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Indiana University

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IU, Purdue away when Big Ten basketball starts

– The Big Ten announced its men’s basketball conference schedule Wednesday.

Purdue and Indiana play Dec. 31, the first day. The Boilermakers head to Ohio State for a 1 p.m. matchup, while the Hoosiers are at Illinois at 3 p.m.

Both games will be broadcast on ESPN2.

The rivals play each other only once during the regular season thanks to a scheduling quirk. IU heads to West Lafayette for a 4 p.m. showdown Feb. 15. The game will be aired on ESPN or ESPN2.

IU has seven guaranteed games on the ESPN networks and one game on CBS.

The Hoosiers face a tough start to their conference schedule, with five road games in their first 10, including marquee games against Michigan State (Jan. 4 at home), Wisconsin (Jan. 14 at home), MSU again (Jan. 21 on the road) and Michigan (Feb. 2 at home).

Among other key dates is a Dec. 3 contest at Syracuse – a rematch of the regional semifinal game that ended the Hoosiers’ NCAA tournament run last season – and a Dec. 14 game against Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic.

The Hoosiers also play twice at Madison Square Garden in November in a tournament that will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. The Hoosiers open the season by hosting Chicago State on Nov. 8.

“As far as our conference schedule, there is a reason it is the toughest league in the country,” IU coach Tom Crean said in a press release. “You don’t look ahead. Each game takes on its own meaning.”

The Boilermakers have it tough, too, but the start of their schedule is more manageable.

After facing the Buckeyes, they will play at Minnesota on Jan. 5, but then hit a bit of a lull in their schedule. The Boilermakers play a beatable Nebraska team on the road Jan. 12, get Illinois at home Jan. 15, play at Penn State on Jan. 18 and face Northwestern in Evanston on Jan. 21.

In an odd scheduling twist, the Boilermakers and Butler will meet Dec. 14 at the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis and also could meet Nov. 29 in the second round of a tournament at Orlando, Fla.

Northern Kentucky visits Mackey Arena on Nov. 8 in the season opener.

smorrison@jg.net

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