Big Ten Mens Basketball Schedule Overview
Finally, the time has come to look and see how the Big Ten basketball season might pan out. After waiting for…well..forever, its finally been released. A first glance leads to some interesting observations, but before we get to that, this is how the Lions look to play out the Big Ten season:
2009-10 BIG TEN MEN’S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE (Conference Only) (Home games in bold)
29 Penn State at Minnesota 9 p.m. ESPN2
3 Wisconsin at Penn State 2 p.m. Big Ten Network
7 Michigan at Penn State 7 p.m. ESPN2
12 Penn State at Illinois 9 p.m. Big Ten Network
16 Penn State at Iowa 1 p.m. Big Ten Network
21 Indiana at Penn State 7 p.m. ESPN/ESPN2
24 Penn State at Wisconsin 2:30 p.m. Big Ten Network
27 Illinois at Penn State 6:30 p.m. Big Ten Network
Penn State at Purdue 3 p.m. Big Ten Network
3 Penn State at Ohio State 6:30 p.m. Big Ten Network
6 Minnesota at Penn State 2 p.m. Big Ten Network
13 Michigan State at Penn State Noon ESPN
17 Penn State at Northwestern 8:30 p.m. Big Ten Network
20 Penn State at Michigan 6 p.m. Big Ten Network
24 Ohio State at Penn State 6:30 p.m. Big Ten Network
28 Northwestern at Penn State Noon Big Ten Network
3 Penn State at Michigan State 6:30 p.m./8:30 p.m. Big Ten Network
6/7 Purdue at Penn State 2:30 p.m./Noon/4 p.m. Big Ten Network/ESPN/CBS Sports
When it comes down to it there are 9 home games and 9 road games as always. This does end up working in the Lions favor towards the end of the season when they will be playing 5 of 8 games at home including 3 of the last 4 games at home.
All in all the schedule seems to favor the Lions who will have to learn the ropes quickly with a Big Ten opener at The Barn in Minny. They might however not have the benefit of very many students in town to see them play Wisconsin as well as Michigan in what could be two key games in the early going. Students wont be back until the 11th of January but the Lions will have those two home games not 4 days before the students get back, on national tv (espn2) (3 of the first 6 Big Ten games for the Nittany Lions are on ESPN2)
Two road trips to Illinois and Iowa are up next, and both games should be a good chance to see if this Lions squad is for real or back to the realm of 14-16 wins. Iowa shouldn’t be as tough this year seeing how after the last season ended what seemed like half the team left….mainly Jake Kelly,the bubble burster himself.
After that comes Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, in series of Home, Away, Home. Indiana should be much better this year so that game isn’t a easy W like it may seem. Illinois will be a fun game as always, and Wisconsin could be a good chance to set up a 4 game win-streak.
A tough patch then comes up when they’ll have to travel to Purdue and then play at Ohio State, however both teams (OSU and Purdue) will be reloading with some new players so there is a slight chance these games wont look as daunting as they may have last season.
Then things could get interesting Minny and MSU both come to the BJC at the midpoint of the season in what could be two pivotal games for the Nittany Lions. Wins in these two games means keeping the race in the Big Ten open, and gives the Lions a big boost when its needed most.
Northwestern is up next, and even though the Lions usually have the Cats number, this isn’t a game to overlook. As we are all aware of, anybody can beat anybody in the Big Ten, so never overlook a game. After that its a trip out to Michigan in another important game and another chance for a big road win. Win this game, and you can feel pretty good about closing out the rest of the season well.
Ohio State and Northwestern make the trip into town in a series that at worst is a 1-1 split. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Lions get their first win over OSU in what seems like forever. After that, its back out to Michigan to play MSU, depending on how this season has gone for these teams it could be a pretty important game. The nice part about playing @ MSU so late is that by the time the game comes around, you’ll know what to expect. The Lions are howeve 2-2 against the Spartans over the past two years so its always a good game. They’re also 11-3 in what the NCAA considers “close games”. Purdue comes to Happy Valley in what figures to be a crowd much larger than the last time these two teams played at the BJC. Even if the Lions post season is more or less known by this point, it could be a fun chance to mess with the Boilermakers seeding in the Big Ten Tournament.
At a first glance this years schedule looks easier to make it through than last years did. Big road tests come later in the season and there are nice patches of home stands to keep your footing on in a really tough conference. The Lions at worst lose 3 OOC games and are 9-3. Add a Big Ten season on that and say at worst that the Lions only win 9 games (all at home) that brings the total to 18-13. Chances are that without a deep run in the Big Ten Tournament the Lions wont be going dancing, but win a few on the road and you could be looking at a 21-10 regular season. Its too early to tell what that gets you in regards to the post season, but with a much better OOC, I like our chances.
**The Lions will be playing in 24 nationally televised games, including 5 games on ESPN/ESPN 2**
**Worth noting, stats from last year**
Games by Day of Week
Games by Time of Day (Eastern Time)