Big Ten announces new scheduling format; protects IU-Purdue rivalry

NEW YORK — The Big Ten is finally protecting the Indiana-Purdue rivalry.

By moving to a 20-game conference schedule beginning with the 2018-19 season, the league has ensured that its three in-state rivals — IU and Purdue, Illinois and Northwestern, and Michigan and Michigan State — will play twice a season, the Big Ten announced Thursday at its annual media day event at Madison Square Garden.

It’s a long-awaited move from the conference, which has discussed for years both the shift to an expanded league slate in addition to guaranteeing home-and-home series between its local rivals.

Hoosier and Boilermaker representatives have eagerly anticipated that this day would come, establishing rare common ground between the two rivals.

“(Fans) just want to see Indiana and Purdue play at least twice a year and hopefully connect in the Big Ten Tournament,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “I think Purdue people share the same thoughts about that as Indiana people do. We finally found something we agreed upon.”

With Archie Miller entering his first season as IU coach, Painter pulled him aside at the league’s annual meetings to discuss the importance of the rivalry. Miller, who has also said he’s also in favor of beefing up Indiana’s non-conference schedule where possible, is similarly enthused about getting the home/home series cemented on the schedule.

“It’s a great thing for the Big Ten,” Miller said. “It’s a great thing for college basketball when you have two programs that have obviously had great traditions.

“Matt is as well regarded in college basketball as any college basketball coach, and to get started to be on the forefront a couple times a year is unbelievable for the state, but it’s great for college basketball and in particular it puts the Big Ten in a good light.”

Indiana will host the lone meeting with Purdue this season on Jan. 28 at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

The Hoosiers also hosted the lone meeting with the Boilermakers during the 2015-16 season, and traveled to West Lafayette for the only meeting with the Boilers during the 2013-14 season.

By expanding to 20 conference games, the Big Ten aims to boost the profile of the conference, both in terms of television interest and strength of schedule come the NCAA Tournament.

“We think in general, people respond more to the conference game than the non-conference,” Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said.

Under the new scheduling format, teams will play seven opponents twice and six teams once (three home, three away) each season. The schedule will also include a regional philosophy emphasizing matchups between teams in similar geographic areas.

During the new six-year cycle, in-state rivals will play each other 12 times, regional opponents will play 10 times and all other teams will play nine times.

The Big Ten is also adjusting its women’s scheduling format, increasing the amount of league contests from 16 to 18 games.

The new women’s schedule will allow teams to play five opponents twice and eight teams once each year. It will also emphasize in-state rivalries and games between regional opponents.


  1. Scheduling has become a major factor in who wins the big ten. The last few years every team plays 4 teams once I think. Even if a team isn’t the best in the conference they can still have a great shot at winning it if they get the best schedule. It takes a lot away from defining a true champion.

  2. Another example of an entity creating problems and then a lesson plan of solutions to solve them when before their involvement there was no problem in the first place.

    No problem followed by creation of problem followed by much debate followed by solutions followed by see what we are going to do or have done followed by look at us followed by see how good we are followed by see how much we are needed.

  3. Photo above…? Is that Harry Belafonte subbing in for Purdue?

    I could really care less about playing Purdue twice. It’s overblown hype and an overblown rivalry. I want more non-conference games that bring intriguing match-ups and traditions to the table. How about a Gonzaga? …a UCLA?….an NC State….? Maybe a Harvard?…or a Northteastern?…..a UNLV?…a Villanova? …a Marquette?
    And what else is being deflected with all this talk of restoring a Purdue rivalry? Where is our guts? Where is our glory? Where are the demands for bringing back the storied border rivalry with UK? Archie caught a break. Timing is everything. No UK on the schedule and, for all intents and purposes, no Louisville of old on the schedule. Louisville has been gutted and busted into a 1000 pieces. One of the best coaches in the game( a coach who stresses a ferocious brand of defense) has been targeted as college basketball’s greatest villain.
    ACC Challenges and Crossroads Classics are even getting boring. I just assume see the usual ACC teams in the Big Dance. I don’t need to see them twice.
    We need higher quality non-conference opponents that span across varieties of styles and fan bases…We need to venture into parts of the country that rarely get to see the Indiana Hoosiers…And Indiana Hoosier fans need variety as well.

    Bottom Line: The candy stripes should tour like the Harlem Globetrotters. The stripes are the best brand in all of college basketball. Though far removed from the Knight years, the brand never fades….It only needs restored. Pigeonholing us into ACC challenges and playing every hick program from the state does nothing for the brand.

  4. Scheduling for the B1G is easy. Use 2 Divisions for both football and basketball. Move NW East and MSU West. For football play each school in your division once (6). Play 3 games versus the other division. Have one game be against your protected rival (Purdue). Have the East #1 (from last season) play the West # 1,2,3; the East #7 play the West # 7,6,5; etc. in basketball play every school in your division home and away (12 games); play your protected rival from the other division home and away (2). Play the other 6 from the other division (6). Of course everyone has 10 home and 10 away games. That is as fair as you can make it.

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