Big Ten Basketball News and Notes: Purdue Schedule, NU Staff Promotion

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The Purdue Boilermakers will open the college basketball season on Nov. 11 when they host Northern Illinois in the first of two rededication games in conjunction with Mackey Celebration Weekend. The game will mark the official celebration of the three-year, $99.5 million renovation that represents the most comprehensive and significant facility undertaking in the University’s athletics history.

After hosting High Point on Nov. 14, the Boilermakers will travel to San Juan for their first-ever appearance in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

The field for the 2011 edition of the tournament consists of Alabama, Colorado, Iona, Maryland, Temple, Western Michigan and Wichita State, in addition to the Boilermakers. That group combined for a .687 winning percentage last season, while Purdue and Temple reached the NCAA Tournament, Wichita State defeated Alabama for the NIT title and Colorado reached the NIT semifinals.

Purdue will host Coppin State on Nov. 26 before welcoming Miami in the 13th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Nov. 29. The hosting assignment is the Boilers’ third Challenge home game in the last four years, and Purdue will look to pick up its third-straight Challenge win with a defeat of the Hurricanes.

The Boilermakers will visit five-time defending Atlantic 10 champion Xavier on Dec. 3 in the 14th all-time meeting between the teams. Purdue leads the overall series by a 9-4 count, and is 4-1 all-time on Xavier’s home floor. The teams last met in the round of 32 of the 2008 NCAA Tournament, when XU dealt the Boilers an 85-78 loss in Washington, D.C.

The Old Gold & Black will follow its trip to Cincinnati with home games against Western Carolina and Eastern Michigan on Dec. 7 and Dec. 10, respectively.

On Dec. 17, Purdue will meet NCAA runner-up Butler Bulldogs in the inaugural Crossroads Classic at Conseco Fieldhouse, with Indiana and Notre Dame set to square off in the other half of the doubleheader event. A coming together of the four most-storied college basketball programs in the state of Indiana, the Crossroads Classic is slated for at least 2011 and 2012 per a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the four schools’ athletic directors in August 2010.

Purdue is 37-16 against Butler in a series that dates to 1901, including a 12-matchup winning streak that spanned more than three decades and came to an end in 2001. The teams will meet for the first time since 2006, when the Bulldogs claimed a 68-65 victory over Purdue in Indianapolis.

-Northwestern head men’s basketball coach Bill Carmody has announced the promotion of Tavaras Hardy to the position of associate head coach. The 2011-12 season marks Hardy’s sixth season on NU’s coaching staff.

“I am pleased to announce Tavaras’ promotion,” Carmody said. “He has a tremendous ability to relate to young men through his own personal experiences as a student-athlete here at Northwestern. His work ethic and commitment have been vital in getting this program on the right track. Tavaras has a great passion for Northwestern Basketball and will be an outstanding head coach in the near future.”

A 2002 graduate of Northwestern, Hardy was a four-year letterwinner, three-time team MVP and two-time All-Big Ten selection as a player for the Wildcats. As a member of the team’s staff, Hardy has proven to be an outstanding recruiter and has helped NU to postseason appearances each of the last three seasons.

-Senior Associate Athletics Director Terry Cole, a familiar face at the University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics for the past 32 years, and one who helped countless Fighting Illini student-athletes navigate toward academic success, has announced his retirement in August.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and Facebook

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