Throughout Tom Izzo’s tenure at Michigan State, he’s taken on a variety of challenges in non-conference play. Whether it’s series against some of the best programs in the country or neutral site contests on aircraft carriers or at an Air Force base in Germany, the Spartans have consistently been a program that will put together a solid non-conference schedule.
However there is one place where Izzo has yet to coach a game: The Palestra in Philadelphia. At Big Ten media day earlier this week the topic came up, with Izzo saying the following about the possibility of playing a game at one of the most storied buildings in college basketball according to Joe Rexrode of the Lansing State Journal:
“They all tell me I’ve got to get to the Palestra,” Izzo said Thursday at Big Ten media day of the legendary arena in Philadelphia. “So I’ve got (Villanova coach) Jay (Wright), I’ve got my buddy at St. Joe’s (Phil Martelli). One of these years, I’m gonna be dumb enough to do it.”
With the increase in neutral site games over the years, be it through in-season tournaments or one-off “made for TV” games, programs are having to get more creative in putting together their non-conference schedules. Michigan State will open its season with a game at Navy on November 14, and the Spartans will also play against Duke in the Champions Classic four days later.
The Spartans are also part of the Orlando Classic field, which includes NCAA tournament participants Kansas and Tennessee, and they’ll visit Notre Dame in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.