The first new nonconference game of the Mike Woodson era has emerged.
CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reported on Twitter that IU basketball will face Merrimack in Bloomington as part of its 2021-22 nonconference schedule.
Based in North Andover, Mass., Merrimack plays in the Northeast Conference and finished the 2020-21 campaign with a 9-9 record.
The 2021-22 season will be Merrimack’s third as a NCAA Division One program. Head coach Joe Gallo completed a run of three NCAA Tournament appearances in three years in 2018-19 to put a bow on the program’s Division II history.
Merrimack had won at least 19 games in all four seasons of Gallo’s tenure prior to the COVID-19 shortened 2020-21 campaign, including three straight years of at least 20 wins. In 2019-20, Merrimack set a new NCAA record for wins by a program in its first year of reclassification to Division One following its 17th victory of the year at Saint Francis Brooklyn. They finished with 20 wins and the defensive minded squad led the NEC in scoring defense, 3-point field goal percentage defense, steals per game and turnover margin.
The game will mark the first ever meeting between Indiana and Merrimack. Gallo was named NEC Coach of the Year in 2020 and holds a 90-54 record during his time at the school.
NCAA Division One teams should return to a 31 game schedule in 2021-22. For Indiana that will include 20 Big Ten games and 11 nonconference contests. Merrimack is the second known nonconference opponent for Indiana, joining Notre Dame, who IU will face as part of the Crossroads Classic.
The Big Ten released Indiana’s 20 conference opponents last week.
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