Indiana basketball will face Michigan State, Illinois and Purdue each twice
BLOOMINGTON — June should be a revealing month for IU’s 2022-23 schedule, and the Hoosiers received their first big chunk of news Thursday with the release of the Big Ten schedule pairings.
In the 2022-23 season, Mike Woodson’s team will face Purdue, Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State, Rutgers, Iowa and Illinois home and away. The Hoosiers will see only Nebraska, Wisconsin and Ohio State and home, and they will face Minnesota, Maryland and Penn State each only on the road.
A substantial and near-widespread drain of talent makes the upcoming season difficult to predict. IU is widely considered the Big Ten favorite, but not without reservations about the Hoosiers’ 3-point shooting and general offensive struggles.
Nonetheless, with hard-hitting starts hitting Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Purdue, Ohio State, Rutgers, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois, Woodson’s team seems the safest thing.
This league-wide uncertainty makes it difficult to handicap these pairings.
For one thing, trips to Columbus and Madison are rarely straightforward. Indiana hasn’t won in the latter city this century. On the other hand, roster turnover and coaching changes leave Nebraska, Maryland, Penn State and Minnesota all battling to stay out of the conference bottom four. The Hoosiers will only see each of those teams once, and three of the four will be road games.
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At a minimum, Woodson should have a clear idea of his team’s capabilities by the time he reaches the meat of the Big Ten season, thanks to a more aggressive schedule.
The Hoosiers are expected to challenge themselves with plenty of high-quality non-conference games in November and December. They will travel to Kansas on Dec. 17 and are expected to finalize a meeting with Arizona in Las Vegas seven days before that. Their status as Big Ten favorites should land them a plum opponent in the ACC/Big Ten challenge — national semifinalist North Carolina at home would make a lot of sense — adding another bright light to the marquee. And there’s the potential (but not the guarantee) of a Big East opponent at the Gavitt Games in November, possibly down the road.
It seems unlikely that at this point Woodson and his team will add a standout non-conference opponent outside of those opportunities, with the rest of his schedule likely filled with guaranteed home games.
The Hoosiers are expected to host a multi-team event at Assembly Hall during Thanksgiving week, with games lined up against Miami (Ohio), Little Rock and Jackson State. It stands to reason that the rest of the non-conference schedule will fill with teams of similar profiles, before launching the Hoosiers on the proving ground in late November, early December.
Big Ten schedule dates will be set either later in the summer or early fall when the conference announces its full roster.
Follow IndyStar reporter Zach Osterman on Twitter: @ZachOsterman.