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. 24 NORTHWESTERN – Win
Jan. 28 at Ohio State – Loss
Jan. 31 at Purdue – Loss
Feb. 5 PENN STATE – Win
Feb. 7 at Connecticut* – Loss
Feb. 10 MICHIGAN STATE- 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:
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?