In an ordinary year, the Indiana basketball schedule is finalized in August, with most of its components leaked out much earlier.
We don’t need to tell you that 2020 is no ordinary year.
And we probably don’t need to tell you that now well into October, there is still no IU basketball schedule.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a complete reset on the 2020-21 college basketball slate.
Indiana games previously scheduled against NJIT, Nebraska-Omaha, and Robert Morris are unlikely to happen. Tightening budgets and a desire for less travel means that non-conference games are likely to have a much more local look without large contractual guarantees.
Only just on Wednesday of this week did we definitively learn of a game on IU’s 2020-21 schedule.
The Hoosiers opening contest at the Maui Invitational (in Asheville, N.C. of course) will tip-off on Nov. 30 at 2:30 p.m. ET against Providence.
That is the only game set in stone at this point.
But plenty of additional data points and clues have emerged over the last few weeks.
Here is what we know.
First things first — it is going to be loaded.
“This schedule this season will be the toughest schedule, maybe in the country,” head coach Archie Miller said. “With the games that were cut due to the change in dates, the contractual obligated events that we’re in — it just gives us very little room for any games other than major, major opponents.”
The regular season will consist of 27 games in total. We expect the Big Ten will follow its recent model of playing 20 league games, leaving 7 non-conference contests.
3 of the 7 non-conference games will be played at the Maui-Asheville event, leaving just 4 additional non-Big Ten opponents.
While not certain, the Crossroads Classic appears to be a go once again in 2020, so Butler is likely 1 of those 4. The Big Ten/ACC Challenge is also still expected this year.
CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein is reporting that the annual Big Ten / Big East Gavitt Games will not take place in 2020. Indiana was expected to participate.
So basically we are down to just 2 unknown non-conference games at this point. Those will most likely be against low or mid-major opponents since the remaining 25 should all be against high majors.
Precise dates, times and television arrangements still need to be worked out too.
Here is a rough sketch of where things stand for IU:
Nov. 25 — Non-conference opponent A
Nov. 30 – Providence (Maui-Asheville)
Dec. 1 – Texas or Davidson (Maui-Asheville)
Dec. 2 – TBD (Maui-Asheville)
Dec. 5/6 – Big Ten game 1
Dec. 8/9 – Big Ten / ACC Challenge (opponent TBD)
Dec. 12 – Big Ten game 2
Dec. 19 – Butler (Crossroads Classic) — not confirmed
Dec. 22/23 – Non-conference opponent B
Jan. – March – 18 Big Ten contests
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