Mike Schumann / The Daily Hoosier

Report: Long-awaited 2020-21 Big Ten basketball schedule could arrive next week

It took three tries to get the 2020 Big Ten football schedule right.

The league is waiting as long as it can to make sure that its basketball slate is one-and-done.

CBS Sports college basketball analyst Jon Rothstein reported via Twitter on Friday that the league is “hoping to release its conference schedule for the 20-21 season at some point next week.”

Despite some talks about a full round robin, the Big Ten schedule is widely expected to follow the 20 game format that has been utilized in recent years.

The NCAA recently committed to a 27 game schedule for the pandemic shortened 2020-21 season, and several teams including Indiana already have most or all of their seven game non-conference schedule in place.

Since moving to the 20 game format in 2017, the Big Ten has scheduled two of its games in early December.

The multiple false starts in football could have the conference rethinking that approach for 2020-21.  The league’s nine week 2020 football schedule leaves no room for make-up dates.  As a result Wisconsin has already had to forego two games of its 2020 season after a COVID-19 outbreak within its program.

According to Andy Wittry of Turner, the league asked its athletic directors for feedback regarding a basketball scheduling option where the conference could front-load the schedule, such that teams would play 3-5 conference games in December, allowing for more rescheduling opportunities later in the season.

It could be difficult for the programs to accommodate so many additional early league games in light of the work that has been done to this point on the non-conference portion of the schedule.  However, Wittry reported that 12 of the 14 coaches were supportive of the model.

The league is navigating a number of issues with its conference schedule including safety protocols.  Rothstein is also reporting that other leagues continue to consider a bubble approach similar to what was used in the NBA, including the Big East.  We are not aware of any plans in the Big Ten to follow a bubble format, although something along those lines could conceivably be put in place over the final two weeks of December and into early January when most of the schools are between semesters.

Here is what we know about Indiana’s seven game non-conference schedule to this point:

  • Nov. 25 – vs. Tennessee Tech (not confirmed)
  • Nov. 30 – vs. Providence (at Asheville, N.C.)
  • Dec. 1 – vs. Texas or Davidson (at Asheville, N.C.)
  • Dec. 2 – vs. TBD (at Asheville, N.C.)
  • Dec. 9 – at Florida State (Big Ten / ACC Challenge)
  • Dec. 19 – vs. Butler (Crossroads Classic, date subject to change)

We will share the complete 2020-21 Big Ten schedule if/when it is released next week.  Although not confirmed, similar to football it is not expected that the league will permit fans to attend games beyond family members of the players.

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