Great slate for in-state schools in B1G/ACC Challenge
It won't take long for Archie Miller to face off with a coaching legend in Bloomington. (Photo Credit: IconSMI)
There will be no issue working off the Thanksgiving leftovers for Indiana, Purdue, and Notre Dame.
When two leagues combine for 16 tournament appearances in one NCAA Tournament, and those schools agree to play each other in non-conference action, you expect quality matchups every step of the way.
That's certainly the case for the upcoming installment of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, with matchups officially announced by ESPN earlier today.
For Indiana and Purdue, they'll get great non-cofnerence home games. For Notre Dame, they're on the road, but not too far away from home.
Archie Miller's trial-by-fire with the Indiana Hoosiers hits warp speed when the Duke Blue Devils visit Assembly Hall as part of the proceedings. That's years with back-to-back home games in this event for the Hoosiers, and both visitors hailing from Tobacco Road. Last season, it was a home game (and victory) against North Carolina.
The Hoosiers played at Cameron Indoor Stadium two years ago, and were thoroughly thumped by the Blue Devils 94-74. It's the first time Duke has visited Bloomington since November of 2005 as part of this event, a game won by the Blue Devils. The last time the Hoosiers beat the Blue Devils? That would be the memorable Sweet 16 win against Coach K and company in Lexington in 2002.
In addition to this home game against Duke, the non-conference slate will include a trip to Seton Hall as part of the Gavitt Games for Indiana in the opening week of the season, a showdown with Notre Dame as part of the Crossroads Classic in mid-December, and a trip to Louisville as part of the scheduling agreement between the two teams that saw the Cardinals play in Indianapolis on New Year's Eve in 2016.
And don't forget that there will be a brief visit to league play in early December this year due to the Big Ten tournament taking place a week earlier to be held at Madison Square Garden. In other words, there's not exactly a lack of quality games early in the calendar for the Hoosiers.
As for Purdue, they'll play the same team they did in this event a season ago, that being Louisville. Only difference this time will be that Purdue gets to stay at home. The Boilers would suffer just two non-league losses a season ago, one of them happening at the Yum Center to the Cardinals. The other was to the defending national champs in Villanova.
The scheduling formula for Purdue is quite similar to what's mentioned above for Indiana. They'll also go on the road for the Gavitt Games, playing at Marquette on November 14th. They'll then face another Big East foe when they battle Butler in the Crossroads Classic.
And there'll be more games against great non-conference foes as Purdue plays in this year's Battle 4 Atlantis. Joining Matt Painter's crew in that event will be Arizona, Villanova, NC State, and SMU as headlining teams.
Notre Dame will head to Michigan State to take on a loaded Spartan squad that will benefit greatly from the somewhat surprise return of Myles Bridges. Mike Brey's bunch returns leading scorer Bonzie Colson, but will have to replace key seniors in VJ Beacham and Steve Vasturia from last year's team that reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Wrestling the attention away of the sports fan from college football and the NFL can be difficult during that time of the year in most states, even if that's not necessarily the case here. However, when you play the sort of slate that Indiana and Purdue do in non-conference play, and go ahead and throw Butler into that mix even though they are a part of the Gavitt Games but not this event, then it's a little easier to get the casual sports fan's attention.
And if this article did that, then there's a good sign the games will do more than that come the end of November.