Five Thoughts About Michigan's Schedule

Dylan Burkhardt

Now that the entire 2009-2010 Michigan basketball schedule has been released. Here are five thoughts on the schedule and the year ahead. I’m ready to go, October 16th can’t get here soon enough.

1. “Michigan Madness” (Press Release)

John Beilein just get’s it. He’s not a flashy guy, but he knows how to run a program. This was the perfect year to implement some sort of Midnight Madness program, your blogger even begged for it, and Beilein got it done.

The turnout for Michigan’s Selection Sunday event was surprisingly strong for an event that was scheduled days earlier so I am confident about a strong turnout here. Marketing will of course be important, and I expect that it will pick up as the date nears.

For one of the first times in recent history there is a buzz around Michigan basketball. Student tickets are up something like 400% and people are ready for the season. The only drawback about the event is that it is the Friday of Michigan’s “fall study break” (which runs Sat-Tues).

2. Big Games

At least eight (up to 11) conference games on national TV, a marquee non-conference home game, a road game at the consensus pre-season #1, the Big Ten/ACC challenge, and a premiere pre-season tournament. This schedule is absolutely loaded.

There is no doubt that John Beilein went out and scheduled the best teams in the country. This team will be challenged but they will have every opportunity to make a statement.

3. Balance

For the most part, I think the conference schedule is balanced. It doesn’t appear to be front or back loaded. There are tough stretches throughout. The two toughest include Jan 17th to 26th when Michigan will play UConn, @Wisconsin, @Purdue, and MSU at home as well as the final stretch against Illinois, @OSU, Minnesota, and @MSU.

There are easier stretches as well including Michigan’s first 5 game stretch which includes two against Indiana, a trip to Penn State, and Northwestern and Ohio State at home. It will be critical that Michigan gets off to a quick start before that tough late January stretch.

Michigan also plays 5 of their 9 conference home games on weekends which seems about right.

4. Student Break Games

There are always games that fall on student break, ideally you want as many road games as possible over these periods. By my calculations, there should only be two home games without students: Ohio State and Minnesota. These are both important games, and the Minnesota game down the stretch will likely be a late-season battle near the top of the standings, but the situation definitely could be worse.

On the flip side, Michigan’s season finale at the Breslin will be during Michigan State’s spring break. I am sure MSU will have no problem selling tickets for that game but every little break helps.

5. Over/Under

Judging my quick run through, I’ll put the over under around 21 wins and 11 conference wins. The conference is going to be extremely tough and balanced again this year so there will be a lot of games that could go either way. As always the conference will come down to defending home court and stealing a couple games on the road.

In the non-conference, I think this team loses one at the Old Spice Classic and loses in Lawrence.

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  • Brad

    Hey Dylan, u think theres any chance that Memphis having to vacate all wins from 08 makes it a less appealing destination for recruits (i.e. Prather) even if no other punishments are handed out?

  • El Capitan

    Totally agree with you on the non-conference predictions. As great as it would be to steal one at Kansas, I don’t think we’re quite ready for that, though I do think we will give them a good game. The Old Spice Classic will be very tough, playing so many great teams in a three-day span or whatever it is.

    But I also think we will take out UCONN at Crisler, and Beilein will get his first victory against MSU when they come to town. 21 wins seems fairly accurate, though I think we will steal an extra win or two on the road in-conference, getting us up to maybe 23 wins?

    I know it’s very very early, but I see us getting a 6 seed (or potentially even a 5) in the Big Dance.

  • Harry K

    You mention losses to Kansas and likely a loss in the Old Spice Classic but not a loss to UConn. While we nearly won last year they took over down the stretch showing the quality of their team and even though the game is in Ann Arbor and we’ve improved from last year I still don’t think we can beat UConn. The upper-echelon of the Big East is just too tough for the Big Ten.

  • UConn is no gimmie but I think we can get them at home. We shall see.

  • Drew

    We will be favored in the Uconn game, I’m not real concerned with that one. They lost so many pieces and will be a younger team in a hostile (hopefully) environment on the road.

  • Dave

    michigan is going to be a team thats going to deserve their preseason hype ………jb will have them focused and capable all year round and they are going to be turning a lot of heads…….the addition of darius is really going to surprise a lot of people i think along with the off season improvements from everyone else………michigan will win many big games again this year they are going to be good there is a lot of talent on this squad

  • UMIndy

    “The upper-echelon of the Big East is just too tough for the Big Ten.”

    Ummmm… did you watch the Tourney last March? How many upper-echelon Big East teams does MSU have to beat before you stop believing that tripe?

  • JB

    stop drinking the kool-aid!
    The big ten can absolutely compete with the upper echelon of the big east. louisville, pitt, and uconn were the cream of the big east last year.
    upper echelon big east vs. big ten games last year (that i recall):
    minnesota (8-8 big ten) beat louisville
    msu beat louisville
    msu beat uconn
    uconn beat michigan (8-8 bit ten) in a close game
    The big east is definitely better, but the big ten can definitely compete with them.
    correct me if i’m wrong, but UCONN lost price, jeff adrian, and most importantly for us, thabeet, because defending a true center was an achilles last year.
    Utah lost a lot of talent too, so hopefully we can get that big road win early in the season too.

  • JBlair52

    Harry K – regarding UConn. Though they do have a lot of talent left on the roster, they did lose their PG AJ Price and two tough bigs in Adrien and Thabeet. Those were their 3 leading scorers and 2 top rebounders (42 pts, 24 reb – per game). That’s a lot.

    And yes, Dyson, Walker, and Robinson will be tough, but I think without the thickness of Adrien and the massive size of Thabeet – we’ll be able to match up with them much better this year. Remember, last year we were playing this mammoth sized team with only 2 healthy guys over 6’6″. This year we COULD have up to 5 guys over 6’6″.

    They lost a lot more than we did, and they only beat us by 8 on their floor last year. We return 100% of our scoring from that game while they lost Thabeet (17 pts, 12 reb, 6 blks), Adrien (9 pts, 14 reb) and Price (11 pts, 7 ast, 5 reb).

  • David

    Home football game on Saturday of the fall study break will help keep enough kids for a good turn out to the midnight madness, even if it is Delaware State.

  • KainKitizen

    I don’t see anything wrong with predicting that this team will avg. anywhere from 75-80pts per game. Manny and Deshawn avg nearly 20pts a game. The team goes undefeated at home. Looks like I’ll be having a date at Chrysler Arena on Oct. 16th.

  • maxwell’s demon

    I bet we lose at Indiana.


    woot woot