Michigan lost eight games last season. Five were against Big Ten foes. The others: LSU, North Carolina, and Villanova in the national championship.
With Friday’s announcement that Michigan will host North Carolina on Nov. 28 as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, the Wolverines only need to add LSU to their schedule in order to get a shot at avenging all of last year’s defeats.
The ACC and Big Ten released the matchups for the 2019 version of the Challenge, which pits the two leagues against each other over a few consecutive days in late November or early December. Michigan lost at North Carolina, 86-71, as part of the event last year.
Michigan will of course face the entire Big Ten again next season, though the Wolverines have already gotten a measure of revenge for those losses.
The Wolverines beat the other 13 league members at least once last season and won the conference tournament.
But they will certainly try to flip the script against Villanova, which beat Michigan 79-62 for the national title, and North Carolina.
Both opponents will look different the second time around. Villanova lost Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges, Donte DiVincenzo, and Omari Spellman, all of whom had college eligibility remaining, to the NBA draft. Carolina starters Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson graduated; Cameron Johnson missed the Michigan game because of injury.
Michigan, meanwhile, lost Moritz Wagner to the NBA and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Duncan Robinson to graduation.
Anyone looking for complete revenge could be disappointed as it seems highly unlikely that LSU will be added to Michigan’s schedule.
The 20-game Big Ten slate means Michigan is allowed 11 non-conference games, six of which are already known: Norfolk State, Holy Cross, George Washington, and either South Carolina or Providence as part of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament, plus Villanova and North Carolina.
That leaves five open dates, and, if recent years are any indication, John Beilein may be inclined to fill them all with “guarantee” games — home matchups with lesser opponents.
Bad memories were few and far between for Michigan last season. Next year will provide an opportunity to help alleviate some of them.
The complete ACC-Big Ten Challenge lineup is below:
Monday, Nov. 26
Minnesota at Boston College
Nebraska at Clemson
Tuesday, Nov. 27
Illinois at Notre Dame
Indiana at Duke
Michigan State at Louisville
Pittsburgh at Iowa
Virginia Tech at Penn State
North Carolina State at Wisconsin
Wednesday, Nov. 28
Purdue at Florida State
Rutgers at Miami
North Carolina at Michigan
Virginia at Maryland
Georgia Tech at Northwestern
Syracuse at Ohio State