Tom Izzo hints MSU could face Duke, Villanova in 2021-22 schedule

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

Michigan State basketball transfer guard Tyson Walker arrived on campus last week while incoming freshmen Max Christie and Jaden Akins joined him on Monday. The Spartans look forward to a full offseason, one neither they nor any other team in the nation enjoyed last year.

Soon, incoming freshman Pierre Brooks II will join his classmates and the rest of the roster as they get to work on bouncing back in 2021-22. MSU scratched out a late-season run that earned the Spartans a spot in the First Four of the NCAA Tournament.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo

When MSU does get back on the court, its opponents are starting to take shape. The official schedule won’t be released until late in the summer, but some details are starting to emerge as coach Tom Izzo offered a few hints Tuesday during an interview on “The Audrey Dahlgren Show,” on the Spotlight Radio Network.

“(We’re) getting ready for what could be an unbelievable schedule, again,” Izzo said. “We open with Kansas. We may have Duke back here. We may have Villanova. We go to the Bahamas … and there are really good teams there.

“This could be one of the all-time schedules, which is good for everybody but the head coach.”

More: Here are Michigan State's Big Ten opponents for 2021-22 basketball season

Some of that is certain, some not as much.

Michigan State opens the season against Kansas on Nov. 9 in the Champions Classic, which will be played at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Spartans are also committed to the Battle 4 Atlantis, played Nov. 24-26 in the Bahamas with a field that includes defending national Baylor as well as Arizona State, Auburn, Syracuse, Connecticut, Virginia Commonwealth and Loyola Chicago, coached by former MSU grad assistant Drew Valentine.

The only other guarantees at this point are which Big Ten teams they’re playing and where as the conference last week released home and away opponents for 2021-22.

Of course, there’s a chance Michigan State plays Duke and Villanova, just as Izzo said they might.

The Spartans agreed to play last fall’s Champions Classic matchup with Duke in Durham, N.C., after the Blue Devils agreed to come to East Lansing for a future date. That could be this fall in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

And the Gavitt Games – which pit Big Ten and Big East teams against each other -- will resume again this fall after getting canceled last year. That could lead to the Villanova game.

None of it is official. The scheduling process is full of moving pieces. The Big Ten will schedule at least two games before the first of the year and teams must work around those, while they also don’t have much say in series like the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and Gavitt Games.

However the schedule shakes out, the Spartans will have their share of high-profile matchups.

Twitter: @mattcharboneau