For today’s community service, we’re going to tell you exactly how Indiana’s remaining non-conference basketball schedule will play out.
Can you handle the truth?
We will use our decades of journalistic experience, combined with decades of covering Indiana basketball, to do the job.
Sure, you’re probably asking yourself, how do you have so much experience when you’re only 29 years old?
The answer, of course, is oatmeal.
Eat enough oatmeal and it cleans the arteries of cholesterol and defies time.
Or maybe leaves us confused.
Anyway, for the record, Indiana (7-2) has beaten the teams it was supposed to beat, lost to the teams it was supposed to lose to. It has four remaining non-conference games. All are part of the Las Vegas Classic, which is one of those tournaments where the Hoosiers get to play the first two games at home, then head to Sin City where, you hope, they will avoid temptation and play well enough so that what happens in Vegas DOESN’T stay in Vegas.
IU opens with SIU-Edwardsville (2-9) on Friday. On Sunday it hosts South Carolina State (4-4). Then it heads to Vegas where it will face Northern Iowa (5-3) on Dec. 22. The next day it will play either New Mexico (7-1 with Steve Alford as head coach) or Colorado (5-3 and the former employer of current IU assistant coach Steve McClain).
And that’s it. The Big Ten season starts Dec. 27 when Penn State comes to Assembly Hall. It won’t make for much of a Christmas break for the players, but that’s the price you play for major college opportunity.
Now to the details. There is zero chance the Hoosiers lose to SIU-Edwardsville (which not too long ago was a NCAA Division II program) and to South Carolina State.
That will make the Hoosiers 9-2. Northern Iowa has had a solid program over the years, but it seems less solid this year. It got crunched by Syracuse, whipped by Iowa and edged by Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The Hoosiers will win to get their first victory outside of Assembly Hall and that is very important given all the road challenges that await them in the Big Ten.
That will leave a final game showdown with New Mexico, which will beat Colorado.
The Lobos have a pair of high-scoring guards and a coach who knows how to use them. They got beat by 25 at California, but have cruised the rest of the time. Figure they will beat Indiana, which will give the Hoosiers a 10-3 non-conference record.
That means they need at least a 6-12 Big Ten record to position themselves for a NIT bid.
Is that realistic?
Of course it is. We’re 29 years old and we eat oatmeal. How could we be wrong?