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Is IU poised to schedule even more non-conference patsies?

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Sunday, March 05, 2017 06:37 am
BLOOMINGTON – Great news, guys. Indiana has just freed up its schedule so it can get more home games against the likes of Savannah State and Houston Baptist.

How is this possible?

The Hoosiers have backed out of next season’s 2K Classic in New York City. According to an IU release, “We had scheduling conflicts and are making adjustments as the schedule is still a work in progress.”

This opens up two more games. Yes, Indiana officials could use this to schedule games people would want to see — can you say Kentucky in Indianapolis? — but the current non-conference scheduling philosophy puts the likelihood with home games, and against some of the worst teams in America.

Next season IU is set to play at Louisville on Dec. 9, and will face Notre Dame in Indianapolis as part of the Crossroads Classic on Dec. 16. It also figures to play on the road in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, and perhaps another road game as part of the Gavitt Games.

Those are four quality games and opponents. If they are all on the road, IU likely will want home games.

Again, based on the way coach Tom Crean has scheduled, that means we can expect some really bad teams from places far, far away coming to Assembly Hall, as opposed to hosting, say, Ball State or Indiana State or a team that fans might actually have some interest in.

Yes, every Power 5 Conference school hosts weak non-conference teams, but nobody does it like the Hoosiers, who go out of their way to find the biggest patsies possible. This is why, based on kenpom.com, their non-conference schedule rates No. 301 out of 351 NCAA Division I schools — and that’s with playing Louisville, Butler, Kansas and North Carolina.

Do you realize how hard it is to do that?

By comparison, Michigan State’s non-conference schedule rates at No. 55. Butler’s non-conference schedule is at No. 43. Purdue’s is at No. 220.

Add a relatively weak Big Ten this season and IU’s NCAA tourney at-large prospects would have been shaky even if it had three or four more wins.

Oh, for those wondering about the Hoosiers’ NCAA tourney hopes this year (OK, you’ve probably LONG since given up on that, but still …), IU is 17-14. Let’s say it wins four Big Ten tourney games (this assumes a Wednesday start), and loses in the tourney title game. That would make the Hoosiers’ 21-15.

Only seven teams have ever received at-large bids with at least 14 losses and none since 2011.

So now you know.


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