Aug. 30, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Big Ten Conference announced the 2012-13 men's basketball schedule on August 30. A game on an United States Air Force Base in Germany, a neutral-site contest against a Top-5 team, a road game in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, a return to Jenison Field House and a home game against Texas highlight Michigan State's non-conference schedule. MSU's league slate includes five opponents ranked in the Top 25 by both CBSSports.com and ESPN.com.
Michigan State plays 21 of its 31 regular-season games against 15 teams that participated in the 2012 postseason. Eight opponents, including five league foes, played in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, while four teams, including three Big Ten squads, were in the NIT and three non-conference opponents were in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
In Big Ten play, Michigan State will play Illinois, Iowa, Northwestern, and Penn State just once. These are the same single-play opponents the Spartans faced last year, with the locations of the games being flipped. This means the Spartans will travel to Iowa and Penn State, and will host Illinois and Northwestern. This year also marks the return of the Big Ten Tournament to Chicago.
"We've put together a schedule that combines challenges and unique events, giving us great competition on the court and a lifetime of memories," said MSU head coach Tom Izzo. "For the second straight year, we'll open the season away from home for the first two games, but the opportunity to play in front of our armed forces in Germany, followed by the prestigious Champions Classic is one that's only afforded to elite programs. No team will have a more difficult start to its season, but it's a challenge that we embrace. After all, last year we proved that it can be beneficial regardless of the games' results.
"There's no question that one of the other highlights of our schedule will be the return to Jenison Field House. Not only do we get to return to what was once one of the great home courts in college basketball, and the place I spent my first years as a Spartan assistant, we'll honor some of the great Spartans of the past with the Alumni game, and we'll recognize the larger significance of the 1963 NCAA Tournament game between Mississippi State and Loyola and its far-reaching implications. On top of all that, I'm glad that Texas provides a marquee non-conference matchup for all of our loyal Breslin season-ticket holders.
"I feel like I say it every year, but the Big Ten keeps getting better and better. This season, I'm especially impressed with the strength at the top of the conference. In recent years, the depth of the overall conference has been strong, and this year is no exception. But when you consider that as many as four teams have appeared in various Top 10 rankings and half the conference is ranked in the Top 25, it's sure to make for an outstanding winter of Big Ten basketball. Add the fact that we'll play all the ranked teams twice in conference play, and that more than two-thirds of all our games are against teams that played in the 2012 postseason, and it's sure to be a season with a lot of tests, and very few chances to relax."
As previously announced, Michigan State opens the 2012-13 season on Nov. 9, playing Connecticut in the Armed Forces Classic at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The last meeting between Connecticut and Michigan State came in the 2010 Maui Invitational. Four days later, MSU will play 2012 national runner-up Kansas in the second edition of the Champions Classic in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. ESPN will televise the game at 7 p.m. Kansas is ranked No. 4 by both CBSSports.com and ESPN.com.
After opening the year with two games away from home for the second straight season, the Spartans return to East Lansing to host the Spartan Showcase presented by Auto-Owners Insurance. The five-team, four-game round-robin event includes four home games in eight days for MSU, including Texas Southern (Nov. 18), Boise State (Nov. 20), Oakland (Nov. 23) and Louisiana Lafayette (Nov. 25).
The Spartans will then hit the road again, traveling to Miami, Fla., for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Nov. 28 (ESPN, 7:30 p.m.). This will be the first ever meeting between the Spartans and Hurricanes.
December opens with four home games. The first three will be played at Breslin Center as MSU hosts Nicholls State (Dec. 1), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Dec. 5), and Loyola (Chicago) (Dec. 8). This season marks the 50th anniversary of Mississippi State and Loyola playing at Jenison Field House in the 1963 NCAA Tournament. The Mississippi State squad went against a state prohibition against playing integrated teams and snuck out of the state to play a Loyola squad that featured four African-American starters.
That historic moment in Jenison Field House history will be further celebrated the following weekend when Michigan State returns to Jenison for the first time since 1989, hosting Tuskegee on Dec. 15. The weekend will also include a Michigan State alumni game on Dec. 14.
Michigan State will travel to Bowling Green on Dec. 18 for the final road game of the non-conference slate. The Spartans will close out the non-conference portion of the schedule as they host Texas on Dec. 22. MSU and Texas faced each other for five straight seasons between 2006-07 and 2010-11. The two teams most recently played at Breslin Center on Dec. 22, 2010, with UT claiming a 67-55 victory. The Longhorns are No. 21 in ESPN.com's Top 25.
The Spartans open the Big Ten slate on the road with a New Year's Eve contest at Minnesota. This marks the third time in the last five seasons that the Spartans and Gophers will play on Dec. 31, with MSU winning in Minneapolis in 2008 and in East Lansing in 2010. Purdue comes to East Lansing for MSU's Big Ten home opener on Jan. 5. Michigan State is at Iowa on Jan. 10 for the only regular-season meeting between the teams, followed by a home game versus Nebraska on Jan. 13. The Spartans will play Penn State just once on the season, traveling to State College on Jan. 16.
Michigan State and Ohio State meet for the first time in East Lansing on Jan. 19. The Spartans and Buckeyes each claimed a share of the 2012 Big Ten Championship, as did Michigan. OSU is ranked No. 8 by ESPN.com and No. 13 by CBSSports.com. The game is followed by back-to-back road games at two of the toughest road venues in the conference, traveling to Wisconsin on Jan. 22 and Indiana on Jan. 27. The Hoosiers are ESPN.com's preseason No. 1 pick, while CBSSports.com has IU at No. 2. The Badgers are ranked No. 17 by CBSSports.com and No. 22 by ESPN.com.
MSU returns to East Lansing for back-to-back home games against Illinois on Jan. 31 and Minnesota on Feb. 6. The Spartans will not make a trip to Champaign this season. On Feb. 9, Michigan State will play at Purdue.
The first of two meetings between in-state rivals Michigan State and Michigan will take place in East Lansing on Feb. 12. The Wolverines are ranked No. 5 by both CBSSports.com and ESPN.com. The Spartans travel to Nebraska on Feb. 16. Indiana comes to Breslin Center on Feb. 19.
The Spartans' next two games are on the road on consecutive weekends against the two teams with whom they shared the 2012 title. First, Michigan State travels to Columbus on Feb. 24. The following weekend, the Spartans play at Michigan either on March 2 or 3.
Michigan State closes the regular season with back-to-back home games, beginning with Wisconsin on March 7. In a schedule quirk, the only meeting between MSU and Northwestern will be the season's final game, with the Wildcats coming to town on March 10.
The postseason begins with the 2013 Big Ten Tournament on March 14-17. For the first time since 2007, the conference tournament will be played at the United Center in Chicago.
For the second straight season, Michigan State is opening with two games away from home against BCS conference schools.
For the first time since 1918-19 and 1919-20, Michigan State will open with two games away from East Lansing in back-to-back seasons.
Fifteen of Michigan State's 2011-12 opponents appeared in the 2012 postseason:
o 8 NCAA teams (5 Big Ten, 3 non-conference) - Connecticut, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio State, Purdue, Texas, Wisconsin
o 4 NIT teams (3 Big Ten, 1 non-conference) - Iowa, Miami, Minnesota, Northwestern
o 3 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament teams (3 non-conference) - Bowling Green, Louisiana Lafayette, Oakland
Thirteen of MSU's 31 games will be against teams that appeared in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, while 21 of the 31 will be against teams that played in the 2012 postseason.
Preseason rankings: Spartan opponents and MSU
o CBSSports.com - Indiana-2, Kansas-4, Michigan-5, MSU-7, Ohio State-13, Wisconsin-17, Minnesota-24
o ESPN.com - Indiana-1, Kansas-4, Michigan-5, Ohio State-8, MSU-9, Texas-21, Wisconsin-22, Minnesota-25