The reigning Big Ten champions are set up for another outstanding regular season. The Wolverines's conference slate is about as easy as they come in the Big Ten.
Michigan will get two games against Illinois, Rutgers and Northwestern. They also have home-and-homes with rivals Michigan State and Ohio State, but the Wolverines' road schedule should be a breeze. They play road-only games at Purdue, Penn State, Indiana and Maryland.
Here's a breakdown of where Michigan will play its Big Ten foes:
|Home Only||Road Only||Both|
The Wolverines' schedule couldn't have put them in a better position to repeat as conference champs. Their only huge road tests are Ohio State and Michigan State, who they also face at home. They get two games against two of the Big Ten's worst. And the majority of Michigan's close games should occur in the comfort of the Crisler Center.
Now, it is the Big Ten, debatably the best conference in the country, where all teams are competitive and a number of programs will compete for the conference title. Michigan has a lot of questions entering 2014, but the schedule will give them an upper hand in B1G play. A look at Michigan's conference schedule:
|Jan. 3||at Purdue|
|Jan. 6||at Penn State|
|Jan. 13||at Ohio State|
|Jan. 20||at Rutgers|
|Feb. 1||at Michigan State|
|Feb. 8||at Indiana|
|Feb. 12||at Illinois|
|Feb. 17||Michigan State|
|Feb. 22||Ohio State|
|Feb. 28||at Maryland|
|Mar. 3||at Northwestern|
Michigan opens the conference season at home against Illinois before traveling to Purdue and Penn State. They follow those games up with a home match-up against Minnesota and a trip to Ohio State before easier contests with Northwestern and Rutgers.
The Wolverines' toughest stretch will run from late January into late February. They have games against Wisconsin and Nebraska. Then, they travel to East Lansing to play MSU, battle Iowa at home, and hit the road again to play Indiana and Illinois. The 8-game stretch is rounded out by the Spartans and Buckeyes coming to Ann Arbor.
Overall, the month-long run isn't incredibly difficult, but it will be where Michigan shows what caliber of team it is this year. From there, the Wolverines will take on Maryland and then cruise through Northwestern and Rutgers to end the conference season.
John Beilein lost a plethora of guys to the NBA in the offseason. There are some holes to fill and plenty of work to do to match how they performed last season. The schedule will be on Michigan's side though. The Wolverines' conference slate may be one of their biggest assets in 2014-15.