The ACC-Big Ten Challenge altered Michigan basketball's scheduling plan
John Beilein thought he had a good plan for Michigan’s 2011-12 basketball schedule. Then, the ACC-Big Ten Challenge almost forced him to rip the whole thing up.
The Michigan basketball team had been banking on a home game for the Challenge. The Wolverines played at Clemson a year ago and the usual pattern is alternating home and away games.
But when the leagues released the home and away schools — specific matchups should be announced soon — Beilein discovered his team will play on the road again this year.
“We were planning on a home game so when you’re scheduling, trying to get another big home game, it’s easier to schedule a game on the road and have a home coming back,” Beilein said. “Everything we’ve done (in the past), whether it was Duke, Connecticut or Kansas, this threw a wrench into that because we were about to do an away game to get a home coming back next year and now we have to get a home game.
“It hasn’t been easy.”
Beilein said he is still looking to fill a marquee game slot in Crisler Arena, which will have a new scoreboard and a slightly new look this season after the first set of renovations to the building is finished. It also means he is again potentially looking at playing that marquee game in the middle of the Big Ten schedule.
Michigan played both Kansas and Connecticut the past three seasons in the middle of Big Ten play.
His philosophy has always been to play one marquee non-conference team at home and one on the road in addition to an early-season tournament. This year, Michigan will go to a loaded Maui Invitational featuring Duke, Memphis, Georgetown, Tennessee, Kansas, UCLA and Chaminade.
“That could be four monster games in a row,” Beilein said.
One non-conference game Beilein did confirm was playing Oakland at The Palace at Auburn Hills this season, although the date of that game has not been announced.
He also said he wouldn’t rule out something out-of-the-ordinary, like Michigan State's game against North Carolina this season on an aircraft carrier.
“We’d embrace any type of opportunity where we could do something unique, that has fan appeal, TV appeal,” Beilein said. “Michigan gets very high ratings with TV games, so we’ll look at all of those kinds of opportunities as the program continues to grow.”