2014-2015 Big Ten preview: Top non-conference games

  • 09/16/2014 8:47 am in

With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we continue our look at the Big Ten with ten non-conference games, listed in chronological order, that you’ll want to mark on your calendars as must see.

Minnesota vs. Louisville on Friday, Nov. 14
Event: Armed Forces Classic at the Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen in Puerto Rico
TV coverage: ESPN

The 2014-2015 season tips off with a battle in Puerto Rico between father and son. It will be the second-ever meeting between Rick Pitino, head coach of Louisville, and his son Richard, head coach of Minnesota, as the two squared off in a 79-55 Louisville win over Florida International in 2012. It also will be the first look at Rick Pitino’s 2014-15 Cardinals squad, which stands at No. 10 in the CBS Sports preseason rankings.

Michigan State vs. Duke on Tuesday, Nov. 18
Event: Champions Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis
TV coverage: ESPN

The Champions Classic opens its inaugural event with an early-season bout between two college basketball heavyweights, and it will take place in the Hoosiers’ backyard. The Spartans lost the likes of Gary Harris, Adreian Payne and Keith Appling over the offseason, so the test against an elite squad like Duke will be a gauge on where the Spartans stand with their new-look squad.

Maryland vs. Virginia on Wednesday, Dec. 3
Event: Big Ten-ACC Challenge at the XFINITY Center in College Park
TV coverage: ESPN2

Maryland’s messy divorce with the ACC is complete, but as part of the Big Ten the Terrapins will have to face their former foes on an annual basis in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. That first meeting will come this season against Virginia, a team the Terps took to the wire and upset in College Park this past March.

Wisconsin vs. Duke on Wednesday, Dec. 3
Event: Big Ten-ACC Challenge at the Kohl Center in Madison
TV coverage: ESPN

This is a big one. Perhaps the most anticipated non-conference matchup for the Big Ten this season, Wisconsin and Duke are two title-contenders that will battle early in the season. Of course, Wisconsin returns all of its top talent, but it will be most intriguing to see how Duke’s youngsters adjust in the intense atmosphere of the Kohl Center.

Nebraska vs. Creighton on Sunday, Dec. 7
TV Coverage: TBD

The intrastate rivalry between last season’s Big Ten surprise and one of last season’s best mid-major squads brings this year’s edition to Pinnacle Bank Arena for the first time. The Cornhuskers have  dominated at home while Creighton looks to adjust to life after Doug McDermott, which makes this season’s matchup one of the more intriguing in the overall Big Ten non-conference slate.

Illinois vs. Villanova on Tuesday, Dec. 9
Event: Jimmy V Men’s Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City
TV coverage: ESPN

One of last season’s most unexpected top squads was Villanova, a team that had a nine-win improvement from the season before and a 16-win improvement from just two seasons earlier. The Wildcats lose only James Bell, too, making them a significant test for the Fighting Illini, a team expected to finish in the top half of the Big Ten this season.

Indiana vs. Louisville on Tuesday, Dec. 9
Event: Jimmy V Men’s Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City
TV coverage: ESPN

A matchup between Indiana and Louisville seems only natural due to the geographical proximity between the two schools, and they will play each other for the first time since 2003 — in New York City. Hoosiers fans also will recognize the game as the first time facing former assistant Kenny Johnson, who left for the Cardinals over the offseason.

Iowa vs. Iowa State on Friday, Dec. 12
TV coverage: TBD

The annual Cy-Hawk Series continues with two teams that had unfulfilling endings to the 2013-2014 season. The Cyclones struggled with injuries and the Hawkeyes simply imploded, as both teams made early exits from the NCAA tournament. The Cyclones have reloaded, though, and should make a great opponent for the Hawkeyes, who lost the likes of Melsahn Besabe, Roy Devyn Marble and Zach McCabe to graduation.

Michigan at Arizona on Saturday, Dec. 13
TV coverage: ESPN

The Wolverines have lost a lot of talent over the past two seasons, most recently with Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III, Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford all leaving the program. But under John Beilein, Michigan has proven to be competitive year in and year out. Of course, Arizona is an NCAA title-contender this season, and it will be intriguing to see how Michigan holds up against such an elite squad.

Ohio State vs. North Carolina on Saturday, Dec. 20
Event: CBS Sports Classic at the United Center in Chicago
TV coverage: CBS

Aaron Craft, Lenzelle Smith Jr. and LaQuinton Ross have all moved on from Columbus, but the Buckeyes should still compete for top-four finish within the Big Ten this season. And against North Carolina, a team that lost its star in James Michael McAdoo, both teams will have something to prove in one of the final games before conference play begins.

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

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  • plane1972

    I only hope we can sustain conference success in hoops because B1G football is getting worse by the day.

  • hardly

    unfortunately post season hoops for b1g aren’t too hot either – 1 national championship in the last 24 years…let’s hope that changes.

  • plane1972

    Excellent point! I overlooked that tiny detail. :>)

  • IUfanPurduePhD


    Would you have included SMU at Indiana if Emmanuel Mudiay had qualified instead of going to China?

  • Hardwood83

    No doubt- hard to defend B1G football. Just miserable.

  • IUDan

    Agree with your point … That what’s interesting is think about how many B10 teams have been to at least one FF since MSU win it all in 2000 (not including MD or Rutgers):


    don’t think any conference can say that … Would be nice to get a few of those over the hump

  • PDXHoosier

    It makes me angry that the champions classic is in Indy and we aren’t participating.
    It makes me extra angry that Calipari is participating.

  • Gregory Spera

    Izzo, Krzyzewski, Self and Calipari have all won NCAA Championships. They would have to rename the event if Indiana was in it.

  • NateMH

    Neb vs Creighton..Illinois vs Nova…Maryland vs VA… Not exactly marquee matchups in my mind.

  • hardly

    that a good point – I haven’t looked it up, but i would guess no other conference can say that almost 1/2 of their members (b1g has grown…so i’m thinking 11 members) have gone to the final four over the same period.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Gave you the upvote but that one cuts deep. True though…

  • Hoosier Hall

    I hope the B10 comes out on top in all of these. Realistically though, I think Michigan St. and Iowa have the least chance of winning.

  • CreanFaithful

    So you are saying the post was appropriately titled?
    “2014-2015 Big Ten preview: Top non-conference games”

  • CreanFaithful

    They are 1-1. Their record has improved every year under Wilson. Quite the opposite of getting worse every day.

  • ForeverIU

    If it’s any consolation, and not making excuses, CTC is the youngest of these coaches at 48. I think most of these coaches won their first championship in their mid 40s. I predict that CTC’s 50s will be a very productive decade.

  • CreamandCrimson

    His comment reads, “B1G football” (not IU football) and he is 100% correct…it is abysmal and I don’t think any logical argument can be made otherwise.

  • CreanFaithful

    I don’t read good

  • NateMH

    No I’m saying that none of those three games excite me as a college basketball fan.

  • MK

    I would watch any of those

  • Hoosier Hall

    Our luck, he won’t be here then.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    So age is now relevant?! Unless CTC’s in-game coaching mirrors Stevens when he was @ Butler, better add some liquor to your kool-aid.

  • HoosierFan08

    Wait…is this a Big 10 Forum or an Indiana Forum? I couldn’t care less about what the BIG 10 has done over the years. I care about IUBB and IUFB. I would tend to route on certain Big 10 teams but have we lost so much confidence in INDIANA sports that we have to revert to the success or the non-success of the conference?

  • Bryce Kepner

    I was about to mention the same thing. Im an Indiana fan and when anyone else from the Big Ten plays, I root for the other team. There are a few rare cases (national championship game last year I rooted for Wis).

  • Bryce Kepner

    Apart from the Iu games and the duke vs. Wisconsin game I hope thr rest of the big ten loses. Im an INDIANA fan, not a Big Ten fan

  • Gregory Spera

    Wrong. I want the other B1G teams to win out of conference, to build up those rankings and RPIs, so that Indiana looks all the better for beating them in conference play.

  • Hoosier Hall

    As an Indiana fan, we should be fans of the conference by proxy. When the B10 looks good, it makes us look better. Our conference was awfully close to having 3 teams in the FF last year. That’s a good thing.

  • ForeverIU

    Dude, I have news for you: all living things grow and mature and age, except maybe for your brain.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    U ask humans their opinion of you lately? Thought not. Lol. What is your favorite flavor anyway?

  • David Macer

    I think the ACC would have something to say about that. If you include the current conference alignment, it falls like this:
    2001 1 2 1 –
    2002 1 1 1 1
    2003 – – – –
    2004 2 – 1 –
    2005 2 2 1 1
    2006 – – – –
    2007 – 1 – 1
    2008 1 – – –
    2009 1 1 1 1
    2010 1 1 1 –
    2011 – – – –
    2012 1 1 – –
    2013 1 1 – 1
    2014 1 1 – –
    TOTAL 12 11 5 5

    B1G – MSU, MD, IU, OSU & WISC

    From 1939 thru 2014, the ACC has put 59 teams in the final 4; 29 teams in the final 2 and won it 14 times. This compares to the B1G with 52 final 4 teams; 25 final 2; and 11 champions.

    Top 3 in each conference as follows:

    ACC – UNC 18 final 4’s; Duke 15 final 4’s; and Louisville 10 final 4’s

    B1G – OSU 11 final 4’s, IU 8 final 4’s; and MSU also with 8 final 4’s

    The ACC has 4 teams that have never been to the final 4: Clemson, Virginia Tech, Miami and Boston College. While the B1G only has 2: Nebraska and Northwestern.

  • Bryce Kepner

    I understand what you mean but I always root against Ohio St, Michigan St and Purdue no matter who they play. The exception for when I actually root for Big Ten teams is the Big 10 vs ACC challenge.

  • Ole Man

    Let’s hope, if that’s true, that he’s still with IU when it happens…..LOL.

  • ForeverIU

    I’m on record with 26-5 for the season and pre-season, so hold me to it Ole Man, LOL.

  • Gregory J. Haggard

    I usually root for the B1G over other conference teams, unless I’m grudging against a particular school that year.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    So ask yourself, am I behaving like the Hoosier player I root for, admire, strive to emulate, adamantly boast about, etc ? I am curious . . . CHEERS!

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    Whatever you are taking, please share. Lmiuao