The Big Ten made a surprise announcement today in announcing the home-and-home selections as well as the single plays for the 2014-15 Big Ten basketball season. For once, they got it right. It is not hard to protect the biggest rivalries in the Big Ten and make sure the teams play twice. The significant basketball rivalries are Indiana-Purdue, Michigan-Michigan State, Wisconsin-Minnesota, and everything else is secondary. Make sure those teams play twice every year and you're fine.
The addition of Rutgers and Maryland make it slightly harder, but not that hard. For Purdue, they got it right too. During the 2014-15 basketball season Purdue will face Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio State, and Rutgers both in West Lafayette and on the road. The Big Ten got it right by making sure the top basketball rivalry in the conference is played twice and we get the added gift of two automatic wins against Rutgers, which somehow has a basketball program worse than Northwestern at the moment.
Those represent 10 of the 18 games on the Big Ten schedule. Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, and Nebraska will come to Mackey Arena for single games, while Purdue will go to Michigan State, Penn State, Northwestern, and Wisconsin. The single plays are a gift, as it is never awful to play at Northwestern and Penn State (and yes, I know we lost both places this year, but we should always be able to win there), while Purdue is one of the few teams that has historically played well in Madison.
Going forward, it should not be that difficult for the Big Ten to protect the top rivalries. Indiana-Purdue is the best in the conference and should be played twice every season. Aside from that, I could care less who we play twice.
As for the rest of the schedule, we know Purdue is playing in the Maui Invitational with Chaminade, Arizona, BYU, Pittsburgh, Kansas State, Missouri, and San Diego State. There will also be one more game with a opening or regional opponent which will be at Mackey against one of four teams to be announced later.
Purdue also has a likely road game in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, and judging by the current ACC and Big Ten standings I am betting it would be against Florida State, Wake Forest, or Miami. That is just a guess, however. As for the rest of the schedule, it is a mystery, but expect it to be a nice mix of Directional States with the possibility of a new home-and-home against a major conference opponent now that the four-game West Virginia series is over.