What We Know About Michigan State’s 2021-2022 Calendar
Hopefully this season we get to know the Michigan State basketball schedule before November.
Last year, you may remember, COVID-19 forced schools to tear up their schedules and start over a few weeks before the season in order to comply with the various viral restrictions.
This year, we hope to be able to return to a more normal (and predictable) schedule in 2021-2022.
This calendar will likely not be released in full until the end of the summer. But we already know a lot about it, as it is shaping up to be a generally difficult timeline.
Here’s what we know about the 2021-2022 Spartans schedule:
November 9: Champions Classic vs. Kansas, Madison Square Garden
The annual double opening season title moves to New York this year, as Michigan State faces Kansas.
Kansas finished 21-9 last season, but add a top-tier transfer to Arizona State’s Remy Martin and return four starters and could be one of the top five preseason teams.
November 24-26: Battle 4 Atlantis
Michigan’s annual preseason tournament is nothing short of a challenge this year, with a field from Baylor, Syracuse, Arizona State, Auburn, Connecticut, Loyola and VCU.
So here is the reigning national champion, plus four other high-level programs that have mostly seen recent success, as well as two solid mid-majors. The Spartans will play three of those teams.
These tournaments usually start with a fairly manageable game, but there are no freebies in this area. The only guess as to how they’ll set the range is to put Michigan State and Baylor on opposite sides for a potential championship game. And preparing the Spartans for a game against Drew Valentine and Loyola could also have an appeal, pitting Tom Izzo against a former graduate assistant and brother of one of his best players.
Izzo dropped an interesting note on The Audrey Dahlgren Show Tuesday: that Villanova “could be” on the Michigan state calendar.
A game against the 2016 and 2018 national champions will likely be part of the Gavitt Games, a Big Ten-Big East challenge series. It makes sense: The two would be a big televised draw, Michigan State and Villanova have only faced each other once since 1989.
Villanova is once again formidable as point guard Collin Gillespie is set to come back from a late season with three other starters.
If this game does happen, bet it would be on the road (for a reason detailed in the next section).
Duke at home?
It looks like the state of Michigan probably got a good deal by offering to go to Cameron Indoor Stadium for last year’s Champions Classic game.
When the game could not be played safely at a neutral site, the Spartans offered to play the game on the road in exchange for Duke playing a future game at the Breslin Center.
The Spartans took the win in an empty Cameron, and now Duke will travel to play in a full Breslin center. Izzo suggested this week that the game could be played this season.
Duke was down last year but will predictably reload with a solid freshman class, led by Paolo Banchero, the third rookie overall.
If the game is at home and part of the ACC / Big Ten Challenge, expect the Spartans to look to make up for that by having the Villanova game on the road.
All the others
If the Spartans play Villanova and Duke in these conference challenges, they’ll have five games left on their 11-game roster to plan on their own.
After that Kansas-Duke-Villanova-Bahamas glove (if it goes that way), you can bet the last five games will be winnable against a midrange competition. Oakland will make its annual appearance on the calendar, and CBS Sports reported earlier this month that Toledo will play a game at the Breslin Center. Don’t expect big names among the rest.