JF

Today the Big Ten announced the “one game” match-ups for the 2009-2010 basketball season. Due to 11 Big Ten teams and 18 conference games, there are always two teams that each Big Ten teams plays only once.

This upcoming season, Purdue and Iowa face the Gophers twice. For the next two years, Wisconsin and Illinois drop off the schedule, with the former playing at The Barn and the latter on the road. The complete list:

Ohio State at Michigan State
Northwestern at Ohio State
Illinois at Michigan
Minnesota at Illinois
Indiana at Penn State
Michigan State at Indiana
Iowa at Wisconsin
Penn State at Iowa
Michigan at Purdue
Purdue at Northwestern
Wisconsin at Minnesota

So is this good for the Gophers? It depends on what kind of season you think they will have. If you assume that they are beyond the bubble and will be in the running for a #7 or better seed in the NCAA tournament, this might hurt their chances. They miss out on two games again two top 50 RPI teams. If you are mor concerned about a Big Ten title, this is pretty good, considering they won’ be missing out on any of the conference cellar dwellers. If you fear another March spent squarely on the bubble, these two “missing” games may not matter. The tough non-conference schedule and the generally loaded Big Ten schedule should give the Gophers plenty of opportunities for quality win.

The only real downside is that the Gophers will only be able to beat Wisconsin once this year, and next year the Badgers won’t set foot in The Barn at all. Why the Big Ten can’t guarantee that rivalries will stay in tact is beyond me. However, there is still time for the Gophers and Badger to schedule a non-conference game between the two teams, say, right before the Big Ten season begins. This is only a humble suggestion, but they really should get to work.