East Lansing — When the preseason rankings come out, there’s a pretty good chance Michigan State will be at the top of the list.
It just so happens the Spartans likely will run into plenty of other teams near the top of the rankings in the first month of the season, as well.
Michigan State released its nonconference schedule for the 2019-20 season on Monday. It's highlighted by a meeting with Kentucky in the Champions Classic to open the season on Nov. 5 at Madison Square Garden, and includes a potential matchup with Kansas in the Maui Invitational in late November, followed by a visit from Duke on Dec. 3 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Kentucky (No. 2), Kansas (No. 3) and Duke (No. 4) are all ranked in the top five of ESPN’s way-too-early rankings, while Seton Hall — Michigan State’s opponent in the Gavitt Games — check in at No. 13. The Spartans hit the road to face the Pirates on Nov. 14.
It makes for a challenging road as Michigan State prepares to defend its Big Ten title and get back to the Final Four after losing in the national semifinals last season. The five home games are highlighted by Duke’s second trip to the Breslin Center, and includes games against Binghamton, Charleston Southern, Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan.
The Spartans also play in-state foe Oakland on Dec. 14 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.
Play begins on Oct. 29 when Michigan State hosts Division III Albion in an exhibition game. Zach and Khy Winston, the brothers of Michigan State senior Cassius Winston, play for Albion.
Michigan State also will play in another exhibition game, likely against another Division I team that isn't open to the public, though details won’t be released until after the game.
The Spartans' Big Ten schedule will be released at a later date.
Michigan State nonconference schedule
Nov. 5: Kentucky (Champions Classic, New York)
Nov. 10: Binghamton
Nov. 14: at Seton Hall (Gavitt Games)
Nov. 18: Charleston Southern
Nov. 25: Virginia Tech (Maui Invitational)
Nov. 26: Georgia/Dayton (Maui Invitational)
Nov. 27: Chaminade, Kansas, Brigham Young or UCLA (Maui Invitational)
Dec. 3: Duke (ACC/Big Ten Challenge)
Dec. 14: Oakland (at Little Caesars Arena)
Dec. 21: Eastern Michigan
Dec. 29/30: Western Michigan