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Microanalyzing the 2010-2011 Michigan State Basketball Schedule

There wasn't a lot of critical information in the basketball schedule released yesterday that we didn't already have, but analyzing things is what we do here  So here you go, bulletpoint-style:

  • Exhibition opener is Tuesday, November 2 vs. Saginaw Valley State.  Only 67 days away, believe it or not.
  • Regular season opener is Friday, November 12 vs. Eastern Michigan.
  • Five off days before the Maui Invitational; three after, going into a game vs. a lower-tier Tennessee Tech team.  Shouldn't have the kind of fatigue issues the team did going into the 2008 UNC game coming off only 2 full days rest after a long weekend tournament (although the travel back to East Lansing from Hawaii will obviously be lengthier).
  • We already knew all the major-conference non-conference opponents: South Carolina (at home), Duke (away), Syracuse (New York), Texas (home).  As Izzo pointed out in the press release, 6 of MSU's 12 currently-scheduled non-conference games could be against major-conference opponents if things play to form in Maui (UConn, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Washington are the potential major-conference foes there).
  • MSU plays at the Palace again, after a year off, against Oakland.  (This qualifies as new information, I think.)  The Grizzlies look to be the most dangerous non-major-conference team on the slate.  Center Keith Benson (21 points, 11 rebounds vs. MSU last year) is back for his senior year.
  • One more non-conference game is yet to be announced.  Will presumably be the weekend of December 18-19 (after finals week) or a mid-week game after Christmas going into conference play.  Saturday the 26th is also a possibility; not sure if they'd want to play a game Christmas weekend or not.
  • Conference schedule looks pretty reasonable.  No more than two road games (or home games) in a row at any point.  Quite a few turnarounds on only 2 full days rest, but that's the price of being on ESPN a lot.
  • Missing conference games are home to Ohio State and at Indiana, reversing last year's missed games.  Fairly neutral pair of games to have off the schedule.  Missing OSU on the road last year was a better deal, arguably helping MSU snare a share of the title and making up a little for scheduling disadvantages that worked against MSU's title hopes a couple times earlier in the decade.
  • Big Ten slates ramps up fairly slowly to a killer back-to-back-road-game sequence in Champaign and West Lafayette in the 6th and 7th games.  A 6-game sequence in the second half of the schedule includes at Wisconsin, at Ohio State, Illinois, and Purdue.  That's where MSU's Big Ten championship hopes are likely to be realized or squashed.
  • Senior Day will be against Iowa on a Wednesday night.  Pretty good odds of Lucas, Summers, and Kebler going out with a win.
  • Final regular season tilt is down in Ann Arbor.  As noted by Seer, Michigan students will be on break for the game--so Crisler could be pretty green.
  • Final entry on the schedule, on the very slim chance you weren't aware: