UM adds South Carolina to hoops schedule

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
John Beilein and the Wolverines will face South Carolina in a home-and-home series with the teams playing in Columbia on Nov. 23.

Michigan's nonconference basketball schedule is improved, if not overly brutal.

The university released the schedule Wednesday afternoon, and while much of it has been previously reported, there were some new developments.

Michigan and South Carolina have entered into a home-and-home, with the teams playing in Columbia on Nov. 23.

Mid-major Mount St. Mary's of the Northeastern Conference also will visit Crisler Center on Nov. 26. The Mountaineers last made the NCAA Tournament in 2014.

As previously reported, Michigan starts a home-and-home with UCLA this season, playing Dec. 10 on the road, and will get Texas at home Dec. 6. Virginia Tech is Michigan's ACC-Big Ten Challenge opponent, at home Nov. 30.

In the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York, Michigan gets Marquette on Nov. 17 and either SMU or Pittsburgh in the championship or consolation game the next day.

Curiously missing from the schedule is Cincinnati, which was to start a home-and-home with basketball this season as part of a joint agreement between the two football programs.

"We were successful in scheduling some very competitive home-and-home games for 2016," Michigan coach John Beilein said in a statement. "These games not only guarantee a strong RPI but provide our UM fans some exciting nonconference games in Ann Arbor. These types of opponents have always proved to be excellent preparation for our our tough Big Ten schedule."

Michigan was criticized by some analysts last season for its weak nonconference schedule, particularly at home, which featured only one marquee opponent in Xavier. Michigan also played Division II Northern Michigan as its opening regular-season game, and had a resoundingly underwhelming four-game stretch in December against Delaware State, Northern Kentucky, Youngstown State and Bryant.

It hurt the Wolverines' RPI, and they just got into the NCAA Tournament as a Dayton play-in game participant, despite having just beaten Big Ten regular-season champion Indiana in the conference tournament.

Here's this season's complete nonconference schedule:

Nov. 4: vs. Armstrong State (exhibition)

Nov. 11: vs. Howard (2K Classic), at home

Nov. 13: vs. IUPUI (2K Classic), at home

Nov. 17: vs. Marquette (2K Classic), at Madison Square Garden in New York

Nov. 18: vs. SMU or Pittsburgh (2K Classic), at Madison Square Garden in New York

Nov. 23: at South Carolina

Nov. 26: vs. Mount St. Mary's

Nov. 30: vs. Virginia Tech (ACC-Big Ten Challenge), at home

Dec. 3: vs. Kennesaw State

Dec. 6: vs. Texas

Dec. 10: at UCLA

Dec. 13: vs. Central Arkansas

Dec. 17: vs. Maryland Eastern Shore

Dec. 22: vs. Furman

Michigan legend Cazzie Russell is an assistant coach at Armstrong State and asked Beilein to use the Wolverines' exhibition to play the school for Savannah, Georgia.

Times haven't been announced for the games yet, and as for the Big Ten schedule, times and dates haven't been announced. But it is known Michigan will have five home-and-home matchups (Michigan State, Indiana, Illinois, Nebraska and Wisconsin) and will play the other eight teams once each (Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue on the road; Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern and Rutgers at home).