Breaking Down the Schedule

Dylan Burkhardt

Now that the full schedule is out we can really start looking at next season and start making predictions. Here is my first take on next years schedule.

The season opens up with the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament. A first round game against Campbell in Crisler should be an easy win but a likely match up with UMass after that is no cake walk. I think Michigan wins both of these before headed to New York City and most likely facing UCLA (loss) and then Southern Illinois (toss-up). A record of anywhere from 1-1 to 3-1 seems possible here, 2-2 might be the safe bet.

Next coming home for two easy non conference games, Michigan faces Norfolk State and Savannah State, both of these should be easy wins. These are followed by the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in College Park, MD, Maryland isn’t much of an ACC powerhouse these days but this will still be a very difficult road game. I would mark this one as a loss. Next, a home game with Duke, another likely loss. Followed by what should be an easy win at home against Eastern Michigan headed into Christmas Break in Ann Arbor. I have Michigan at about 5-4 after the Eastern game.

I am very impressed with how Beilein and company handled the scheduling around Christmas break and finals week this year. Students do not receive tickets to these games so it’s important to not be scheduling UCLA and Georgetown type teams in this stretch. It has been reported that Laval Lucas-Perry will gain eligibility right around here, presumably the December 20th game at the Palace. Over the winter break Michigan plays Oakland at the Palace, this is no easy win. Last year Oakland man handled Oregon at the Palace. Next Florida Gulf Coast and North Carolina Central should be easy wins at home.

I think an 8-4 record for the first non conference stretch seems like a reasonable prediction. On New Years Eve Michigan moves into the Big Ten Schedule with the conference opener against Wisconsin. Note: I assume there will be no student tickets for the Wisconsin, Illinois and Purdue home games.

Here are my predictions for the Big Ten games:

Dec. 31 WISCONSIN – Toss Up/Probable Loss
Jan. 4 ILLINOIS – Win
Jan. 7 at Indiana – Win
Jan. 11 IOWA – Win
Jan. 14 at Illinois – Toss Up/Probable Loss
Jan. 17 OHIO STATE – Toss Up/Probable Loss
Jan. 20 at Penn State- Win
Jan. 28 at Ohio State – Loss
Jan. 31 at Purdue – Loss
Feb. 5 PENN STATE – Win
Feb. 7 at Connecticut* – Loss
Feb. 15 at Northwestern – Win
Feb. 19 MINNESOTA- Win
Feb. 22 at Iowa – Toss Up/Probable Loss
Feb. 26 PURDUE – Loss
March 1 at Wisconsin – Loss
March 7 or 8 at Minnesota – Loss

My breakdown of the conference slate looks like this:

8 Wins
6 losses
4 toss ups (@ Iowa, @Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio State) which I would lean toward losses.
*1 loss to UConn

That would put our final Big Ten Record around 8-10 or 9-9. Add that to the 8-4 non conference and add the loss to UConn and we are looking at around 16-15 or 17-14 headed into the Big Ten tournament. This should put get Michigan right around the NIT but as we saw last year upsets happen (Harvard, Northwestern) so it’s important not to get ahead of ourselves.

Now that the schedule is out let’s hear your predictions for the year, which games do you guys agree with me and which am I way off?

This site is supported by donations

Like what you see? Click the button below to donate and access exclusive content.

  • AC

    I think you’re correct that we’re going to see 1-3 unfortunate losses due to the youth and lack of front-court depth.

    At the same time, I think you’re a bit pessimistic with their road record. Are Minnesota and Iowa good enough to be scared of? If Michigan is going to make the NIT or (gasp!) flirt with the NCAA they need to beat these other also-rans.

    I’m also curious to see how Purdue does. Obviously they should beat Michigan, but they came out of no where last year. Can they repeat that success?

  • BL11

    Minnesota should be an average to above average big11 team…i would expect a loss @minn…iowa on the other hand is a game that i would love UM to win..

  • old fan

    I think that 13-19 is very pessimistic. I would flip that around because of how bad the Big Ten will be. No one will be very good. I think that we are getting only a bit better but the league is getting much, much worse.

    Who are the NBA prospects left in the league? If it’s only a couple of incoming freshman, then we should be able to compete with good fundamentals.

    Who has a big body that we should be worried about? We have a huge hole in the middle, but most teams are lacking there.

    I think that Purdue will be solid. Callisan (Sp?) will be developed and the big body they needed down low last year. He’s had a good summer.

  • Purdue will be good to really good. MSU will be really good to great. Their game against UNC should show where they are at as a team.

    All in all I think we’ll flirt with .500, ending up within 2 games of it would be fine by me. Next year is the big year in my eyes.

    Wow, just like football.

  • Man I hate to say (i.e. even remotely talking about Michigan State/Tom Izzo or using them in the form for analogies/comparisons) but I think the 2008-09 Michigan Basketball team will be extremely similar to (i.e. compares with) that 1995-96 Michigan State Basketball team (this was Izzo’s first season as Michigan State’s Head Basketball Coach) where they were 9-9, .500 in Conference play (6th Place — don’t remember if it was tied or outright) and were 15-15, .500 in the regular season (no BigTen Tournament back then) before going to the NIT and having a 1-1, .500 record in the PostSeason NIT for an Overall record of 16-16, .500. The instance were the analogy/comparison doesn’t apply is that I think we can beat Michigan State @home this year (that 95-96 Michigan State got blown out by Michigan — both @The Breslin Center AND @Crisler Arena that Season. At the very least I think our 1 game with Michigan State is a toss-up.

  • old fan

    I don’t think I am optimistic for Michigan, as much as I am pessimistic for the league. We are going to realize that the years of Midwestern talent leaving have finally caught up with us. There will be some embarrassing losses. Not that there wasn’t last year. But at least last year IU wasn’t a mess and Wisconsin had people fooled.

    This year Purdue gets better. But who else gets better than they were last year? Illinois, but they are coming from pretty far down. MSU? I think that Neitzel was a key for them, even if he did disappear alot. Penn State will be better, but this can’t be who we are afraid of. So then there is Minnesota and well, they’re still Minnesota. As long as Bobby Jackson is no longer on the team I won’t be afraid of Minnesota.

    If we had a team that is solid but not spectacular we have a chance to improve by default.