Rugged nonconference slate kicks off Michigan State basketball season

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

East Lansing — Michigan State has never shied away from playing a difficult schedule, and that won’t change this season. 

With games against Gonzaga, Kentucky and Villanova highlighting the docket, Michigan State’s 2022-23 schedule was released on Thursday, the same day the Big Ten announced schedules for the entire conference.

Coach Tom Izzo and Michigan State open their season Nov. 7 against Northern Arizona in East Lansing.

The Spartans, once again, load up early. After hosting Northern Arizona on Nov. 7 in the season opener, they have a Nov. 11 date against Gonzaga aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln in San Diego followed by meeting with Kentucky in the Champions Classic on Nov. 15 in Indianapolis.

The road continues three days later in a home game with Villanova on No. 18 as part of the Gavitt Games before Michigan State heads to Portland, Oregon, for the PK85 and an opening game against Alabama on Nov. 24. Connecticut or Oregon would come next with the potential to play North Carolina, Villanova, Iowa State or Portland in the final game.

When the Spartans return from Portland, they’ll head to Notre Dame to take on the Fighting Irish Nov. 30 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Michigan State rounds out the nonconference schedule at home against Brown (Dec. 10), Oakland (Dec. 21) and Buffalo (Dec. 30)

As for the Big Ten portion of the schedule, Michigan State hosts Northwestern on Dec. 4 and travels to Penn State Dec. 7 for its two early conference games. A home date with Nebraska on Jan. 3 gets things going after the new year, and our days later, the Spartans host Michigan. The return trip to Ann Arbor for the rivalry is Feb. 18 at Crisler Center.

The Spartans close the regular season against Ohio State on March 4 at the Breslin Center.

Twitter: @mattcharboneau

Michigan State basketball schedule

Nov. 1 vs. Grand Valley State (exhibition)

Nov. 7 vs. Northern Arizona

Nov. 11 vs. Gonzaga (Armed Forces Classic), San Diego, Calif.

Nov. 15 vs. Kentucky (Champions Classic), Indianapolis

Nov. 18 vs. Villanova (Gavitt Games)

Nov. 24 vs. Alabama (Phil Knight Invitational) Portland, Ore.

Nov. 25 vs. UConn/Oregon (Phil Knight Invitational) Portland, Ore.

Nov. 27 TBA (Phil Knight Invitational) Portland, Ore. (North Carolina/Portland/Villanova/Iowa State)

Nov. 30 at Notre Dame (ACC/Big Ten Challenge)

Dec. 4 vs. Northwestern*

Dec. 7 at Penn State *

Dec. 10 vs. Brown

Dec. 21 vs. Oakland

Dec. 30 vs. Buffalo

Jan. 3 vs. Nebraska*

Jan. 7 vs. Michigan*

Jan. 10 at Wisconsin *

Jan. 13 at Illinois *

Jan. 16 Purdue* 

Jan. 19 Rutgers* 

Jan. 22 at Indiana *

Jan. 26 Iowa* 

Jan. 29 at Purdue * 

Feb. 4 vs. Rutgers *

Feb. 7 Maryland * 

Feb. 12 at Ohio State *

Feb. 15 Minnesota *

Feb. 18 at Michigan *

Feb. 21 Indiana *

Feb. 25 at Iowa * 

Feb. 28 at Nebraska *

March 4 Ohio State *