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Big Ten announces single-play opponents

Wisconsin plays Indiana, Northwestern, Michigan and Purdue just once

It looks like the Big Ten schedule-makers are doing their best to have Wisconsin meet those darn teams from Indiana as little as possible on the basketball court. And the conference must still be trying to manufacture some sort of rivalry with Penn State.

According to the matchups announced this afternoon by the Big Ten, Indiana and Northwestern will make appearances at the Kohl Center during the 2011-12 season, while the Badgers travel to Michigan and Purdue for their only meetings.

Even though I incorrectly predicted half of Wisconsin's single-play opponents earlier this month, I can appreciate swapping out Indiana to maintain two games with border rival Illinois. But taking a break from Penn State seemed like a no-brainer based on recent history. Two games against the depleted Nittany Lions next year can only hurt UW's strength of schedule.

After next season, both Michigan State and Penn State each will have played against Wisconsin more times (36) than any other conference opponent since the league started using single-plays in 1992-93. Meanwhile, Indiana and Purdue will bring up the rear with 31 games played against the Badgers.

Purdue and Illinois will probably wind up being of similar quality so I view that as a wash. And who knows, maybe Indiana's program will still be in the toilet a year from now, right next to Penn State. In a way it may help the strength of schedule to get the Wolverines and Boilermakers on the road, yet it stings season ticket holders to see the two lesser matchups among the single plays (Indiana and Nowrthwestern) occur in Madison.

Home: Indiana, Northwestern
Away: Michigan, Purdue

Home: Iowa, Michigan State
Away: Indiana, Penn State

Home: Illinois, Northwestern
Away: Nebraska, Wisconsin

Home: Michigan, Ohio State
Away: Illinois, Michigan State

Home: Minnesota, Wisconsin
Away: Iowa, Nebraska

Michigan State
Home: Iowa, Penn State
Away: Illinois, Northwestern

Home: Ohio State, Purdue
Away: Michigan, Penn State

Home: Indiana, Michigan
Away: Northwestern, Purdue

Home: Michigan State, Nebraska
Away: Indiana, Wisconsin

Ohio State
Home: Penn State, Purdue
Away: Iowa, Minnesota

Penn State
Home: Illinois, Minnesota
Away: Michigan State, Ohio State

Home: Nebraska, Wisconsin
Away: Minnesota, Ohio State