Men's basketball releases 2014-15 non-conference schedule

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By Daniel Feldman, Daily Sports Editor
Published July 15, 2014

The Michigan men’s basketball team announced its 2014-15 non-conference schedule Tuesday afternoon, including an ACC/Big Ten Challenge showdown at home against Syracuse on Dec. 2.

Though some games have known for a while — the Syracuse matchup, the final game of the Wolverines’ home-and-home series against Arizona on Dec. 13 in Tucson, Ariz. and a third trip in as many years to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, for the Legends Classic starting Nov. 24 — the rest of their 13 non-conference games, including nine home contests, were announced in full.

Michigan will play either VCU or Oregon on Nov. 24 in Brooklyn, then Villanova the next day.

The team will open with an exhibition game Nov. 10 against Wayne State, followed five days later by its first regular-season game against Hillsdale College.

The Wolverines will host two more games on Nov. 17 and 20 before heading to New York out of the Ann Arbor Regional of the 2014 Progressive Legends Classic. Those matchups will be announced at a later date in the summer.

Though those opponents aren’t known yet, Michigan coach John Beilein voiced excitement about the following games in New York.

"Each game provides our young team with different challenges before heading into Big Ten play,” Beilein said in a press release Tuesday. “We are thrilled to be going back to Brooklyn and the Barclays Center for games with VCU or Oregon and then Villanova. All three are perennial NCAA Tournament teams and those games will be a terrific opportunity to be tested early.”

Michigan will meet Nicholls State after the Thanksgiving break on Nov. 29 before welcoming Syracuse to Crisler Center. The game will mark the first matchup between the two squads since Michigan defeated the Orange in the 2013 Final Four.

Before the Wolverines’ play their next marquee opponent, Arizona, they will host New Jersey Institute of Technology and Eastern Michigan. Those two contests will take place on Dec. 6 and 9, respectively, in Ann Arbor.

Following the finale of its home-and-home series with Arizona on Dec. 13, Michigan will have SMU in town in the first installment of a home-and-home series against the Mustangs on the 20th.

With such coaching prowess coming to town in Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim and SMU’s Larry Brown, Beilein expects the Crisler Center crowd to be wild. Additionally, Beilein expects a similar atmosphere in Arizona.

“Having the opportunity to host two Hall of Fame coaches like Syracuse's Jim Boeheim and SMU's Larry Brown gives us two significant home games which will no doubt provide electric atmospheres at Crisler Center,” Beilein said. “If our return game at Arizona is anything like last year's thrilling game, it could be one the best college basketball games of the season. Once again, we expect our overall strength of a schedule will be one of the best in the NCAA."

Michigan will round out its non-conference schedule on Dec. 22 against Coppin State.

The Wolverines’ Big Ten schedule will be released later this summer. Michigan will have home-and-home series against Illinois, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State and Rutgers, single away games against Indiana, Maryland, Penn State and Purdue and single home games against Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin.