The schedule is nowhere near released in it's fullest but we continue to learn more and more about the upcoming Gopher basketball schedule is far from complete but there are plenty of games that we are aware of.
We know 4 of the 12 non-conference games and these four are all against teams from another major conference. I would expect that the majority of the other 8 games will be against regional and low-major opponents to accumulate some wins and work on things as they get ready for the conference portion of the schedule. But here are four known games against other P5 conference teams.
- St. Johns - Nov 18 - home - Gophers get the Red Storm in their first Gavitt Tipoff appearance. The Red Storm were probably one of the few teams in college basketball worse than the Gophers last season. They were a pretty balanced scoring team and graduate their top scorer.
- Florida State - Nov 28 - Tallahassee, FL - the opponent (AGAIN) for the B1G/ACC Challenge. FSU last year was a 20-win team and their top three scorers were 2 freshmen and a sophomore. This should be a talented team looking to earn an NCAA Tournament bid. An away game against a good team.
- Vanderbilt - Dec 3rd - Sioux Falls - another trip to the Pentagon in Sioux Falls, this time to face the Commodores. Vandy is coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance as a 6-seed (where they lost by 20 to Wichita State). They return their top several scorers and should also be a good team under new head coach, Scott Drew.
- Arkansas - TBD - home - nothing has been announced officially but it was reported that there is an agreement in place for a home-and-home series with the Razorbacks. They have a 6-man recruiting class coming in and return their top scorer (though lose their 2nd and 3rd returning scorers). They finished .500 in the SEC last year
Big Ten Schedule
That actually looks like a brutal Big Ten schedule. Pretty early to determine just how tough but on the surface that does not look very enticing.
I do not mind how our schedule plays out with the teams we play just once. Road games at Rutgers, Illinois and Northwestern are relatively winnable (with the obvious caveat that we are not exactly a top 1/3 caliber team). And games against Indiana, Michigan and Iowa are ones I'd rather have at home than on the road. Of the 8 single opponents I see 2 games you can chalk up as likely wins (Neb and @Rutgers). But I'm not going to get ahead of myself here, we have a long way to go before we can count on ANY B1G game as a win.
What I really don't like is that our home-and-home games shakeout. Michigan State and Wisconsin are probably the clear-cut favorites to win the Big Ten and Maryland will be in that mix with a strong recruiting class and the return of Melo Trimble. That's potentially 6 games (1/3 of the schedule) against 3 of the top 4 teams in the league.
It is a rough B1G schedule for the Gophers who could use a little love from conference schedulemakers, but it is what is. The B1G is never going to be easy. While some combinations of games could be easier than others, it doesn't really matter. This program has some steps to take before worrying about their difficulty of conference schedule.
The full schedule is typically released much later in the Summer or even early Fall.