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Indiana basketball reportedly toughens schedule even more with SEC road game

Indiana University men's basketball coach Archie Miller yells to his team during the first half of a game against Seton Hall last season in Newark, N.J. The game was part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games event. (By The Associated Press)
Arkansas men's basketball coach Mike Anderson speaks with the media during the 2018 NCAA Tournament in Detroit this past spring. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)

There have been recent seasons that the Indiana University men’s basketball program scheduled its non-conference games so carefully that the Hoosiers never even played a true road game until entering Big Ten Conference play. However, second-year coach Archie Miller certainly is not taking that approach.

The Hoosiers played a couple of such games last season (at Louisville and at Seton Hall) and Miller’s group is going to do so again this coming season.

Reports circulated Tuesday afternoon that Indiana would travel to Arkansas on Nov. 18 as part of the Hardwood Showcase event.

“Our non-conference schedule will be more difficult than last year’s,” Miller said this spring at a university function. “We have to challenge ourselves.”

The Hardwood Showcase is a six-team event that also includes UT Arlington, UC Davis, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, and Montana State.

The Razorbacks will visit Bloomington in the 2019-20 season.

Indiana is already scheduled to travel to Duke as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Nov. 27, as well as it will be hosting Marquette (Nov. 14) as part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games) and Louisville.

The latter is the type of game that Miller’s boss, Indiana athletic director Fred Glass said is important to his coach.

“I do know that Archie appreciates the value of major intersectional play,” Glass said this spring.

Glass said that both he and Miller want to resume the annual series with Kentucky at some point, which would be a favorable act for both fan bases.

“He shares my desire to get Kentucky back on the schedule,” Glass said.

Historically, those types of games – at least on the road – haven’t been kind to Indiana.

The last Indiana victory in a true road, non-conference game was Nov. 30, 2011, at North Carolina State. The Hoosiers have dropped five consecutive such games following that victory.

Glass said that as the Big Ten expanded to 20 games (including two in early December), this coming season, scheduling has become more difficult for programs such as his.

“It is clearly a challenge,” Glass said. “It wasn’t that many years ago when we didn’t have the ACC Challenge and we didn’t have the Gavitt Games and now we are going to two additional conference games.

“I think that we will need to reevaluate all of (the scheduling).”

Miller said that it remains imperative to play challenging games because if a team doesn’t it ends up hurting them later on. Such was the case for the Big Ten last year, according to Miller.

“Our league in general,” Miller said of last season, “from a non-conference standpoint, just quite frankly didn’t get the job done. That is why our league, in general, as the course of our season went along had good wins but we didn’t get any credit for that.”

In addition to all of the aforementioned games, Indiana will also travel to Indianapolis to face Butler in the annual Crossroads Classic.

“Already having Marquette and Louisville in Assembly Hall is great,” Miller said. “Understanding that we are going to have a couple early Big Ten games again within that first week (of December) and then you have the Indianapolis (Crossroads Classic) game with Butler.

“I would suspect that our finish to November and our finish through December will be a gauntlet.”

For more on college basketball, follow Tom Davis on Twitter at Tom101010, Facebook at Thomas Davis, and Instagram at tomdavis101010.

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