IU’s baseball schedule includes NCAA Tournament flavor

Stumbles early and late, along with an imperfect schedule, kept Indiana from making a fourth-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance this past spring.

The 2017 season may give the Hoosiers a few more opportunities to climb the RPI.

IU on Thursday released next season’s schedule, which includes 19 games against NCAA Tournament teams, 28 games against teams in the top 75 of the RPI and Big Ten home series against Nebraska, Minnesota, Maryland and Penn State.

“We are very excited about this upcoming year’s schedule,” IU coach Chris Lemonis said in a statement. “It is very challenging with 19 games against NCAA Tournament opponents from the year before. We take a lot of pride in putting together a strong schedule to challenge our club. We will have the opportunity to travel the country this year. It will be a fun schedule but a very challenging schedule for our guys.”

Indiana will open the year with 12 consecutive road games before starting the home slate with a three-game series against Middle Tennessee beginning on March 10. The first road trip of the year is to Surprise, Ariz., where IU will face a pair of 2016 NCAA Tournament participants in Gonzaga and Duke beginning Feb. 17. The Hoosiers will close their stay in Arizona with a game against Oregon State.

From there, the Hoosiers will travel to Florida Atlantic, another NCAA Tournament team, for a three-game set Feb. 24 to 26. Indiana will also spend spring break in Honolulu with a four-game series at Hawaii March 15 to 18.

The Hoosiers will return to Victory Field in Indianapolis this season, where they’ll face Ball State on April 25. A non-conference home series against NCAA Tournament participant Xavier looms large May 5 to 7, as do games at Kentucky (May 9) and at home against Louisville (May 16)

IU will also face each of the Big Ten’s three NCAA Tournament teams from last season, hosting the Cornhuskers and Gophers, while traveling to Ohio State. Lemonis’ team will have additional road trips to Northwestern, Purdue and Michigan.

The Hoosiers went 32-24 last season, and took the No. 3 seed into the conference tournament with a 15-9 Big Ten record. A weak conference landscape did no favors for IU, which closed the year at No. 104 in the NCAA’s RPI listing. The Hoosiers hurt their case for an at-large bid to the tournament by stumbling out of the gate and losing six of their final seven games, including a pair of Big Ten tournament losses to Maryland.

Indiana’s full schedule can be found below:

Feb. 17, vs. Gonzaga (at Surprise, Ariz.), 7 p.m.
Feb. 18, vs. Duke (at Surprise, Ariz.), 8 p.m.
Feb. 19, vs. Gonzaga (at Surprise, Ariz.), 3:30 p.m.
Feb. 20, vs. Oregon State (at Surprise, Ariz.), 1 p.m.
Feb. 24, at Florida Atlantic, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 25, at Florida Atlantic, 4 p.m.
Feb. 26, at Florida Atlantic, 12 p.m.
March 1, at Cincinnati, 6 p.m.
March 3, at Samford, 5 p.m.
March 4, at Samford, 3 p.m.
March 5, at Samford, 2 p.m.
March 7, at Evansville, 7 p.m.
March 10, vs. Middle Tennessee, 6:05 p.m.
March 11, vs. Middle Tennessee, 2:05 p.m.
March 12, vs. Middle Tennessee, 1:05 p.m.
March 15, at Hawaii, 6:35 p.m. HT
March 16, at Hawaii, 6:35 p.m. HT
March 17, at Hawaii, 6:35 p.m. HT
March 18, at Hawaii, 1:05 p.m. HT
March 22, vs. Cincinnati, 6:05 p.m.
March 24, at Northwestern, 4:30 p.m.
March 25, at Northwestern, 3 p.m.
March 26, at Northwestern, 2 p.m.
March 28 vs. Evansville, 6:05 p.m.
March 29, vs. Indiana State, 6:05 p.m.
March 31, vs. Nebraska, 6:05 p.m.
April 1, vs. Nebraska, 2:05 p.m.
April 2, vs. Nebraska, 1:05 p.m.
April 4, vs. Ball State, 6:05 p.m.
April 7, at Purdue, 6 p.m.
April 8, at Purdue, 1 p.m.
April 9, at Purdue, 1 p.m.
April 11, at Indiana State, 6 p.m.
April 14, vs. Minnesota, 6:05 p.m.
April 15, vs. Minnesota, 2:05 p.m.
April 16, vs. Minnesota, 1:05 p.m.
April 19, vs. Butler, 7 p.m.
April 21, at Michigan, 6 p.m.
April 22, at Michigan, 2 p.m.
April 23, at Michigan, 1 p.m.
April 25, vs. Ball State (at Victory Field), 7 p.m.
April 28, vs. Maryland, 6:05 p.m.
April 29, vs. Maryland, 2:05 p.m.
April 30, vs. Maryland, 1:05 p.m.
May 5, vs. Xavier, 6:05 p.m.
May 6, vs. Xavier, 2:05 p.m.
May 7, vs. Xavier, 1:05 p.m.
May 9, at Kentucky, 7:30 p.m.
May 12, vs. Penn State, 6:05 p.m.
May 13, vs. Penn State, 2:05 p.m.
May 14, vs. Penn State, 1:05 p.m.
May 16, vs. Louisville, 6:05 p.m.
May 18, at Ohio State, 6:35 p.m.
May 19, at Ohio State, 6:35 p.m.
May 20, at Ohio State, 3:05 p.m.