Five takeaways from Indiana’s 2024-25 non-conference schedule release

  • 07/09/2024 12:04 pm in

Indiana released its 2024-25 men’s basketball non-conference schedule Tuesday morning.

The Hoosiers will navigate an 11-game non-conference slate, including a trip to the Battle 4 Atlantis in late November.

Here are five takeaways from IU’s non-conference schedule release:

Indiana is banking on Battle 4 Atlantis to provide marquee matchups

The bracket for the Battle 4 Atlantis has yet to be released, but given the lack of high-major matchups on the rest of the slate, it’s clear IU is counting on marquee matchups in the Bahamas.

Indiana’s potential opponents in the Battle 4 Atlantis are Arizona, Davidson, Gonzaga, Louisville, Oklahoma, Providence and West Virginia.

The clear headliners from that group are Arizona and Gonzaga. The Wildcats are ranked No. 10 in Bart Torvik’s preseason rankings for next season and the Zags are ranked No. 9.

Beyond that, Torvik has Davidson at No. 157, Louisville at No. 62, Oklahoma at No. 67, Providence at No. 60 and West Virginia at No. 83.

A marquee win or two in the Bahamas will be pivotal in building a resume before conference play begins. If Indiana doesn’t perform well at the Battle 4 Atlantis, the chances it will finish non-conference play without a Quad 1 win are high.

Indiana is not currently scheduled to play in Indianapolis

According to last year’s non-conference schedule release, Indiana played a game in Indianapolis last season for the 49th consecutive season.

That streak is in jeopardy this season unless the 2025 Big Ten tournament is played in the state’s capitol.

The Big Ten has yet to announce a venue for next season’s conference tournament.

It marks the second straight season that Indiana has not played a true road game in the non-conference.

The home non-conference schedule lacks a signature opponent

With the Gavitt Tipoff Games and Big Ten-ACC Challenge dissolved, the probability of getting a signature non-conference game at Assembly Hall has decreased.

Last season, Indiana filled the void with the return game of a home-and-home series with Kansas.

This season, South Carolina is the only high-major opponent coming to Bloomington in the non-conference. While the Gamecocks were an NCAA tournament team last season, this matchup won’t move the needle for season ticket holders.

It also may not help acquire a Quad 1 victory outside of the Bahamas. Bart Torvik currently projects South Carolina as the nation’s No. 54 team for next season.

Unless the Gamecocks can outperform that projection, the best Indiana can hope for is likely a Quad 2 win in this one-year stopgap matchup before the Kentucky series resumes in 2025-26.

Examining the other seven non-conference opponents

In addition to the Battle 4 Atlantis contest and the South Carolina game, Indiana will play seven against low — or mid-major opponents.

Four of those opponents – Sam Houston State, Chattanooga, Winthrop and UNC-Greensboro – are ranked between 113 and 175 nationally in Torvik’s preseason projections for next season.

Miami (OH) is currently ranked 234th, with Eastern Illinois at No. 311 and SIU-Edwardsville at No. 313.

All seven of these games — plus South Carolina — fall under the category of “guarantee” or “buy” games, meaning that the Hoosiers won’t have to make a return trip.

There are several Indiana ties among these opponents.

SIU-Edwardsville is coached by Brian Barone, who worked in Bloomington under Tom Crean. Logan Duncomb, who played two seasons at IU, is on the Winthrop roster. Former IU player Marty Simmons coaches Eastern Illinois. And Miami (OH) coach Travis Steele was a video coordinator at IU under Kelvin Sampson.

This non-conference slate isn’t as challenging as the last two seasons

Since he arrived in Bloomington, Mike Woodson has not shied away from scheduling marquee non-conference matchups.

In year two of his tenure, Woodson played Arizona in Las Vegas and Kansas in Lawrence. Last season, the Hoosiers played Kansas in Bloomington, Auburn in Atlanta and UConn in New York.

Of those five games, only UConn was part of an exempt multi-team event (MTE) in which Indiana didn’t choose the opponent.

After coming up short in each of those games the last two seasons, Indiana’s non-conference schedule this season isn’t as challenging despite a transfer portal haul ranked among the country’s best.

Indiana has a chance to rack up plenty of wins with this schedule but will be under pressure to win in the Bahamas and Big Ten play because the rest of the slate is underwhelming.

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