The 2015-2016 schedule: What we know

  • 05/11/2015 10:15 am in

The full 2015-2016 Indiana basketball schedule won’t be released until later this summer when the Big Ten finalizes the conference slate, but a good chunk of dates and opponents for the upcoming season have already been revealed.

Here’s an early look at what we know so far about the 2015-2016 schedule:

· Year five of the Crossroads Classic: The Hoosiers are 2-2 over the first four years of the Crossroads Classic and this event is here to stay as it was extended through 2019 last August. IU’s opponent in this year’s Classic will be Notre Dame on Dec. 19 in Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Irish are ranked in the top 15 in several early rankings for next season.

· A solid field in Maui: Indiana is one of eight teams in the 2015 Maui Invitational, joining Chaminade, Kansas, St. John’s, UCLA, UNLV, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest. The bracket won’t be announced until later this summer, but the Jayhawks appear to be a preseason top 10 team and UCLA, UNLV and Vanderbilt all appear to be potential NCAA tournament teams next season. This event will be a solid measuring stick early for the Hoosiers and also an opportunity to pick up some top 100 RPI wins in the non-conference.

· Creighton comes to Assembly Hall: The first Gavitt Tipoff Games, which some are calling the Big Ten/Big East challenge, is a bit underwhelming from a matchup perspective. The Hoosiers drew Creighton at Assembly Hall and the Bluejays are coming off of a poor 14-19 campaign. Still, it’s a win for fans to get a major conference opponent coming to Bloomington on Nov. 19.

· A trip to Durham for the Big Ten-ACC Challenge? File this one under the “wait-and-see” column, but Andy Katz of predicted last week that the two marquee games of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge would be Indiana at Duke and Maryland at North Carolina. The schedule should be announced soon, but if it happens, it would be the first meeting between Indiana and Duke since 2006, when the Hoosiers fell 54-51 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

· Two guarantee games revealed: Thanks to an open records request from Mike Miller of the Bloomington Herald-Times, we learned last week that Indiana will host McNeese State (Dec. 12) and Kennesaw State (Dec. 22) as part of the non-conference schedule. McNeese State was No. 288 last year in the KenPom ratings (No. 279 in RPI) and Kennesaw State was No. 343 (No. 318 in RPI).

· Unbalanced schedule could determine regular season champion: Adding Maryland and Rutgers to the league last season brought the first season of eight single plays and five double plays for each conference team. Considering the setup was seven home-and-homes and four single plays, it was a major change that will continue to have an impact on determining the regular season champion. It didn’t matter much last season as Wisconsin was clearly the class of the league, but it could be a significant factor next winter.

Here’s the draw for Indiana:

– Home and Home: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin
– Home only: Maryland, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue
– Away only: Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Rutgers

On paper, it is a favorable draw for the Hoosiers as they get Maryland, Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State all just once. Each of those teams will probably be projected to finish in the top six of the conference. Looking around the league,

Maryland got a tough draw with road only matchups with Indiana and Michigan State and double plays with Michigan, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin. Michigan State, on the other hand, probably made out best as the Spartans get IU and Maryland just once (both at home) and double plays with both Penn State and Rutgers.

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  • Okay, I’ll buy that. 🙂

  • oldiugymnast

    But it wasn’t just a bad matchup. It was a matchup where a key piece – our most reliable deep and mid-range scoring option was hurt, and hurt pretty badly. He played with guts, but it isn’t like that didn’t happen. And nearly everybody I know – even my cousin who has coached small schools to 2 state championships in TX – thinks that that was one of the most poorly called games in history. Syracuse was allowed to hack the heck out of Cody the whole game and barely a whistle. These things matter. Pointing them out isn’t making excuses. Those things ACTUALLY HAPPENED and effected the outcome of the game. Sure – Cody could have taken that foul line jumper that was open all game, and execution could have been a little better. But the idea that that team underperformed and that Coach did everything wrong is simply unreasonable because it isn’t true!

  • oldiugymnast

    This would be interesting to test.

  • hoosier93

    Well Maryland won’t have the terribly easy B1G schedule that Wisconsin had last year either. And the B1G should be better. But Maryland will have a POY candidate in Melo Trimble. A great freshman in Diamond Stone plus Layman and Sulaimon. They have very good pieces. They’re easily the favorites followed by Michigan State, Purdue, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois.

  • hoosier93

    I’m not worried about that. It’s been 3 years and nothing happened. Baylor would be a great opponent.

  • Aleksey

    I agree with most of this. You’re right on that IU will be tested big-time in the early season and I am a firm believer that playing really solid competition throughout the year forges a team into a championship-caliber one by NCAA tourney time. Even if you lose those early games, seeing a high-quality opponent gets you ready for the battles that you will face in the conference and prepares you to work hard enough.

    A few quick thoughts on your analysis:
    – The Maui Invitational is absolutely loaded with top teams, and that will be a very big TV draw for college basketball fans early in the season.
    – Kansas will be considerably better than they were last year. Yes, I know they won the Big XII for the 847th consecutive year, but that whole conference was badly overrated and their performance in the NCAA tournament showed that. However, next year the Jayhawks return three top contributors including Frank Mason, Wayne Seldon and Perry Ellis and they bring in a monster recruiting haul again including C Cheick Diallo. They will be really freaking talented and they will be anchored by juniors and seniors.
    – UCLA is potentially a sleeper in the Pac-12. For all the hubbub, Steve Alford is an excellent coach and he is bringing back a talented roster that underachieved last year and supplementing it with three long, athletic top-75 recruits that can shoot. Arizona and Cal will get all the hype thanks to their top-5 recruiting classes (and they will both be very good) but UCLA has the potential to be special, too.
    – St. John’s is a mystery at this point. They had one of their best seasons in a very long time (think Lou Carnesseca era) but they flamed out early in the NCAA tournament and the Red Storm fired head coach Steve Lavin. Lavin was poised to bring another talented recruiting class to Queens but now nothing is guaranteed. I think it will take them a season or so to stabilize the ship.
    – Wake Forest was once a perennial contender in the ACC but in the last six or seven seasons they have been nothing short of a dumpster fire. Head Coach Danny Manning (yes, that Danny Manning from KU) is starting to move the program in the right direction and they showed plenty of heart and effort playing against the monsters of Tobacco Road / Northeast / Midwest / South Atlantic (the ACC is all over the map). However, they still finished DEAD LAST in the ACC and they still need time to get better.
    – Vanderbilt was the youngest team in the SEC last year. Keep in mind that UK, also in the SEC, had four freshman, five sophomores, and a junior as their rotation, and Vandy managed to be younger than that. With all that youth came a lot of growing pains. Vanderbilt started 1-7 in the SEC and looked doomed to a third consecutive losing season. Then they reeled off nine straight wins, got a bid to the NIT and made it to the quarterfinals of the tournament, losing to eventual champions Stanford. With eight of their top nine contributors returning, including potential lottery pick C Damian Jones, Vandy is a major sleeper in the SEC, especially with Florida losing Billy Donovan. Vandy has lots of talent and depth and might be the best overall three-point shooting team in the country next year. I would rather face them early in the season before they get a chance to gel. I would still be leery of facing them.
    – UNLV has suddenly become Duke West in recruiting. A lot of their recruiting hauls in the past few years have been keeping top players home, but this team (on paper at least) has as much talent as anyone west of the Rocky Mountains including Arizona and Cal. This year they bring in C Stephen Zimmerman and he will be a likely 2016 lottery pick. UNLV is talented, long, tall and fast. Which is to say the kind of team that would give the 2014-15 IU team major fits. They will be a stern early test and it’s better to face them at the beginning of the year.

  • TomJameson

    Oh yes, I agree his dismissal raises eyebrows and makes one wonder if there is any truth to the matter.


    I don’t have a problem what so ever playing a 3 guard lineup if TW is the one being referred to as the third guard, in fact that is the exact lineup that I would like to see, him along with TB and another true big and 2 true guards.

  • jayrig5

    Jbj over Allen, every day of the week. Allen picked a good time to have a few good games, but he was pretty poor all season, and the defense wasn’t exactly focused on him.

  • Dmoe

    Now I agree with you on that one Dude

  • TomJameson

    Me too. Yogi, JBJ, Troy, Bryant, 2nd “big” of choice.

  • dwdkc

    Agree, but I think they look more like a 14-4 than the 16-2 Badgers where really nobody else realistically had a chance.

  • hoosier93

    Is say this Maryland team could have went 16-2 in the B1G last year.