Michigan State Basketball: Spartans possible 2020-21 non-conference opponents

Michigan State Basketball has plenty of uncertainty regarding its non-conference schedule for 2020-21.

Many if not all, college basketball fans at this point in the year would know their favorite team’s upcoming schedules but the 2020-2021 season and the scheduling of games are still undecided. The NCAA gave college basketball teams the green light to start their seasons on Nov. 25.

However, Michigan State Basketball and virtually all college basketball programs are working hard to navigate these unchartered waters to schedule their games, especially their non-conference games for this upcoming season.

Practice officially starts on Oct. 14 for the Spartans and some insight and perspective can be found from creditable sources on who and when Michigan State will play in non-conference play. Tom Izzo and his team will be scheduled for 27 games this season, not including the Big Ten tournament and the NCAA tournament which were both canceled last season.

Last season, for example, Michigan State played 11 non-conference games, this year it looks like the Spartans will only play seven non-conference games as well as 20 regular-season Big Ten games which will be the same as last season. So who will the Spartans play in those seven games?

Michigan State is scheduled to play Duke in the Champions Classic in Chicago, IL. However, it appears that the game will still be played but more than likely the Champions Classic will be held at the ESPN complex in Orlando, FL. The Spartans will also likely still play in the Orlando Invitational as part of an eight-team tournament, in which Michigan State will play three games.

Lastly, it still appears that the ACC/Big Ten Challenge will still be played sometime in early December. In total, the Spartans are looking at five non-conference games that are looking at this time, will be scheduled for Izzo and his team to play in this season’s non-conference play.

It is still likely that the Big Ten and Big East will still schedule the Gavitt Games again this season in which Michigan State if the Gavitt Games are played, will be a participant. That is a total of six of the seven non-conference games. The other game may be played against an in-state team like Oakland. If all that were to happen the non-conference schedule could look like something like this.

What Michigan State Basketball’s non-conference schedule could look like

November 25: Boise State in the first round of the Orlando Invitational.

November 26: Xavier or Belmont in the Semifinals of the Orlando Invitational.

November 27: Gonzaga or Auburn in the Finals of the Orlando Invitational.

Nothing is 100% for certain but Jon Rothstein of CBSSports is a pretty reliable source and there is also a team who backed out of the non-conference tournament so there is another possible opponent that the Spartans may face in the opening round, but it looks like Michigan State will open up the season in Orlando.

The Spartans could open up against Boise State for example and then play a team like Xavier in the semifinals. Then Michigan State could have an excellent matchup with Gonzaga or Auburn for the opportunity to be the tournament champions.

December 1: Duke in Champions Classic to be played in Orlando, Fl.

Soon after the Orlando Invitational, the Spartans appear to be set to play the Blue Devils in the annual Champions Classic. This should be a great and entertaining matchup between these two historical college basketball powerhouses.

December 8: Virginia in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge to be played possibly in Charlottesville, VA.

It seems according to another report by CBSSports Jon Rothstein that the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge will take on Dec. 8 and 9. The games will also take place on college campuses it seems and Michigan State hosted their ACC/Big Ten Challenge game last season and more than likely will play a high profile ACC team that they have not played in a long time.

Virginia fits that profile and the Spartans may be playing them this season in the annual challenge between the two high profile conferences.

December 12: Villanova in the Gavitt Games to be played in possibly in East Lansing, Mi.

The Spartans played at Seton Hall last season and they appear to be a participant in this season’s games but there has been no definite and or credible source that the Gavitt Games will be played this year. If the games are played, look for a highly anticipated matchup against a team like Villanova and the game to be played in East Lansing in December.

December 18: Oakland to be played East Lansing, MI.

Finally for the seventh game of non-conference play prior to the start of Big Ten regular-season play, look for the Spartans to host a team like the Golden Grizzlies due to them having a prior agreement to play one another, close proximity in location between the schools, and the good working relationship that Oakland and Michigan State have with one another.