The time for redemption begins on November 11. That is when the 2016-17 men's basketball season starts as Purdue looks to rebound from consecutive agonizing NCAA Tournament defeats. This morning Purdue released its full non-conference schedule and it is a good one as expected:
November 11: McNeese State
November 14: Villanova (Gavitt Tipoff Games)
November 18: Georgia State (Cancun Challenge at Mackey Arena)
November 22: Cancun Challenge vs. Utah State
November 23: Cancun Challenge vs. Auburn or Texas Tech
November 26: NJIT (Cancun Challenge at Mackey Arena)
November 30: at Louisville (ACC/Big Ten Challenge)
December 3: Morehead State
December 6: vs. Arizona State at Madison Square Garden (Jimmy V. Classic)
December 10: Cleveland State
December 17: vs. Notre Dame at Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Crossroads Classic)
December 19: Western Illinois
December 21: Norfolk State
Overall, I really like this slate. Georgia State is coached by former IUPUI coach Ron Hunter and he had them in the NCAAs two years ago when his son was playing for him. Cleveland State is regularly a strong team in the Horizon league, and Morehead State is a very good low major team in the Ohio Valley conference. NJIT and Morehead State both made deep runs in their respective postseason tournaments last year.
Of course, there is plenty of heft here too. I know there are people that won't be happy unless Purdue plays the entire preseason top 13 all in true road games because only then will the schedule be tough enough, but this is a very good slate. We have the defending national champs coming to Mackey, a very hard true road game at Louisville, and four neutral site games against NCAA caliber teams. Aside from that, EVERYONE IN AMERICA plays cupcakes, so we shouldn't be disappointed in who else is on here. Even our cupcakes are relatively strong (there is no Grambling to be found here).The weakest team is likely Western Illinois and they still took out Wisconsin at Wisconsin last season.
Only 140 days to go.