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Purdue gets a home friendly start to its Big Ten basketball season, which could be a big deal for the youthful Boilers (five newcomers will combine with five veterans).
They host Minnesota in the Dec. 31 conference opener, then host Michigan on Jan. 3 and Big Ten newcomer Maryland on Jan. 10. However, they have a tough Big Ten road debut at Wisconsin on Jan. 7. The Badgers are coming off their first Final Four run under coach Bo Ryan.
The Big Ten announced its conference schedule on Thursday night.
Purdue and Minnesota split a pair of games last season, with the Boilers winning in triple overtime at Mackey Arena. They have beaten the Gophers' 99 times, second most in school history behind the 113 wins over Indiana.
The Boilers have never played Maryland before.
The Boilers' single-play Big Ten opponents are Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State and Wisconsin. They will have home-and-home series with Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio State and Rutgers.
The games against the Hoosiers are Jan 28 at Mackey Arena and Feb. 19 at Assembly Hall.
The Big Ten Tournament is set for Chicago's United Center. The addition of Maryland and Rutgers has caused league officials to change the format. The tourney used to run Thursday through Sunday. Now, first-round games featuring the No. 11-12-13-14 seeds will run on a Wednesday. The two winners will advance to Thursday along with the teams seeded No. 5 thround No. 10. The top-four teams won't play until Friday.
Purdue seeks a strong turnaround after finishing last in the Big Ten last season. Former Fort Wayne standouts Rapheal Davis (South Side) and Bryson Scott (Northrop) are among five returning veteran players.