Thoughts on Indiana's Big Ten schedule

Yogi Ferrell (USA Today)

The Big Ten basketball schedule was released Thursday night. Here are my thoughts on IU's draw.

The Big Ten basketball schedule was revealed Thursday night on the Big Ten Network. Terry Hutchens had a nice story laying it all out, but here are my thoughts and analysis after seeing the schedule.

1. NO FAVORS EARLY: The Hoosiers open the Big Ten slate at Nebraska on New Year's Eve, and then travel to Michigan State five days later. Their third game is at home, but it will come against Thad Matta and Ohio State. That's not exactly the easiest way for a young Indiana team to open play in arguably the nation's toughest conference, but it should give us a good early idea of where this team is at.

Nebraska was the conference's darling team a year ago, and the Cornhuskers figure to be good again, especially at home. The Breslin Center is always a difficult play to play, even with a vastly different roster makeup for Tom Izzo and Co.

2. NO Michigan OR Iowa ON THE ROAD: This is a positive for the Hoosiers. Michigan and Iowa are likely to be two of the better teams in the Big Ten this season, and IU will play both teams at Assembly Hall only. They won't see either team until February, and they won't play Iowa until March 3.

3. VISITS TO NEW SCHOOLS: Indiana will play both Rutgers and Maryland twice, meaning the Hoosiers will visit both campuses this season. They had to Maryland on Feb. 11 and to Rutgers on Feb. 22.

4. ALL ABOUT Purdue: Indiana will play Purdue twice this season, the first time coming in West Lafayette on Jan. 28. IU will host the Boilermakers on Feb. 19. Those ones are always fun.

5. HOW MANY WINS?: After seeing the schedule, I could see the Hoosiers winning 10, probably 11 games in conference. If they did that and took care of business in the non-conference season, they'd be in good position for the NCAA Tournament in March.

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