The 2020-2021 Indiana basketball schedule has been released
The Hoosiers will take the court in a mere five days! The schedule became official as of Wednesday evening. Here is the skinny on what IU is going to be up against this year.
Easy non-conference play
Non-conference play is in flux due to COVID-19, and the Hoosiers are without multiple marquee opponents in that portion of the schedule. Florida State will be the toughest matchup without a doubt, but the Maui Invitational is relatively low-key this year. Providence is good but certainly winnable, and the same could be said for both Texas and Davidson. I would hope the Hoosiers finish with either one or zero losses in this part of the schedule given their recent non-conference success.
Illinois and Wisconsin are both really good this season, but the other games in the first column are pretty easy. Northwestern is average, Penn State will be much worse without Lamar Stevens, Maryland has lost a ton of talent, and Nebraska has still not arrived under Fred Hoiberg. This is the time to boost the in-conference record. The Hoosiers should expect to finish no worse than 4-2 their first six games.
Brutal new year
The Hoosiers will have to run the gauntlet from mid-January to early February. They’re going to have to play Purdue, Michigan State, Iowa, Rutgers, Michigan, Illinois, and Iowa again in the middle of the season.
Obviously, when you play in the Big Ten (unless you’re Nebraska football), you expect to play challenging teams. Still, this is going to be quite a tough stretch. Four of those six teams are members of the preseason top-25, and a rivalry game against Purdue has just as much pressure (if not more) than a top-25 game.
Semi-easy close to the year
After that gauntlet, the Hoosiers will get some easier matchups. Northwestern, Ohio State, and Minnesota will ease them into a little tough spurt against Michigan State and Michigan (both at Assembly Hall). It will be a winnable last stretch of the season, albeit still challenging.
Preseason KenPom rankings have the Hoosiers predicted to finish 10-10 in Big Ten play. I think that is a pretty reasonable prediction, although I can see them finishing with as high as a 13-7 record or a 7-13 record as well. We just have to see which team shows up.