
Howard: 332
UMBC: 322
North Carolina Central: 275

The danger, of course, in scheduling opponents not in the top 200 of the RPI is the adverse effect it could have on Selection Sunday if you’re a team fighting for one of the final at-large bids into the NCAA Tournament.

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  • MillaRed

    I don’t want to complain here but another ACC road game and the first 3 big ten games are pretty much a crappy deal. Considering it the toughest BT schedule as far as the early season goes. Love the Big Ten brain trust. “Leaders and Legends” Just dumb.

  • MillaRed

    I don’t want to complain here but another ACC road game and the first 3 big ten games are pretty much a crappy deal. Considering it the toughest BT schedule as far as the early season goes. Love the Big Ten brain trust. “Leaders and Legends” Just dumb.

  • MillaRed

    I don’t want to complain here but another ACC road game and the first 3 big ten games are pretty much a crappy deal. Considering it the toughest BT schedule as far as the early season goes. Love the Big Ten brain trust. “Leaders and Legends” Just dumb.

  • 11th and Done (Dunn)

    I can think of another school, who isn’t worth mentioning, that lost to Gardner Webb.

  • 11th and Done (Dunn)

    I can think of another school, who isn’t worth mentioning, that lost to Gardner Webb.

  • 11th and Done (Dunn)

    I can think of another school, who isn’t worth mentioning, that lost to Gardner Webb.

  • We should never play more than one “cupcake” team per year (perhaps as a favor to an old asst  coach etc).
    1.  If we win it still won’t help our rating
    2.  People, committees who don’t like IU will point to those games and malign us.
    3. They aren’t any boost to attendance.
    4. The media will ignore them – no national or even regional publicity to attract recruits and fans.
    5.  If we lose we will not quickly live it down and it will hurt our ratings and credibility as a program.

    If our entire team – god forbid – died in a plane crash and we had to play with walkons that would justify it- otherwise no   because if we can’t beat an average team we shouldn’t worry about post season anyway.

  • We should never play more than one “cupcake” team per year (perhaps as a favor to an old asst  coach etc).
    1.  If we win it still won’t help our rating
    2.  People, committees who don’t like IU will point to those games and malign us.
    3. They aren’t any boost to attendance.
    4. The media will ignore them – no national or even regional publicity to attract recruits and fans.
    5.  If we lose we will not quickly live it down and it will hurt our ratings and credibility as a program.

    If our entire team – god forbid – died in a plane crash and we had to play with walkons that would justify it- otherwise no   because if we can’t beat an average team we shouldn’t worry about post season anyway.

  • Kad

    It’s a photo effect called tilt shift photography.  It makes the subject look like a miniature model when done well.  Same effect as this one on Pritch’s putback dunk.

  • Kad

    It’s a photo effect called tilt shift photography.  It makes the subject look like a miniature model when done well.  Same effect as this one on Pritch’s putback dunk.

  • Kad

    It’s a photo effect called tilt shift photography.  It makes the subject look like a miniature model when done well.  Same effect as this one on Pritch’s putback dunk.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Since when did IU have to play big-name programs to help “boost attendance”?  We were 11th in the country in attendance in 2010.  A year where we had another losing record.  You can dislike cupcake teams but you won’t find a program in the country who doesn’t play them.  Playing a schedule without cupcakes wouldn’t do anything to help attendance and we need those “W’s” to have a shot at postseason play.  

  • CreamandCrimson

    Since when did IU have to play big-name programs to help “boost attendance”?  We were 11th in the country in attendance in 2010.  A year where we had another losing record.  You can dislike cupcake teams but you won’t find a program in the country who doesn’t play them.  Playing a schedule without cupcakes wouldn’t do anything to help attendance and we need those “W’s” to have a shot at postseason play.  

  • CreamandCrimson

    Since when did IU have to play big-name programs to help “boost attendance”?  We were 11th in the country in attendance in 2010.  A year where we had another losing record.  You can dislike cupcake teams but you won’t find a program in the country who doesn’t play them.  Playing a schedule without cupcakes wouldn’t do anything to help attendance and we need those “W’s” to have a shot at postseason play.  

  • Anonymous

    A memory erased by many in that state by copious amounts of moonshine and tons of denial

  • Anonymous

    A memory erased by many in that state by copious amounts of moonshine and tons of denial

  • Anonymous

    A memory erased by many in that state by copious amounts of moonshine and tons of denial

  • Anonymous

    A memory erased by many in that state by copious amounts of moonshine and tons of denial

  • Oldguy

    I may be wrong, but I thought playing the cupcakes last year left the team ill-prepared for the likes of Boston College, N. Iowa, and Colorado.  Maybe playing semi-cupcakes, say Pomeroy rankings in the 150-200 range, would help them work on their games and still get a W.

  • Rynefulton

    True…However, 8 cupcake games to cement W’s is pretty excessive.  I agree with both comments.  Although I tend to lean with Mr. Fischer here in thinking that we need to start playing better competition early in the season.  That way once BT play starts we don’t get our a*** blown out of the water by teams that are twice as talented as those that we’ve been playin in the previous weeks…Thats the main thing that I see.  B/c just like last season we looked really good in all of the preseason “Cupcake” W’s.  Then, once some real talent was on the court with us we froze up and played likes P******.   

  • Rynefulton

    True…However, 8 cupcake games to cement W’s is pretty excessive.  I agree with both comments.  Although I tend to lean with Mr. Fischer here in thinking that we need to start playing better competition early in the season.  That way once BT play starts we don’t get our a*** blown out of the water by teams that are twice as talented as those that we’ve been playin in the previous weeks…Thats the main thing that I see.  B/c just like last season we looked really good in all of the preseason “Cupcake” W’s.  Then, once some real talent was on the court with us we froze up and played likes P******.   

  • Chparril

    I have to agree. If you look at our non-conference schedule from 2003 on, there weren’t many of those cupcake games. We were playing the likes of vanderbilt, uconn, missouri, maryland, gonzaga, xavier, butler, kentucky, and whoever from the acc in the challenge. What happened to all of that? Kentucky is still good, but playing those hard games early got us ready for the big ten season. You can blame it on how experience or whatever, but when we were playing those teams, we were only around .500 as well. Sure if those were replaced with easy RPI teams under 250 there would be more victories and they would have been a 20win team, but at some point playing those teams so much just stops helping.

  • Looking around the country at other schedules, eight “guarantee” type games looks common. Not sure I’d call it “pretty excessive.”

  • Looking around the country at other schedules, eight “guarantee” type games looks common. Not sure I’d call it “pretty excessive.”

  • Looking around the country at other schedules, eight “guarantee” type games looks common. Not sure I’d call it “pretty excessive.”

  • Dandy Don

    Come on NOW – just WHO determines who gets an ACC/BIG TEN home game – I personally feel this has moved far away from what it was first intended to be.  I thought it was to be fair and equally scheduled according to top teams playing top teams – this in my opinion is a joke – either do it right and fair or forget it!

  • Dandy Don

    Come on NOW – just WHO determines who gets an ACC/BIG TEN home game – I personally feel this has moved far away from what it was first intended to be.  I thought it was to be fair and equally scheduled according to top teams playing top teams – this in my opinion is a joke – either do it right and fair or forget it!

  • MillaRed

    You really think playing better teams would have prepared us better? We were what we were. Not good. Just would have been more losses.

  • MillaRed

    You really think playing better teams would have prepared us better? We were what we were. Not good. Just would have been more losses.

  • 11th and Done (Dunn)

    Even more interesting is that same year said state had the highest rate of shaken baby syndrome. Really, I’m not lying.

  • Anonymous

    I have to agree 100% with MillaRed. Last year, the first cupcakes didn’t prepare us for BC, NI, and CO. And those teams didn’t prepare us for the first part of the Big 10 season. And that didn’t prepare us for the last half of the Big 10 season. Guess what? It didn’t really matter, we just stunk. Less cupcakes would have just been less wins. At least we had a good preconference season and the fans had something to cheer about.

    Those first several games are really just scrimmages — more time to practice and fine tune the plays. I definitely think we need to play 3-4 “decent” teams in December (which we are doing), in addition to the cupcakes. A really good team will maintain intensity and beat those cupcakes by 40 instead of 20.

  • Anonymous

    Except for the big guys who make a ton of TV money for playing each other early in the season..every major b-ball program is full of cupcakes before their conference starts. Ya have to be careful though..some of those cupcakes can give you indigestion. Last year I remember Sav-States’s bigs stuffing Watford 3 times cause he never pumps when he’s down low.I wonder if that’s been corrected for this year?

  • Kelin Blab

    + Love IU playing Ilannoy at home, Weber is so easily aggravated.

    + Playing Butler, Evansville, ND, and Purdue is just good for the state and if IU could sweep them it would be even better.

    + We need a we’re back win and it has to come from one of these teams and scenarios
    KY at Home
    PU at Home or on the Road
    MSU at Home or on the Road
    Win and ACC challenge game

    + We CANNOT lose to Butler. PERIOD! As good as they are coached, as tough as they are, it is still a lost IU cannot have right now. If Crean wants to feel some heat lose to Stevens in AH.

  • Kelin Blab

    + Love IU playing Ilannoy at home, Weber is so easily aggravated.

    + Playing Butler, Evansville, ND, and Purdue is just good for the state and if IU could sweep them it would be even better.

    + We need a we’re back win and it has to come from one of these teams and scenarios
    KY at Home
    PU at Home or on the Road
    MSU at Home or on the Road
    Win and ACC challenge game

    + We CANNOT lose to Butler. PERIOD! As good as they are coached, as tough as they are, it is still a lost IU cannot have right now. If Crean wants to feel some heat lose to Stevens in AH.

  • Anonymous

    And how much chatter do you think will begin if Brad Stevens beats us here and takes a team to the Final 4 again? Yep, CTC better have Calbert in his ear for the “in-game” stuff.

  • Anonymous

    And how much chatter do you think will begin if Brad Stevens beats us here and takes a team to the Final 4 again? Yep, CTC better have Calbert in his ear for the “in-game” stuff.

  • Anonymous

    “The danger, of course, in scheduling opponents not in the top 200 of the RPI is the adverse effect it could have on Selection Sunday if you’re a team fighting for one of the final at-large bids into the NCAA Tournament.”

    Well, there’s no danger of that here.

    Eight cupcakes and the lack of out-of-state travel makes IU the Syracuse of the Midwest. Let’s start playing nothing but zone, too.

  • Anonymous

    “The danger, of course, in scheduling opponents not in the top 200 of the RPI is the adverse effect it could have on Selection Sunday if you’re a team fighting for one of the final at-large bids into the NCAA Tournament.”

    Well, there’s no danger of that here.

    Eight cupcakes and the lack of out-of-state travel makes IU the Syracuse of the Midwest. Let’s start playing nothing but zone, too.

  • Anonymous

    “The danger, of course, in scheduling opponents not in the top 200 of the RPI is the adverse effect it could have on Selection Sunday if you’re a team fighting for one of the final at-large bids into the NCAA Tournament.”

    Well, there’s no danger of that here.

    Eight cupcakes and the lack of out-of-state travel makes IU the Syracuse of the Midwest. Let’s start playing nothing but zone, too.

  • Anonymous

    “The danger, of course, in scheduling opponents not in the top 200 of the RPI is the adverse effect it could have on Selection Sunday if you’re a team fighting for one of the final at-large bids into the NCAA Tournament.”

    Well, there’s no danger of that here.

    Eight cupcakes and the lack of out-of-state travel makes IU the Syracuse of the Midwest. Let’s start playing nothing but zone, too.

  • Anonymous

    Possibly my favorite thing about that was Alex’s father, Rick Bozich, (who had a radio show in Louisville at the time,) the day after the game repeated referring to G-WU by its former name, “Hot Springs Junior College” just to make it even more depressing.  UK also lost to VMI that season.

  • Anonymous

    Totally disagree.  Everyone from top-tier conferences play some teams like this.  The likelihood of IU making the NCAA tournament this season is slim; however, I think the team has a pretty good chance of getting in the NIT, getting an extra 2-4 games 3 or so weeks of practice, and building for next season when things get truly rolling.  However, you choose to load up the schedule and go 13-18 (or worse,) you end up looking just like the past two seasons.

  • Anonymous

    That’s what Denny Green said—-too bad no one let us off the hook.

  • Anonymous

    UK, Notre Dame, Butler—all pretty good teams.  UE isn’t shabby, either.  NC St. is an ACC school—sure, they aren’t the best team in the conference but it wasn’t IU’s decision to schedule them and it’s a solid opponent.  I think your 3-4 decent teams can be found in that list.

  • Anonymous

    UK, Notre Dame, Butler—all pretty good teams.  UE isn’t shabby, either.  NC St. is an ACC school—sure, they aren’t the best team in the conference but it wasn’t IU’s decision to schedule them and it’s a solid opponent.  I think your 3-4 decent teams can be found in that list.

  • roninjeffersonville

    Ok people Can I get this confirmed?  Rumor has it that Gary Harris, Mom and Dad took a tour of IU on weds.

  • Gary Harris Sr. and Joy Holmes Harris were on campus, but Gary Jr. was not.

  • Jmfriedman

    Heard they were near B town for business and Joy wanted to meet the staff.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    This is great news if his folks are really in b’town.  Decision time is coming down to the wire.

    Guys 2 to 3 years from now we won’t be playing these teams…watch and see.  This is just to get us over the bar…CTC knows what he is doing.  Even next year you will still see 5 or 6 cupcakes.  Who cares.  We are still rebuilding.
    BC
     

  • Yes. It’s an actual tilt-shift lens.