Big Ten schedules were just released. So let’s take a look at Michigan’s 2012-13 schedule.
They start with two exhibitions at Crisler Center on November 1st and 5th against Northern Michigan and Saginaw Valley State respectively. These will be blowouts and not great performance meters for Michigan. Finally, on November 9th they open with their first regular season game against Slippery Rock. Then between November 12th and the 23rd Michigan participates in the NIT Tip-Off, where they can play at Madison Square Garden if they advance to the semi-finals.
Next up is the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, where the Wolverines take on North Carolina State at home. This will be a tough match up, and a chance to prove they are a legitimate national threat for Michigan.
After the NC State game, Michigan has seven more non-conference games in a row, with the biggest games being Arkansas at home (December 8th) and playing West Virginia (John Beilein’s former team) at a neutral site game in Brooklyn on December 15th.
Finally, after these seven non-conference games, Big Ten play begins for Michigan. They start with a relatively easy conference schedule. They play at Northwestern, followed by hosting Big Ten bottom feeders Iowa and Nebraska. Then the Wolverines travel to Columbus for a tough rivalry game against Ohio State on January 13th. This is followed by at Minnesota (January 17), home against Purdue (January 23), at Illinois (January 27th) and home against Northwestern (January 30th).
Then the fun starts. Michigan has the heart of its schedule against the rest of the Big Ten elite programs. This starts whit a huge showdown at Indiana on February 2nd. This could potentially be two top ten teams in the country at that point. It has already been announced that ESPN’s “College Gameday” will be in Bloomington for this huge match-up.
Michigan will return home to face rival Ohio State on February 5th. The Wolverines beat the Buckeyes last year at home, and would love to keep that momentum going in the rivalry.
Next, Michigan has two extremely difficult road games. First, they go to Madison to play Wisconsin on February 9th. No one beats Wisconsin in Madison. Wisconsin is 170-16 at home with Bo Ryan as their coach, though Michigan will have as good a chance as anyone to win at the Kohl Center. Next up for Michigan is rival Michigan State at East Lansing on February 12th. This game completes Michigan’s deadly four game stretch. If they can at least win two of these games they should be happy.
Lucky for them Michigan gets to welcome lowly Penn State (February 17th) and Illinois (February 24th) before traveling to State College to play Penn State again on February 27th.
Next, Michigan plays at home against Michigan State in a massive game. This game could have Big Ten regular season champion implications. Then they finish up the regular season by traveling to Purdue on March 6th before a rematch with Indiana at home on March 10th.
The Big Ten Tournament begins March 1oth and the NCAA Tournament begins March 19th.
At first look Michigan has an interesting schedule. They have a few interesting non-conference games that look good on their NCAA Tournament resume (West Virginia, NC State and Arkansas). They have a relatively easy start to the big ten season, then four tough games (Indiana, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Michigan State). The schedule relaxes for a few games (Penn State twice and Illinois) before a tough finish with Michigan State, Purdue and Indiana.
Michigan should compete for a second consecutive Big Ten title, and will have to survive the peaks and valleys of their schedule to do so. In just over two months they will start their journey.