As we are a little less than two months away from college basketball, Purdue women’s basketball has its conference schedule set for the upcoming year.
In year two of the Katie Gearlds era, the Boilermakers will look to build on a promising season in 2021-22 that saw them secure a winning record after the disastrous 2020 season.
Here is how the schedule is set up:
Home and away opponents: Indiana, Michigan State, Penn State, Minnesota, Northwestern
Away only opponents: Rutgers, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio State
Home only opponents: Michigan, Maryland, Wisconsin, Nebraska
Off the bat, you see the normal Indiana two-game set in Mackey and Assembly Hall. This will be a key barometer for where this team will be come March. Purdue has been on a severe losing streak to the Hoosiers, who are set to be among the Big Ten’s best in 2022.
Following Indiana, Purdue will play Michigan State, Penn State, Minnesota, and Northwestern twice as well. Michigan State has been a pain in the side of the Boilermakers in recent years but has also been a form of great wins as well. Getting Penn State, Minnesota and Northwestern twice is a good sign on paper. None of them figure to be competing for a Big Ten Championship but could surprise some people.
For the road-only opponents, Purdue got another gift from the Big Ten. They will travel to Rutgers, Illinois, Iowa, and Ohio State this season. Purdue, much like the rest of the Big Ten, has bullied Illinois over the last few years. Ohio State will be a very tough game as per usual. Iowa is also a threat to make a deep run this year with Caitlin Clark leading the charge and Rutgers is a game that could go either way.
Now, for the opponents solely coming to Mackey Arena. Luckily or unluckily for the Boilermakers, Michigan and Maryland will be traveling to West Lafayette in two of the most high-profile matchups of the year. Both teams are slated to have great seasons as they did last year as well. Wisconsin had Purdue’s number last season but has not been having much success recently, so this is a great chance for the Boilermakers to change their fortunes. Finally, Nebraska is the final opponent and should be in a similar situation to Rutgers.
On the surface, Purdue got a pretty favorable draw for their Big Ten slate in 2022-23. Seeing the likes of Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, and Ohio State just once allows for them to make up ground against the lower half of the league should they struggle against the top. Purdue figures to be around the middle of the pack this year but has the potential to creep up into the top five or six if things fall their way.