East Lansing — Michigan State will play Michigan only once next season, and you can count Tom Izzo as one who firmly wishes that wasn't the case.
The Big Ten announced which teams will play each other twice and which only once in the 2015-16 season on Thursday and the Spartans and Wolverines play only in Ann Arbor.
"I would like to see it protected," Izzo said. "I just don't know if they can do that as easily as they can with football. But yes I would (want it protected). I think the fans would, I think the media would."
Next season, Michigan State will play Iowa, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers and Wisconsin at home and on the road, and Illinois, Indiana, Maryland and Nebraska only at Breslin Center. Its road-only opponents include Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern and Purdue.
Michigan will face Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Penn State and Purdue home and away, and Indiana, Michigan State, Northwestern and Rutgers at Crisler Center. The Wolverines will play Illinois, Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin on the road.
The last time the rivals played only once was in 2009, a 54-42 victory for Michigan State in Ann Arbor. The teams also met only once in 2008 in East Lansing and had the same two-year setup in 2002 and 2003.
As much as Izzo wants to play Michigan twice, he's not sure about scheduling the game as a non-conference matchup, something that was done in 1997.
"The problem we have is with the tough non-conference schedule we play and it doesn't get any easier the next couple of years," Izzo said. "I haven't talked to (athletic director) Mark (Hollis) about it, I haven't talked to (Michigan coach) John (Beilein) about it. … I don't like not playing them twice, but I don't like a lot of things about this schedule and about these number of teams. You just got to do what they do.
"It's hard to look at that because you don't know what will happen the next year. This thing doesn't change every two years, it changes every year. Now you're adding a lot more games and you're already playing in some of these exempt games."