Michigan’s non-conference basketball schedule is complete, and the athletic department willl be writing out a handsome check to go with it.
The school will pay out a total of $485,000 to its guarantee opponents, per documents obtained by The Daily via the Freedom of Information Act. This includes games against Appalachian State, Elon, Houston Baptist, Presbyterian and UMass Lowell, as well as an exhibition contest against Saginaw Valley State. Michigan will also make $75,000 from playing in the Battle 4 Atlantis, though its contract with the tournament organizers requires the school pay out $85,000 to a guarantee opponent for a home game sponsored by the tournament, which the Wolverines found in Elon.
The most Michigan pays out to a single opponent this season will be App State at a cool $100,000, with Houston Baptist, Presbyterian and UMass Lowell tied with $95,000 as runners up. The Wolverines will be heavy favorites in each of those games. Presbyterian held the highest KenPom ranking of those teams last season at 179 and finished with a 20-16 record in the Big South.
Under John Beilein, Michigan traditionally didn’t go out of its way to schedule tough non-conference games. Juwan Howard’s first year will largely keep to that mold, though there are a few exceptions.
The Wolverines go to Louisville, expected to be one of the top teams in the country, for a December Big Ten/ACC Challenge game. They’ll also face stiff competition in the Bahamas, with Iowa State as their first opponent, followed by the winner of Alabama-North Carolina. Their third game could be against anyone on the other side of the bracket, which features Gonzaga, Seton Hall, Oregon and Southern MIss.
In a scheduling quirk, Michigan could play the Ducks three times in two years, as the two meet in Ann Arbor on Dec. 14 in the first leg of a home-and-home. The Wolverines also play Creighton, which finished with a solid record in the Big East last year, at home in the Gavitt Games.