Aug. 31, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State women's basketball announced its 2012-13 schedule on Friday. The Spartans compiled another challenging schedule, facing nine 2012 NCAA Tournament teams and a total of 15 schools that appeared in the postseason last year.
In conference play this season, Michigan State will play home-and-home series with Indiana, Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State and Purdue. In single-plays, the Spartans will play Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin at home, and travel to Illinois, Nebraska and Ohio State. For the first time since 2001, the Big Ten Tournament leaves Indianapolis, as this year's championship will be held in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
The non-conference portion of the schedule features eight postseason teams, including hosting NCAA qualifier Albany, a trip to NC State for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, and a trip to Las Vegas in December for the Duel in the Desert, where the Spartans square off with Oregon State and Texas Tech.
"This year's non-conference schedule will challenge our team early. We will battle quality programs with many different styles of play which will definitely help us prepare for the rigors of the Big Ten Conference," said head coach Suzy Merchant. "Eight of our non-conference opponents qualified for the postseason last year, five of which we will face on the road or on a neutral floor. The Big Ten should be as balanced and strong as it has been over the last couple years. The conference qualified a record seven teams into the NCAA Tournament last spring, and most of those teams return the core of their roster."
The 2012-13 season will begin with two exhibition games at Breslin Center, with MSU hosting Saginaw Valley State on Nov. 1 and Grand Valley State on Nov. 4.
The regular season will tip off with UT Arlington coming to East Lansing on Nov. 11. The Spartans will make their first trip to Ypsilanti since 1994 on Nov. 15 to face Eastern Michigan. The Eagles won the MAC Tournament title last year to advance to the NCAA Tournament.
Michigan State returns home for the next three games, beginning with ACC opponent Virginia Tech on Nov. 18. Albany, a NCAA Tournament team out of the America East Conference last season, will follow on Nov. 21. The home stand will be capped by Robert Morris, a 2012 WBI qualifier, on Nov. 25.
The sixth installment of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge will be Nov. 29 for MSU, as the Spartans travel to NC State, who advanced to the second round of the WNIT. Michigan State returns home for Milwaukee on Dec. 1, before going on the road to Oakland on Dec. 5 and Dayton on Dec. 8. The Spartans face Oakland for the first time since 2002, while Dayton made the NCAAs last year after winning 23 games.
A return to Jenison Field House awaits the Spartans on Dec. 16, when MSU will play IPFW. With the fall semester complete, Michigan State will take a trip to Las Vegas for the Duel in the Desert on Dec. 19-20. Both opponents - Oregon State on Dec. 19 and Texas Tech on Dec. 20 - advanced to the third round of the WNIT and won at least 20 games in 2011-12.
After the holiday break, the Spartans will play one last non-conference game before Big Ten action, hosting Temple on Dec. 29. The Owls also made it to the third round of the WNIT, and went 23-10 overall and 13-1 in the Atlantic 10.
The Big Ten season begins for Michigan State with three of the first four games at home. Defending WBI champion Minnesota opens the slate with a Jan. 3 contest. The Spartans remain at home to face Penn State on Jan. 6. The Nittany Lions won the Big Ten last season and were a NCAA Sweet 16 team in 2011-12.
After a trip to Illinois on Jan. 13, Iowa comes to Breslin on Jan. 17 for the lone meeting of the season between the two NCAA Tournament teams. MSU will head to Indiana on Jan. 20 and make its first trip ever to Nebraska on Jan. 24. Purdue at Breslin on Jan. 27 and a road game at Northwestern on Jan. 31 round out the month.
The first meeting of the season against in-state rival Michigan is Monday, Feb. 4 in East Lansing, the day after the Super Bowl. A return trip to the defending conference champion Nittany Lions (Feb. 10) and a home game with Indiana (Feb. 13), stand between the rematch with the Wolverines in Ann Arbor, set for Feb. 16.
Northwestern comes to East Lansing on Feb. 20. Two difficult road contests - Ohio State (Feb. 25) and Purdue (28) - round out the away portion of the Big Ten schedule. Senior night for Tracy Nogle, Courtney Schiffauer and Jasmine Thomas is scheduled for March 3 against Wisconsin.
The Big Ten Tournament will move to the greater Chicago area in 2013, as the tournament will be held on March 7-10 at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Ill. The previous 11 events had been held in Indianapolis.
This season's times and television arraignments will be announced at a later date.