The 2014-15 ended not that long ago, but we're already anxiously looking towards the 2015-16 men's basketball season where the Boilermakers will possibly be a top 25 team for the first time in far too long.
While the full schedule is still several weeks and months away, we already know some of the dates. Purdue will very likely have a road game in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in early December. Purdue has been at home for thereof the last four and two in a row, so it very likely is headed on the road. I would guess it is headed to somewhere like Miami, as both teams return a similar amount of talent and experience.
We also know Purdue will play Butler in the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 19. That event should be excellent as all four teams could be in the top 20 at tipoff and all four were in the NCAA Tournament this past season.
Finally, we know that Purdue has a TBD date in Mackey Arena against Vanderbilt after going to Nashville this past season. This accounts for three of the likely 13 non-conference games, and today we learned of four more.
The Hall of Fame Classic is an "exempt" event that gives us four games for the price of one. We automatically will play in the semifinals in Uncasville, CT along with Old Dominion, St. Joseph's, and Florida. The other two games that count as part of the event will be in Mackey Arena.
Purdue will open the event, and the season, on November 13 against North Carolina A&T from the MEAC. It is the first meeting against them, and after they were 9-23 this past season it should be a very easy win.
The second game will be two days later on November 15 when Vermont comes to West Lafayette. It is also the first time that Purdue will meet them, and it is a dangerous game. Vermont was 20-14, is a perennial contender in the America East Conference, and they return nine of their top 10 scorers this season. We cannot overlook an experienced team like this, especially early on.
Once in Springfield Purdue will play Old Dominion, a team that was a No. 1 seed in the NIT this year and just missed the NCAA Tournament. That game will take place on November 21 at the Mohegan Sun Casino (where my own cousin happens to work!). Purdue will face St. Joseph's or Florida in the second game of the four team event in Uncasville.
This announcement leaves roughly six non-conference games left to be played. With a most likely road game in the ACC/B1G Challenge we already know we have a major conference road game, a major conference home game in Vandy, the Butler game, and two good games in the Hall of Fame Classic. Since it is unlikely we're getting invited to another neutral site showcase event we can likely expect six home games against mid- to low-majors. Some teams I would like to play:
Evansville - Led by senior-to-be D.J. Balentine the Aces won the small-conference-only CIT and had a regular season win over Northern Iowa. They should be a solid, experienced in-state team we can bring in for a good challenge.
Missouri State - Come on home, Paul Lusk
Houston - Welcome to your worst nightmare, Ronnie Johnson.
at IUPUI - Why not give the Hoosiermakers a 2-for-1? They came to WL this past year and they can come again in 2016-17, but why not play them at their new home in Indy: The Fairgrounds Coliseum.
Appalachian State - A belated Senior Day for Jacob Lawson.
Green Bay - Bring back Linc Darner and a good Green Bay team that just missed the NCAAs.