ANN ARBOR — A return to the Maui Invitational, a Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchup at defending national champion North Carolina, a home tilt with UCLA and a road contest at Texas highlight the University of Michigan men’s basketball program’s 2017-18 non-conference schedule, announced today (Monday, July 17).
After a month’s worth of practices, the Wolverines will play their lone exhibition against Grand Valley State (Friday, Nov. 3). The regular season opens eight days later as U-M hosts North Florida (Saturday, Nov. 11) in a Maui Jim Maui Invitational Mainland game. The season opener will be highlighted with a pregame ceremony and banner unveiling celebrating U-M’s 2017 Big Ten Tournament championship.
A pair of home games against Central Michigan (Monday, Nov. 13), which also will be U-M’s Military Appreciation night, and Southern Mississippi (Thursday, Nov. 16) are slated before U-M heads out to Maui, Hawai’i, for the 2017 Maui Invitational (Nov. 20-22).
U-M is scheduled to play three games in three days at the annual Thanksgiving tournament held at the Lahaina Civic Center. The Maui bracket will be announced at a later day, however, participating teams include Chaminade, California, LSU, Marquette, Notre Dame, VCU and Wichita State.
“The Maui Invitational is going to give us an early season challenge,” said U-M head coach John Beilein. “The trip will not only serve as a great bonding experience, but three games in three days against quality opponents will only serve us well preparing for the Big Ten and postseason.”
Following the holiday tournament, the Wolverines head back to Ann Arbor to face UC Riverside (Sunday, Nov. 26) before heading to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to face defending national champion North Carolina (Wednesday, Nov. 29) in U-M’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchup.
With the Big Ten Tournament (Feb. 28-March 4) held a week earlier at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the league will open conference play with a home and away game scheduled Friday through Tuesday, Dec. 1-5. Dates, opponents and designations will be determined at a later date.
Continuing its key non-conference stretch, U-M hosts Pac-12 perennial power UCLA on Star Wars Day on Saturday, Dec. 9, at Crisler before traveling to Austin, Texas, for a return game with Texas on Tuesday, Dec. 12. The week closes with a matchup against former U-M assistant Bacari Alexander’s University of Detroit Mercy Titans on Saturday, Dec. 16, in a neutral site game at the newly constructed Little Caesars Arena — home to the Detroit Red Wings and Pistons. In fact, U-M’s game with Detroit Mercy will be the first collegiate game played in the new arena.
“It is then exciting to play North Carolina, two December Big Ten games, UCLA, Texas and Detroit all in a row as well,” added Beilein. “It will be great for our fans and important to our strength of schedule. We plan on making the most of it.”
Prior to completing the rest of the Big Ten schedule, the Wolverines host Alabama A&M (Thursday, Dec. 21) and Jacksonville (Saturday, Dec. 30) to close the non-conference schedule.
“We have always tried to schedule and play a competitive non-conference schedule,” said Beilein. “This season continues to live up to those expectations. We are really looking forward to the challenge.”
All conference game dates, times and television designations have not been finalized and will be released later this summer.