A closer look at Indiana’s 2016-2017 Big Ten schedule
The Big Ten announced the 2016-2017 men’s basketball schedule on Thursday afternoon, which you can find in its entirety at this link.
The announcement means Indiana’s complete 2016-2017 schedule is now out with the exception of one exhibition game. We broke down the non-conference schedule last week, but here are some thoughts on IU’s 18-game league schedule:
· The early portion could allow for a strong start: Indiana’s Big Ten schedule isn’t as easy as it was out of the gate last season, but with five of its first seven league games at Assembly Hall, the Hoosiers could again start strong in league play.
Indiana’s first three Big Ten games are in Bloomington: Nebraska, Wisconsin and Illinois. The timing of the Louisville non-conference game means that the Hoosiers will open with the Huskers before two off days and then the meeting with the Cardinals in Indianapolis.
After the three straight home games, Indiana will alternate between the road and home with games at Maryland, at home against Rutgers, at Penn State and then at home against Michigan State. If the Hoosiers are going to repeat as Big Ten champion, protecting home court against Wisconsin and Michigan State will be important, particularly with no return trip to East Lansing.
· The final portion of the schedule looks … tricky: According to an Indiana spokesperson, the Hoosiers will be the first Big Ten team since Northwestern in 2009 to finish league play with four of their five league games on the road.
The final five games: at Minnesota, at Iowa, home against Northwestern, at Purdue and at Ohio State. Indiana went 6-3 in Big Ten road games last season and a repeat of that record will be hard to duplicate. If Indiana can emerge from that final stretch with a 3-2 mark, it would have to be viewed as a success.
· Weekend home games: It’s hard to beat the atmosphere of a weekend Big Ten game at Assembly Hall and fans will have five of those this season. (The Hoosiers also played five weekend Big Ten home games last season.)
In January, Indiana will host Illinois on a Saturday, Rutgers on a Saturday and Michigan State on a Saturday. And in February, there’s a Sunday home game with Michigan and a game with Northwestern that will fall on Saturday or Sunday.
The games with Michigan State and Michigan could be strong possibilities for national broadcasts on CBS.
· Most favorable three-game stretch: Go ahead and pencil in the start of the league schedule here with three straight home games against Nebraska, Wisconsin and Illinois.
· Toughest three-game stretch: Nothing really stands out, but the stretch of at Wisconsin and then home games against Purdue and Michigan will provide three straight difficult tests for the Hoosiers.
— Indiana Basketball (@IndianaMBB) August 25, 2016
Filed to: 2016-2017 schedule