Aug. 26, 2010
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Big Ten Conference announced the 2010-11 men's basketball schedule on Thursday. Michigan State will face a slate that includes at least eight teams that played in the 2010 NCAA Tournament, including defending National Champion Duke. In total, 10 scheduled opponents played in the 2010 postseason, while potential opponents in the Maui Invitational include two NCAA and two NIT squads. Highlights of the non-conference schedule include the 2010 Maui Invitational, and December contests against Duke on the road, Syracuse in New York's Madison Square Garden and Texas and South Carolina in Breslin Center.
Coming off the heels of a strong Big Ten season, the conference looks to be even better in 2010-11. The Spartans will face four opponents that played in the 2010 NCAA Tournament and two that played in the NIT. Ohio State and Purdue join Michigan State as consensus preseason top-10 selections, while Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Northwestern have made an appearance in various preseason polls.
"I believe this will be one of our most-challenging schedules ever," said Izzo. "When you look at the out-of-conference games with teams like Duke, Syracuse, Texas and South Carolina and potential matchups against Kentucky, Connecticut, Washington and other great teams in Maui, it sounds like an Elite Eight. Four of those teams were ranked No. 1 in the polls at some point last season, and they'll all be strong again."
"Depending on the Maui matchups, we could play six of our 12 non-conference games against BCS conference schools, which shows our commitment to playing quality competition. With home games against Texas and South Carolina, our home fans will get to see great opponents prior to the start of league play."
"But as strong as our non-conference schedule is, the Big Ten portion is even stronger," Izzo continued. "There simply are no breathers once we get into conference action. I've seen some rankings with Purdue, Ohio State and us in the top five or 10 nationally, but I think the depth of the conference is so good that there are more teams that will challenge for a league title and many more that will find a place in the Top 25 throughout the year. Last year was a grind through a very strong conference, but I expect this year to be even tougher. With 18 games against excellent talent and great coaching, this could be as good a year for Big Ten basketball as we've seen in some time."
All 18 Big Ten games will be televised by a national television network, including two on CBS, six on ESPN or ESPN2 and nine on the Big Ten Network. The final game will be carried by either CBS, ESPN or the Big Ten Network. Overall, MSU will make a minimum of 13 appearances on the ESPN family of networks, and play at least 11 times on the Big Ten Network, and at least twice on CBS.
Michigan State opens with a pair of exhibition games against Saginaw Valley State (Nov. 2) and Nebraska-Omaha (Nov. 8). Both games will be streamed live at BigTenNetwork.com and begin at 7 p.m. Spartan junior forward Draymond Green's brother Torrian Harris is a senior guard for Nebraska-Omaha.
The Spartans open the regular season at home on Nov. 12 against Eastern Michigan (8:30 p.m., Big Ten Network). On Nov. 16, MSU will host South Carolina as part of ESPN's College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon at 10 p.m.
MSU will then travel to Hawai'i for the 2010 Maui Invitational. Like they did in 2005, the Spartans will open against Chaminade on Nov. 22 on ESPNU (9:30 p.m.). The winner will advance to the semifinals to face the winner of the Wichita State-Connecticut contest. Matchups between Oklahoma and Kentucky and Virginia and Washington make up the bottom half of the bracket. Kentucky and Washington appeared in the 2010 NCAA Tournament, with the Wildcats making the Elite Eight, while Connecticut and Wichita State were in the NIT. The Spartans will return home to host Tennessee Tech on Nov. 28 (1 p.m., Big Ten Network).
For the second-straight year, MSU will play on the road against the defending National Champion in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. This year, the Spartans will travel to Durham, N.C., to play Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Dec. 1 (9:30 p.m., ESPN). Despite losing two starters, the Blue Devils are a consensus top-three preseason pick in 2010-11. MSU returns home to play Bowling Green on Dec. 4 (1:30 p.m., BigTenNetwork.com).
On Dec. 7, the Spartans will return to the famed Madison Square Garden in New York City to play Syracuse in the Jimmy V Classic. The Orange advanced to the Sweet 16 of the 2010 NCAA Tournament. This will mark the fourth season since 2001-02 that MSU will have played in Madison Square Garden.
On Dec. 11, Michigan State will play Oakland at the Palace of Auburn Hills (Time TBA). Last season, the Golden Grizzlies earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Michigan State will close out non-conference play by hosting Texas on Dec. 22 (7 p.m., ESPN2). This marks the fifth straight season the Spartans and Longhorns will have met in non-conference play, although it will be the first ever meeting between the two teams in East Lansing.
An additional non-conference game will be scheduled and announced at a later date.
During the Big Ten season, the Spartans will face six opponents that appeared in the 2010 postseason, including four in the NCAA Tournament (Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin) and two in the NIT (Illinois, Northwestern).
The Big Ten opener for Michigan State will come on New Year's Eve when the Spartans host Minnesota at 4 p.m. (Big Ten Network). On Jan. 3, MSU will play at Northwestern (7:30 p.m., Big Ten Network), followed by a game at Penn State on Jan. 8 (1 p.m., Big Ten Network). The Spartans then return home for back-to-back home games against Wisconsin on Jan. 11 (7 p.m., ESPN) and Northwestern on Jan. 15 (1 p.m, Big Ten Network).
The following week brings two tough road games at Illinois on Jan. 18 (7 p.m, ESPN) and Purdue on Jan. 22 (9 p.m., ESPN). The Boilermakers are a popular 2011 Final Four pick, while the Fighting Illini are ranked in virtually every preseason poll. The Spartans close out January with home games against Michigan on Jan. 27 (7 p.m., ESPN/ESPN2) and Indiana on Jan. 30 (6 p.m., Big Ten Network), in the only meeting of the year between MSU and IU.
The Spartans open February with a stretch that sees them play four of six games on the road. MSU plays at Iowa on Feb. 2 (8:30 p.m., Big Ten Network). That's followed by a trip to Wisconsin on Feb. 6 (1 p.m., CBS). MSU will host Penn State on Feb. 10 (7 p.m., Big Ten Network). After a weekend bye, the Spartans' next road test comes at Ohio State on Feb. 15 (9 p.m., ESPN) against a Buckeye squad ranked in the Top 10 of most preseason rankings. It's the only meeting of the season between the Spartans and Buckeyes.
Michigan State hosts Illinois on Feb. 19 (9 p.m., ESPN) as ESPN's College GameDay makes a trip to East Lansing for the second time in the program's history. With MSU's game at Purdue in January also slated for GameDay, the Spartans will have appeared in six of the seven Big Ten GameDay appearances. MSU will play at Minnesota on Feb. 22 (9 p.m., Big Ten Network).
MSU's final homestand of the season opens against Purdue on either Feb. 26 or 27. If ESPN or CBS broadcasts the game, it will be televised on Sunday, Feb. 27. If the game is televised by the Big Ten Network, it will be played on Saturday, Feb. 26. The Spartans will host Iowa in the final home game of the season on March 2 (6:30 p.m., Big Ten Network).
Michigan State closes the season at in-state rival Michigan on March 5. CBS will televise the game, starting at 2 p.m.
The 14th-annual Big Ten Tournament will run from March 10-13 in Indianapolis. The 2011 NCAA Tournament opens March 17, concluding with the Final Four at Houston's Reliant Stadium on April 2 and 4.