The names and faces sometimes change, but under coach Tom Izzo, Michigan State’s basketball schedule has a familiar tone from season to season.
For the Spartans, that means playing some of the top teams in the nation in nonconference play followed by a typically daunting Big Ten slate, one that gets tougher for every team this season as the teams will now play 20 conference games.
Heading into the 2018-19 season, Michigan State has the requisite big-time matchups, including the season opener against Kansas as part of the Champions Classic on Nov. 6 in Indianapolis. The Spartans also take on UCLA on Nov. 22 in the Las Vegas Invitational with a second game the next day against either Texas or North Carolina.
Michigan State travels to Louisville on Nov. 27 to take on the Cardinals as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. A Dec. 8 trip to Florida caps the noteworthy nonconference games. In between, the Spartans tip off Big Ten play at Rutgers on Nov. 30 and at home against Iowa on Dec. 3.
That means three true road games — at Louisville, at Rutgers and at Florida — in a 12-day span.
A visit to the Breslin Center from Oakland on Dec. 21 highlights the rest of the non-conference slate before Michigan State is back to Big Ten play at home against Northwestern on Jan. 2.
Michigan State and Michigan now have a protected rivalry, meaning the teams will meet twice each year after playing just once last season. The Spartans head to Ann Arbor on Feb. 24 with the Wolverines coming to the Breslin Center on March 9. It’s the first time the rivals have closed the regular season since 2010.
Michigan State' 2018-19 schedule
Tuesday Oct. 30 vs. NORTHERN MICHIGAN (exhibition)
Tuesday Nov. 6 vs. Kansas (Champions Classic at Indianapolis)
Sunday Nov. 11 vs. Florida Gulf Coast
* Wednesday Nov. 14 vs. LOUISANA-MONROE
* Sunday Nov. 18 vs. TENNESSEE TECH
* Thursday Nov. 22 vs. UCLA (Las Vegas)
* Friday Nov. 23 vs. North Carolina/Texas (Las Vegas)
Tuesday Nov. 27 at Louisville (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
Friday Nov. 30 at Rutgers
Monday Dec. 3 vs. IOWA
Saturday Dec. 8 at Florida
Sunday Dec. 16 vs. GREEN BAY
Friday Dec. 23 vs. OAKLAND
Saturday Dec. 29 vs. NORTHERN ILLINOIS
Wednesday Jan. 2 vs. NORTHWESTERN
Saturday Jan. 5 at Ohio State
Tuesday Jan. 8 vs. PURDUE
Sunday Jan. 13 at Penn State
Thursday Jan. 17 at Nebraska
Monday Jan. 21 vs. MARYLAND
Thursday Jan. 24 at Iowa
Sunday Jan. 27 at Purdue
Saturday Feb. 2 vs. INDIANA
Tuesday Feb. 5 at Illinois
Saturday Feb. 9 vs. MINNESOTA
Tuesday Feb. 12 at Wisconsin
Sunday Feb. 17 vs. OHIO STATE
Wednesday Feb. 20 vs. RUTGERS
Sunday Feb. 24 at Michigan
Saturday March 2 at Indiana
Tuesday March 5 vs. NEBRASKA
Saturday March 9 vs. MICHIGAN
March 13-17 Big Ten Tournament Chicago, Ill.
* Las Vegas Invitational