By Ed Morgans @writered21 on June 12, 2014
A year after falling to Louisville in the NCAA championship game, the Michigan Wolverines proved that success was no fluke, going 28-9 a season ago, winning the Big 10 regular season title at 15-3 and making it to the Elite Eight before losing a close game to Kentucky. The Wolverines are a high-profile team again nationally, and here are five matchups in 2014-15 that can't be missed.
Michigan will head east to play Nov. 24-25 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., against two of VCU, Villanova and Oregon. All three opponents offer unique tempo scenarios (the matchups haven't been drawn yet), and the Wolverines figure to be in for two tough tests on back-to-back nights.
In Maryland's first season in the Big 10, one of the teams they will only play at home in 2014-15 is Michigan. The teams have only met twice in the regular season going back over the last 35 years, both wins by the Terrapins (82-51 in 2000 and 75-70 in 2008). The Wolverines are a lot better now than they were then and will hit the road ready to give Maryland a rude Big 10 welcome.
One of the biggest early non-conference matchups in 2014-15 is going to be a game that could feature two teams ranked in the top 10 in the country when Michigan plays at Arizona on Dec. 13. Then ranked No. 1 in the country and unbeaten, the Wildcats won a 72-70 thriller at Michigan last season, and this rematch should be just as tasty.
While Michigan's ACC-Big 10 Challenge opponent probably should have been fellow conference regular-season champion Virginia, the Wolverines instead draw the Orange, who went 28-6 last season and 14-4 in the ACC, good enough for second place. It will also be a rematch from the 2013 Final Four when Michigan knocked off Syracuse, 61-56, to reach the title game.
It really doesn't matter who Michigan schedules for its non-conference slate and all the other Big 10 games; it all pales in comparison to when the Wolverines take on Michigan State. Michigan won both regular-season meetings a season ago, only to fall to the Spartans in the Big 10 Tournament final. Both the Wolverines and Spartans fell in the Elite Eight in 2013-14.
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