East Lansing — Michigan State’s schedule says its first game is Oct. 30 when it takes on Northern Michigan in an exhibition, a week before the regular season begins in Indianapolis against Kansas in the Champions Classic.
But, that won’t be the first time the Spartans compete against a team from another school.
On Oct. 27, Michigan State will travel to Minneapolis to play Gonzaga in a closed scrimmage, a source confirmed to The News on Monday.
It’s a change in Tom Izzo’s normal routine as the Spartans typically play two exhibition games at home and forgo the closed scrimmage. Last season, Michigan State played Georgia in a third exhibition as teams were allowed a third game if proceeds were donated to charity.
So, instead of seeing the Spartans twice before they open the regular season, the matchup with the Bulldogs will be closed. That means the schools cannot promote the games while media and fans are also not allowed to attend.
While that might not be ideal for fans, it can often be far better for the teams involved as facing top competition is often better than taking on a Division II school.
Gonzaga and Michigan State both finished last season ranked in the top 15 as the Bulldogs were 32-5 and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament while Michigan State (30-5) lost in the second round against Syracuse.