N. Carolina, UCLA, Texas await UM hoops in 2-week span

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

A visit to defending national champion North Carolina, home contest against UCLA and road trip to Texas highlight Michigan’s nonconference schedule for the 2017-18 season that was unveiled on Monday.

The three games will be played within a two-week span, marking the most challenging stretch for the Wolverines.

But before Michigan reaches that point, it will host Grand Valley State in its lone exhibition on Nov. 3 and open its regular season at Crisler Center against North Florida on Nov. 11, when the Wolverines will hold a pregame ceremony celebrating their 2017 Big Ten tournament title.

The Wolverines will also host Central Michigan on Nov. 13 and Southern Mississippi on Nov. 16 before traveling to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational from Nov. 20-22. Michigan will play three games in three days at the tournament, which will also include host Chaminade, California, LSU, Marquette, Notre Dame, VCU and Wichita State. The bracket will be announced at a later date.

Michigan will return home to face UC Riverside on Nov. 26 and then begin its most grueling part of the nonconference slate, starting with a trip to Chapel Hill on Nov. 29 to take on North Carolina in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Due to the Big Ten tournament being held a week earlier at Madison Square Garden this season, the Wolverines will shift gears as conference play will open with a home and away game between Dec. 1-5.

Michigan will resume nonconference play with a pair of daunting contests against a pair of likely preseason top 25 teams — at home against UCLA on Dec. 9 and at Texas on Dec. 12.

Then on Dec. 16, Michigan will face Detroit Mercy and former assistant Bacari Alexander in the first game of a basketball doubleheader at Little Caesars Arena.

The Wolverines will wrap up their nonconference slate with home games against Alabama A&M on Dec. 21 and Jacksonville on Dec. 30.

All told, Michigan will face teams with the best (North Carolina, No. 1) and worst (Alabama A&M, No. 351) RPI in the nation last season, including three more ranked among the bottom 50 — Jacksonville (305), UC Riverside (330) and Southern Mississippi (331).

“We have always tried to schedule and play a competitive nonconference schedule,” Michigan coach John Beilein said in a statement. “This season continues to live up to those expectations. We are really looking forward to the challenge.”

Michigan’s Big Ten schedule will feature five home-and-home matchups with Iowa, Maryland, Northwestern, Ohio State and Purdue; home games against Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Rutgers; and road games at Michigan State, Nebraska, Penn State and Wisconsin.

All nonconference tip-off times as well as conference game dates, times, and TV designations will be announced at a later date.

Michigan’s 2017-18 nonconference schedule

Nov. 3 vs. Grand Valley State (exhibition)

Nov. 11 vs. North Florida

Nov. 13 vs. Central Michigan

Nov. 16 vs. Southern Mississippi

Nov. 20-22 Maui Invitational (bracket TBA)

Nov. 26 vs. UC Riverside

Nov. 29 at North Carolina

Dec. 9 vs. UCLA

Dec. 12 at Texas

Dec. 16 vs. Detroit Mercy at Little Caesars Arena

Dec. 21 vs. Alabama A&M

Dec. 30 vs. Jacksonville