Michigan State announces full non-conference schedule

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Over the years Michigan State has been known to put together challenging non-conference schedules, and that is once again the case as the Spartans revealed their slate for the 2015-16 season Friday. Of Michigan State’s 13 non-conference games seven will be played in East Lansing, and their lone road game will be part of an interesting trip to Boston.

Among Michigan State’s home games are matchups with Louisville (December 2 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge) and Florida (December 12). The Spartans will play Kansas at the Champions Classic November 17 in Chicago, and they’re one of eight teams playing in the challenging Wooden Legacy in late-November.

Michigan State opens that event with Boston College and will play either UC Irvine or Boise State (both NCAA tournament participants last season) the following day. Anchoring the other side of the bracket is Arizona, which has reached the Elite Eight in each of the last two seasons. As for Michigan State’s lone road game: that will be played at Northeastern December 19 as part of a Michigan State/Northeastern “series” (women’s basketball and hockey will also make the trip to Boston for games to be played over a two-day period).

All things considered, head coach Tom Izzo has a slate that should not only prepare his team for Big Ten play but also help the Spartans from a seeding standpoint come March.

“When you combine the non-conference schedule with what I expect to be a deeper Big Ten in the upcoming season, we will certainly be tested early and often throughout the year,” Izzo said in the release.

Michigan State, which is taking a trip to Italy (beginning today), returns three starters from last season’s Final Four team. But the two personnel losses, guard Travis Trice and forward Branden Dawson, were significant contributors to that run to Indianapolis.