1. The non-conference home slate is disappointing, but there’s a reasonable explanation.
Home games against Ferris State, Towson, Western Illinois, Iowa State, Arkansas Pine-Bluff, Alabama A&M and Bradley won’t necessarily have people lining up in droves to buy tickets. However, the Michigan staff has been very aggressive scheduling home-and-homes in recent seasons with series against Duke, Georgetown, Kansas and Connecticut. How did the home schedule end up so weak? There are a couple reasons. First off, Michigan was in line for a home game in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge in a game that should have been against a top half ACC team, but conference realignment gave the Wolverines a road game at Virginia. Second, the Maui Invitational is extremely difficult to schedule around. The field is loaded and Michigan could hypothetically play Memphis, Duke and Kansas – three preseason top 15 teams on a neutral court – in three days time. Of course Michigan could also play Memphis, Tennessee and Chaminade if things go poorly.
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The University of Michigan basketball program announced the finalized 2011-12 basketball schedule this afternoon. Two thirds of the schedule (non-conference and ESPN/CBS conference games) had been previously released but now the final third, conference games televised by the Big Ten Network, has been unveiled.
Michigan’s non-conference slate features a trip to Maui and games against Iowa State, Virginia and Arkansas. The Wolverines open play in the Maui Invitational against Memphis before facing either Duke or Tennessee in the second round. The Maui Invitational also features Kansas, UCLA, Georgetown and Chaminade and you can find the complete bracket here.
Michigan will play 11 Big Ten games on ESPN or CBS and open the Big Ten season against Penn State at home on December 29th. The Wolverines will play just one game against Minnesota (home), Wisconsin (home), Iowa (away) and Nebraska (away) while facing every other Big Ten team twice. ESPN will also bring their College GameDay set to Ann Arbor for the Wolverines’ home game against Ohio State on February 18th.
You can find the complete 2011-12 schedule after the jump.
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Photo: MGoBlue / Gallery
Today was the Michigan basketball team’s first opportunity to tour the newly renovated Crisler Arena. After a long summer of working out everywhere on campus but their home arena, the Wolverines began their preseason workouts in the revamped arena.
MGoBlue.com was on hand to grab reaction quotes and new photos from the first day inside the arena. Phase One of the Crisler renovations focuses on infrastructure but the most notable improvements are brand new seats and the new scoreboard. The attached Player Development Center is still on schedule to open in the middle of October. Phase two of the Crisler Arena renovations, which include concourse remodeling and club level seating, are expected to be completed by 2014.
Here’s Zack Novak’s reaction to the new-look Crisler Arena:
“We talked to Dave Brandon a little bit ago and he told us it looked like a brand new stadium, but I really could have never imagined this. It really does look like a brand new place. This is exciting and I’m glad that I’ll get to play my senior season in this kind of environment. I just can’t wait to see how it’s going to look when it’s all finished because this is unbelievable.”
“I think is it going to be a much better experience for the fans. I think they’re going to be much more engaged in the game, especially the students because we’ve got them sitting right on top of the court now. Being a senior, I’ve seen a lot of things change here and just to see this drastic of a change so quickly, it’s really cool and it’s special to be a part of it.”
Click through for more quotes from John Beilein, Stu Douglass, Trey Burke, Bacari Alexander and LaVall Jordan.
The Big Ten announced the dates, times and television networks for the Big Ten conference games that will air on CBS or the ESPN family of networks this season. Michigan will play 11 of its 18 conference games on CBS or an ESPN station and at least four of the Big Ten’s eight weekend CBS games will feature Michigan. For comparison, the Wolverines played just three Big Ten games on ESPN or CBS last season. Here’s the full list of announced games:
- Thu, Jan 5, 9 p.m. – Michigan at Indiana - ESPN2 / ESPN3.com
- Sun, Jan 8, 1:30/4:30 p.m – Wisconsin at Michigan – CBS
- Tue, Jan 17 - 7 p.m. – Michigan State at Michigan – ESPN / ESPN3.com
- Tue, Jan 24 - 7 p.m. – Michigan at Purdue – ESPN / ESPN3.com
- Sun, Jan 29 – 1 p.m – Michigan at Ohio State – CBS
- Sun, Feb 5 – 1 p.m. – Michigan at Michigan State – CBS
- Sun, Feb 12 – 1 p.m. – Illinois at Michigan – CBS
- Sat, Feb 18 - 9 p.m. – Ohio State at Michigan – ESPN / ESPN3.com – ESPN Game Day
- Feb 25/26 – 4/1 p.m. – Purdue at Michigan – CBS/ESPN wildcard
- Thu, Mar 1 - 7 p.m. – Michigan at Illinois – ESPN or ESPN2 / ESPN3.com
- Sun, Mar 4 – 4/1 p.m. - Michigan at Penn State - CBS/ESPN wildcard
You can find Michigan’s entire non-conference schedule here. The remaining conference games, which will air on the Big Ten Network, are expected to be released by the Big Ten conference tomorrow.
Photo: The basketball recruiting section cheers during one of Brandon Herron’s touchdown returns/Detroit News
Any recruiting notes from the weekend have to start with Mitch McGary. The number three player in the class of 2012 was on campus for a two day official visit which reportedly went as well as one could ask for. You can see McGary during his visit in the picture above, to the right in a blue t-shirt, cheering as Brandon Herron returns a touchdown. A poster on MGoBlog even talked with him at the game as McGary was hanging out in the student section during the rain storm, even grabbing a picture.
The problem for Michigan is that McGary still has a handful of other high profile visits on deck. The postgraduate actually has the option to take more than five official visits but right now his next scheduled official visits are to North Carolina and Duke later this week. He’ll head back to school at Brewster next Wednesday and could still take officials to Kentucky, Maryland and Florida.
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