Michigan Basketball: Scheduling Problems

When a conference expands, there are always many factors at play. Rutgers and Maryland will join the Big Ten in 2014, and a major reason for their addition is the East Coast television market. Neither offer much in terms of competitive sports programs, though Maryland usually fields good basketball teams. The Terrapins have had a storied tradition in basketball, but recent teams have failed to advance past the second round of the NCAA tournament after a National Championship and Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2002 and 2003. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney also mentioned the chance to help the floundering athletic departments of each respective university, while gaining a market back.

The Big Ten has moved further and further away from its Midwestern roots. It is a sad moment for traditionalists who view Big Ten football and basketball as an extrapolation of their life values: hard-working, blue-collar teams that went out and got the job done.

Penn State, despite its distance from the other schools, was a reasonable addition back in 1993. The school fit academically and had the same general vibe as the other universities. Nebraska was another logical step, a school that was actually in the Midwest, instead of the center-east of the country that colleges like Michigan call home.

But there is one major problem with the addition of Rutgers and Maryland, one that goes far beyond whether they fit into the Big Ten or not.

This problem lies within a fundamental change in Big Ten basketball. As reported by the Iowa City Gazette, the Big Ten basketball schedule will no longer feature protected rivalries. These rivalry games have previously been guaranteed at least two games a season, but this will no longer be the case.

This means a world where Michigan and Michigan State could only play once a year. Other big games like Purdue-Indiana will now look to the luck of the draw in terms of playing each other twice a year.

This is especially prevalent when talking about the upcoming game between the Wolverines and the Spartans at Crisler. For Michigan State, it is a chance to right the wrong that occurred on their home floor. For Michigan, it is a chance to sweep the in-state rival to claim supremacy for the year.

This isn’t like Big Ten football where teams have to wait 364 days to play each other again. Basketball is a longer season that is propelled by revenge stories, the reason ESPN features a week called Rivalry week. If you lose one game, you are guaranteed a second chance. Taking this away means agony for college hoops fans, as anyone who has attended a Wolverines-Spartans matchup will attest that it is the best atmosphere of the season. No fan base is going to get very riled up to play Maryland or Rutgers, because there is no history of bad blood there.

The trip out to the new schools is another problem to deal with. John Beilein recently mentioned the frustration of having to play four games in 10 days, with three of the games being on the road. He has worked to address his concerns with the Big Ten office, but the league has to try and accommodate every coach.

It will be a tough day for the Wolverines when they have to travel to Maryland, and then come back and play their only game of the year against the Spartans at the Breslin Center. One can only hope that someone has the sense to tell the Big Ten that if they want a television draw, having rivalry games twice a year is the way to do it.

Comments

  1. WOLVERINE says

    ****^^^^IF IT WERE ACTUALLY UP TO ME, I WOULD ACTUALLY KICK OUT NEBRASKA, PENN STATE, AND RUTGERS + MARYLAND AND ACTUALLY HAVE THE NAME THE BIG10 ACTUALLY REFLECT THE NUMBER OF SCHOOLS IT WOULD HAVE!!!!^^^^^**** THIS WOULD APPLY TOWARD MOST SPORTS (WITH THE EXCEPTION OF MEN’S ICE HOCKEY IN WHICH THE CCHA WOULD BE REVIVED AND WATER POLO [ECAC] — MEN’S & WOMEN’S). ALSO, I WOULD STATE A RULE THAT NO CONFERENCE CAN HAVE MORE THAN 10 MEMBERS (AND AT THE MINIMUM MUST HAVE 8), NO SPLIT DIVISIONS, NO CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES (THIS IS ESPECIALLY DIRECTED TOWARDS MEN’S FOOTBALL), NO SCHEDULING OF 1-AA SCHOOLS (THIS ALSO IS ESPECIALLY DIRECTED AT FOOTBALL). FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T SEEN THIS (^ROB WHITE^ IS THE EXCEPTION HERE), HERE IS A SAMPLE OF HOW THE POWER CONFERENCES (AGAIN FOR MOST OF THE SPORTS, EXCEPT THOSE MENTIONED THAT HAVE UNIQUE ORIGINS, CIRCUMSTANCES, ETC.):
    *BIG TEN CONFERENCE*:
    ILLINOIS
    INDIANA
    IOWA
    MICHIGAN
    MICHIGAN STATE
    MINNESOTA
    NORTHWESTERN
    OHIO STATE
    PURDUE
    WISCONSIN
    HEARTLAND-10 CONFERENCE:
    COLORADO
    IOWA STATE
    KANSAS
    KANSAS STATE
    MISSOURI
    NEBRASKA
    NORTHERN ILLINOIS
    OKLAHOMA
    OKLAHOMA STATE
    SMU
    SEC:
    ALABAMA
    AUBURN
    FLORIDA
    GEORGIA
    KENTUCKY
    LSU
    MISSISSIPPI
    MISSISSIPPI STATE
    TENNESSEE
    VANDERBILT

    PAC-10 CONFERENCE:
    ARIZONA
    ARIZONA STATE
    CALIFORNIA
    OREGON
    OREGON STATE
    STANFORD
    UCLA
    USC
    WASHINGTON
    WASHINGTON STATE
    SWC:
    ARKANSAS
    BAYLOR
    LOUISIANA-MONROE
    NEW MEXICO STATE
    NORTH TEXAS
    TCU
    TEXAS
    TEXAS A&M
    TEXAS TECH
    TULSA
    BIG EAST CONFERENCE:
    ARMY
    BOSTON COLLEGE
    BUFFALO
    CONNECTICUT
    EAST CAROLINA
    MARSHALL
    RUTGERS
    SYRACUSE
    TEMPLE
    WEST VIRGINIA
    ACC:
    CLEMSON
    DUKE
    GEORGIA TECH
    MARYLAND
    NORTH CAROLINA
    NORTH CAROLINA STATE
    VIRGINIA
    VIRGINIA TECH
    WAKE FOREST
    SUNBELT CONFERENCE:
    CENTRAL FLORIDA
    FAU
    FIU
    HOUSTON
    LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE
    MIAMI (FLA.)
    RICE
    SOUTH FLORIDA
    SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI
    TROY STATE
    WAC:
    BOISE STATE
    FRESNO STATE
    HAWAII
    IDAHO
    NEVADA
    SAN DIEGO STATE
    SAN JOSE STATE
    UNLV
    MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE:
    AIR FORCE
    BYU
    COLORADO STATE
    NEW MEXICO
    UTAH
    UTAH STATE
    UTEP
    WYOMING
    CONFERENCE-USA:
    ARKANSAS STATE
    CINCINNATI
    LOUISIANA TECH
    LOUISVILLE
    MEMPHIS
    MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE
    PITTSBURGH
    TULANE
    UAB
    WESTERN KENTUCKY
    MAC:
    AKRON
    BALL STATE
    BOWLING GREEN (STATE?)
    CENTRAL MICHIGAN
    EASTERN MICHIGAN
    KENT STATE
    MIAMI OF OHIO
    OHIO
    TOLEDO
    WESTERN MICHIGAN
    FINALLY . . .

    INDEPENDENTS (NOT A PART OF ANY CONFERENCE!!!!):
    FLORIDA STATE
    NAVY
    NOTRE DAME
    PENN STATE
    SOUTH CAROLINA
    EVERYONE, KEEP UP THE PRESSURE!!!! THE KEY IS UNITE AND TRANCEND THE FANBASES (WHO FEEL LIKE I OR SIMILAR TO MYSELF) AND TO COORDINATE THROUGH PETITIONS, FAXING, PHONE-BANKING, LOBBYING, LETTER WRITING, EMAIL, AND IF NECESSARY AS A LAST RESORT BOYCOTTING —> THE UNIVERSITY/COLLEGE PRESIDENTS/CHANCELLORS, THE ATHLETICS-DIRECTORS, THE CONFERENCE COMMISSIONERS, AND THE NCAA (I.E. NCAA GOVERNING BODY). REMEMBER, THE MORES THINGS CHANGE THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME (KEY IS TO GET IT BACK PRE-1992 BUT IN THE 1980’S REALITY/MENTALITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
    WHEN I HAVE TIME AND ENERGY I CAN TRY TO FIND THE CONTACT INFO FOR THE AFOREMENTIONED ENTITIES ABOVE (BUT IT IS VERY ARDUOUS, TIME-CONSUMING!!!!!)!!!!!!!!
    VERY SINCERELY & BEST REGARDS,
    W-O-L-V-E-R-I-N-E

  2. Meral Kazan says

    Adam
    Can you post BIG 10 commissioner Jim Delaney’s e-mail address or phone number? So the fans can write or call to him.

    • Adam Renuart says

      The only information I could find was posted on a Michigan State thread on 247sports.com, so I’m not sure how accurate it is. Hopefully there can be some pushback.

  3. says

    Good take Adam. I don’t like the unbalanced schedules. Every year some teams gain an advantage from them, while other teams are punished with a more difficult schedule.

    • Adam Renuart says

      Michigan won at Ohio State this year, but I think having the only game of the season in Columbus speaks to your point about an advantage. It was great for Michigan to overcome the Buckeyes, but it wasn’t expected, seeing as how it had been 11 years since the Wolverines had won there.

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