Izzo: “I don’t like not playing (UM) twice”

Michigan State and Michigan will meet just once in 2015-16 as the Big Ten schedule rotates

The Big Ten released the men’s basketball conference schedule for the 2015-16 season Thursday and it came with just one Michigan State-Michigan meeting.

The rivals will square off in Ann Arbor next season for the lone meeting, which also was the case in 2007-08 and 2008-09.

After practice Thursday, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said he would like to see the rivalry protected as a home-and-home series every season.

“I would like to see it protected,” Izzo said. “I just don’t know if they can do that as easily as they can with football. But yes I would (want it protected). I think the fans would, I think the media would.”

Asked if Michigan State was considering scheduling a nonconference game against the Wolverines to give two games with their rivals, Izzo said that had not come up with MSU athletic director Mark Hollis or Michigan coach John Beilein.

”We did it one year and I don’t know if it worked so good,” Izzo said. “I don’t like not playing them twice, but I don’t like a lot of things about this schedule and about these number of teams.

”You just got to do what they do, but it’s hard to look at that because you don’t know what will happen the next year.”

Michigan State and Michigan most recently met in a nonconference setting on Jan. 11, 1997, when Michigan State won 69-66.

With the addition of Rutgers and Maryland to the conference, the schedules annually have five home-and-home sets with eight teams it meets once – four on the road and four at home.

For Michigan State, that means two-game series with Iowa, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers and Wisconsin. It will have away games at Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern and Purdue and host Illinois, Indiana, Maryland and Nebraska for its one-game meetings.

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