As you might have heard, the Big Ten released the 2009-10 basketball schedule today, plus the conference schedule and my first impressions after the jump. Teams in caps are home games. (HT: MSU)
Sun 1 NORTHWOOD (Exhib.) East Lansing, Mich. TBA
Mon. 9 GRAND VALLEY STATE (Exhib.) East Lansing, Mich. TBA
Fri. 13 FLORIDA GULF COAST East Lansing, Mich. TBA
Tues. 17 GONZAGA East Lansing, Mich. TBA
Fri. & Sun. 20-22 Legends Classic - MSU Host Site East Lansing, Mich.
Fri. 20 TOLEDO East Lansing, Mich. TBA
Sun. 22 VALPARAISO East Lansing, Mich. TBA
Fri.-Sat. 27-28 Legends Classic - Championship Rounds Atlantic City, N.J.
Fri. 27 vs. Florida Atlantic City, N.J. 8 p.m.
Sat. 28 vs. Rutgers/Massachusetts Atlantic City, N.J. 5:30/8 p.m.
Tues. 1 North Carolina (Big Ten/ACC Challenge) (ESPN) Chapel Hill, N.C. 9 p.m.
Fri. 4 WOFFORD East Lansing, Mich. TBA
Mon. 7 at The Citadel Charleston, S.C. TBA
Thu. 10 OAKLAND East Lansing, Mich. TBA
Sat. 19 IPFW East Lansing, Mich. TBA
Tues. 22 at Texas (ESPN2) Austin, Texas 7 p.m.
Wed. 30 TEXAS-ARLINGTON East Lansing, Mich. TBA
Sat. 2 at Northwestern (Big Ten Network) Evanston, Ill. 6:30 p.m.
Wed. 6 WISCONSIN (Big Ten Network) East Lansing, Mich. 6:30 p.m.
Sat. 9 at Iowa (Big Ten Network) Iowa City, Iowa 1:30 p.m.
Wed. 13 MINNESOTA (Big Ten Network) East Lansing, Mich. 6:30 p.m.
Sat. 16 ILLINOIS (CBS) East Lansing, Mich. 3:30 p.m.
Wed. 20 IOWA (Big Ten Network) East Lansing, Mich. 6:30 p.m.
Sat. 23 at Minnesota (CBS) Minneapolis, Minn. 12 p.m.
Tues. 26 at Michigan (ESPN) Ann Arbor, Mich. 7 p.m.
Sat. 30 NORTHWESTERN (Big Ten Network) East Lansing, Mich. 7 p.m.
Tues. 2 at Wisconsin (ESPN) Madison, Wis. 9 p.m.
Sat. 6 at Illinois (ESPN) Champaign, Ill. 9 p.m.
Tues. 9 PURDUE (ESPN) East Lansing, Mich. 9 p.m.
Sat. 13 at Penn State (ESPN) University Park, Pa. 12 p.m.
Tues. 16 at Indiana (ESPN) Bloomington, Ind. 7 p.m.
Sat.-Sun. 20-21 OHIO STATE (ESPN, Big Ten Network, CBS) East Lansing, Mich. 4/8/12 p.m.
Sat.-Sun. 27-28 at Purdue (ESPN, Big Ten Network, CBS) West Lafayette, Ind. 12/8/4 p.m.
T/W/T 2/3/4 PENN STATE (ESPN, ESPN2, Big Ten Network) East Lansing, Mich. TBA
Sat.-Sun. 6-7 MICHIGAN (Big Ten Network, ESPN, CBS) East Lansing, Mich. 2:30/12/4 p.m.
- The home/away Big Ten game balance seems fair. 4 out of 6 home games to start, and 3 of the last 4 games are also at home.
- As to difficulty, I wouldn't say the schedule seems front or back loaded. The degree of difficulty's pretty even throughout the season.
- Undoubtedly you noticed that Michigan's the last game of the season. You also might be wondering if it falls on spring break, and the answer is yes. The Purdue game was at the same time last year, and judging by the Izzone's turnout to see the Boilermakers, I wouldn't be worried about a Wolverine invasion.
- The last nine games could be shown on national TV. I don't know if that qualifies MSU as elite (if they aren't already), but it darn sure doesn't hurt.
- Four weekend home games out of a possible nine is about the definition of fair. No complaints there either.
- As to the nonconference, I can't recall MSU having an opponent as big as Gonzaga that close to the start of the season. Gonzaga just lost Austin Daye, Jeremy Pargo, and Josh Heytvelt though, so hopefully the Spartans can take advantage of a bulldog team who will be learning to play without three of their biggest stars. Also note the trip to The Citadel this year.
Those are my first impressions. Playing Indiana and Ohio State once is a decent tradeoff, and the nonconference schedule is the most loaded I've seen in about five or six years.