IU-Indy announces coaching staff AND non-conference Schedule… How will this affect the Horizon League?

IU Indy guard Vincent Brady II going for the basket on March 2, 2024 against Cleveland State forward Jayson Woodrich. Photo by Frank Jansky, courtesy of IU Indianapolis athletics.

When you have other commitments, you sometimes come off like snail mail when discussing a program’s changes, such as Paul Corsaro’s staff choices, but when the team announces the schedule, I don’t want to make that same mistake twice.

I’m going to start with Corsaro rounding up his bench mentors and assistants and determine how they will guide his fresh batch of players on this upcoming season in the Horizon League, as this will most definitely be a challenge, even in the bottom of the league. And when you are facing such daunting odds, oftentimes its best to bring your friends; such as the case Corsaro has done with fellow UIndy assistants Mike Burris and Reese McGinsie.

Burris himself was no slouch in the lower ranks of coaching, as he guided Olney Central College to 252 victories in the NJCAA Division I class before being brought onto UIndy by Corsaro, while McGinsie is a relatively fresh face, serving as a graduate assistant with the Greyhounds, and now is IU-Indy’s director of basketball operations.

However, rather than just grabbing from lower levels and hoping they’ll rise to the challenge, Corsaro has also shown a willingness to fight for talent in Division I, bringing in one of former Horizon member UIC’s assistant coaches and Indianapolis native Tony Wills, who is going to be in his third season as an assistant. And returning to the school is Keith Oddo, who will provide assistance to Corsaro.

What do I think of all this?

To be fair, while the hirings of Burris and McGinsie scream “cronyism” from an outsider’s point of view, I totally get why Corsaro would invite them. They were a large part as to why they were able to maintain the consistency of UIndy’s success over the past couple of seasons, and with what would have been UIndy’s 2024-25 starting lineup in tow, that should give the team a shot of energy the program has so lacked for years.

Meanwhile, in a super-rare form for the program, which often waits until the very last minute after most schools have formally announced their schedules, leaving us to piecemeal their non-conference schedule; IU Indianapolis had gone ahead and provided us with their antics away from the Horizon League months ahead of usual. Whether this is Corsaro wanting to give the players ample time to get to know their enemy or accepting that buy games weren’t on the menu this year besides Iowa State, the schedule follows the typical Jaguars formula of going for the weakest of weaksauce opponents.

There’s the season opener against IU-Columbus, who have also ditched the Purdue side of the school, in what will likely be the last major sporting event at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum until the Horizon League Tournament as the Indy Fuel finally moved out to Fishers and IU-Indy decided to move back to the Jungle, where they’ll only have three home encounters, with all of them being NAIA schools.

That said, if you’re a Horizon League fan (or someone who, I dunno, runs a Horizon League blog… hint hint), this repeat emphasis on scheduling NAIA schools, SWAC/MEAC schools (Alabama A&M and South Carolina State), and schools in transition (Lindenwood) is why IU-Indianapolis is always stuck in the mid 300s in the NET Rankings, and is why the conference is almost always torpedoed come Selection Sunday.

I’m not saying the school must pick tough opponents for the greater good, because when you always suck, you’re going to deliberately try and choose easy challengers for the sake of easing your players into the conference portion of your schedule. Even when IU-Indy does pick the tough schools, it’s clearly for the sake of “buy” games or at least obligations, as there’s no way the Jaguars will be remotely competitive against the likes of Xavier or Iowa State, who aren’t even the best teams in their own respective conferences.

Point being that, despite the coaching staff and recruitment being favorable to the new coach, the scheduling format remains the same, so don’t be surprised if IU-Indianapolis limps into conference play with the only source of their wins being the result of epic tussles against the mighty Goshen and Trinity Christian. I don’t want to be a Donny Downer, but years of disappointment have tempered me with expecting the worst. At least beat Eastern Michigan.

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