The Big Ten announced its complete men’s basketball conference schedule for the upcoming 2017-18 season this afternoon. For your perusal, here is Northwestern’s:
Last Season: First NCAA Tournament appearance.— Northwestern On BTN (@NUOnBTN) August 16, 2017
Will the 'Cats dance again? @NUMensBball 2017-18 conference schedule ⬇️. pic.twitter.com/fT4QgkhkXr
Some early thoughts:
- First of all, look at those weird early dates! After traveling to take on Georgia Tech to end November (here’s the non-conference schedule if you need a refresher), the Wildcats will open Big Ten play with two games in three days. That home conference opener vs. Illinois should be fun as Northwestern tries to end a two-game losing streak against the Illini. Then, after taking on Purdue on the road, the Wildcats have six more non-con games in December until Big Ten play starts up again in 2018. That’s new this year, and I’m not sure if I like it. Ending the regular season before March is the result of those changes.
- The second half definitely appears to be tougher than the first. Six of NU’s final nine games are against Michigan, Wisconsin, and Maryland. Those were all NCAA Tournament teams in 2017. They’ll look different this year (Derrick Walton Jr., DJ Wilson, Nigel Hayes, Bronson Koenig, Zak Showalter, Melo Trimble, and Damonte Dodd, among others, are gone) but they’ll still be talented teams likely in the top half of the conference. Throw in a date with the Big Ten’s preseason favorite, MSU, and a road game against Iowa, and February is looking tough (and fun).
- Anything less than six wins in the first nine will be a disappointment. In the first half of the conference schedule, Northwestern gets Illinois, Nebraska, Penn State, and Ohio State at home. Those should all be wins. There are some tough road games (Purdue, Indiana, Minnesota), but when we reach the halfway point, 6-3 should be the minimum expectation.
- BEST GAMES: 12/3 @ Purdue, 1/10 vs. Minnesota, 1/29 @ Michigan, 2/10 @ Maryland, 2/17 vs. MSU
- Toughest three-game stretch: 1/23-2/1 — @ Minnesota, @ Michigan, @ Wisconsin
- The Cats close the season with three out of four at home. Let’s get Allstate rocking.
What’s your initial reaction when going through the schedule game by game? How many #B1G wins will Northwestern pick up this winter?
How many Big Ten games will Northwestern win in 2017-18?
This poll is closed
7 or fewer
15 or more