Since the Big Ten Basketball Conference released its schedule around mid-May, teams have also begun to release their non-conference schedule as well. plus neutral site showcases and special events are being made official. Without ignoring how exciting the State Farm Champions Classic and the Phil Knight Invitational will be in November, all games are reduced to being a stat on a resume if a team cannot be successful during conference play.
Once the Big Ten schedule was released it was of particular interest because each team will be playing twenty conference games, with the Big Ten consisting of fourteen teams, the math indicates that not every team plays each other an equal amount of times. A by-product of fourteen teams playing twenty games is an unbalanced schedule and with an unbalanced schedule comes schedules that are more favorable than others.
Within the Big Ten, there are teams that are projected to have a more successful season than others and with that, is how ‘winners and losers’ emerge from an unbalanced schedule. Not only is it who you play, or how many times you play them that determines the difficulty of their schedule, but where you play your opponent.
Over fifty percent of Big Ten games were won by the home team during the 2020-21 season. Minnesota’s six conference wins came at home, all versus teams that were ranked at the time, all this with no fans in the arena Whether it be the travel time, the home cooking, or having their buddies in the stands this season, there will be an advantage playing at home, thus influencing the schedule.
This article will make no claims or predictions on win totals or final standings but provides a look at the difficulty of each team’s schedule and how it could affect their win-loss totals.