Tom Izzo’s Spartans always have a daunting nonconference schedule. But one of their most daunting games on the docket for next season reportedly just moved back a year.
According to a report by MLive.com on Monday, the return trip of the home-and-home contract between Michigan State and Florida is being moved back one year.
The Spartans were originally supposed to hit the road to play Florida next season after hosting the Gators in 2015-16. Now, due to a scheduling crunch, the Spartans will face the Gators in the 2018-19 season, MLive’s Brendan F. Quinn reported.
The reason for this crunch, according to the report, is that the Big Ten Tournament this upcoming season is being played one week earlier than usual — from Feb. 28-March 4 — in order for the postseason tournament to be played at Madison Square Garden.
Looking at the Spartans’ 2017-18 nonconference schedule, even without the Gators, Izzo’s group will once again have its challenges. Some of the teams Michigan State will play are still in question because of how nonconference tournaments — such as the Phil Knight Invitational — play out. Nonetheless, the known oppositions are Duke and Oakland. In the Phil Knight Invitational, other teams and thus possible opponents include Arkansas, Butler, Connecticut, Florida (ironically), Georgetown, Gonzaga, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Portland, Portland State, Stanford and Texas.
Izzo’s Spartans will play three games in that Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Ore., which is slated to take place Nov. 23-26.