As Indiana sits 15-11 overall and 5-8 in Big Ten play heading into tonight's game at Wisconsin, a lot has been made this season about whether or not IU's non-conference schedule properly prepared the Hoosiers for the rigors of conference play.
Let's take a quick look back at the teams that Indiana faced in the non-conference portion of the schedule and how they have fared to this point in the season.
It's kind of a good, bad and ugly scenario.
Let's begin with the teams that have fared well.
Of course, the conversation always begins with Syracuse. The Orange have dropped two of their last three but are still 26-2 overall and 13-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Indiana hung around for a while in the first half against Syracuse before dropping a 69-52 decision in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
The next best record? That would be Connecticut. The Hoosiers gave the Huskies all they could handle before dropping a 59-58 decision to UConn in the 2K Sports Classic title game in Madison Square Garden. Connecticut is 21-6 overall and 9-5 in the American Conference.
Any other 20-game winners? There is one: Stony Brook. The Hoosiers beat Stony Brook 90-74 but since then that team has been solid in the American East Conference. Stony Brook is 20-8 overall and 12-2 conference but in second place, one-game behind Vermont.
So that's the good.
Anyone else even over .500? There are four teams right in that vicinity.
Washington, a team that IU beat 102-84, is 15-13 overall and 7-8 in the Pac-12 Conference. The Huskies are eighth in the Pac-12. Notre Dame is an even 14-14 overall and 5-10 in conference and Nicholls State is 11-12 overall and 8-6 in the Southland. North Florida is 14-15 and 8-8 in the Atlantic Sun.
Everyone else is sub-.500.
Chicago State is 11-16 overall and 6-6 in the WAC. LIU Brooklyn is 8-18 overall and 3-10 in the Northeast Conference. That ranks it ninth out of 10 teams. Samford is 11-18 overall and 5-9 in conference, Evansville is 11-18 and 4-12 in the MVC, and Oakland is also 11-18 overall and 6-8 in the Horizon.
The ugly is reserved for Kennesaw State, a team that IU beat 90-66 in its final tuneup for Big Ten play. Kennesaw State is 6-23 and 3-13 in the Atlantic Sun.
The analysis: Indiana could clearly have used an higher level opponent or two to get the Hoosiers ready for Big Ten play.
Perhaps the schedule will be better next season. IU will play Louisville in a non-conference game next year and will have a home game against a good opponent in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Hoosiers will face Butler in the Crossroads Classic. There is also talk of an exempt event where the Hoosiers will play three games on campus and then face a high-level foe in the final game at Assembly Hall. Stay tuned.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch