It took 53 years, but Michigan is finally going to take on Slippery Rock.
No, not at the Big House, where the Rocks’ football scores have been faithfully announced since 1959, but at Crisler Arena. The cult-favorite Division II school will come to the Crisler Center to open Michigan’s basketball season on Nov. 9.
Slippery Rock has played two football games at Michigan Stadium, losing to Shippensburg State in 1979 and Wayne State in 1981, but they’ve never faced the Wolverines in football or basketball.
The matchup is one of the highlights of Michigan’s schedule, which was released Thursday. The Wolverines also play all four directional state schools this season: Northern Michigan in a Nov. 1 exhibition game, then hosting Western Michigan (Dec. 4), Eastern Michigan (Dec. 20) and Central Michigan (Dec. 29) during the regular season.
The Wolverines host a Preseason NIT regional on Nov. 12-13, playing some combination of Cleveland State, Bowling Green and IUPUI. If Michigan wins its two games, as expected, it will advance to Madison Square Garden for a national semifinal on Nov. 21.
North Carolina State also comes to the Crisler Center for a Big Ten/ACC Challenge game on Nov. 27.
The Big Ten schedule starts on Jan. 3 at Northwestern.
The toughest part of the conference schedule comes in early February, when the Wolverines play at Indiana, play host to Ohio State and then travel to Wisconsin and Michigan State in a span of 10 days.
The Spartans make their return visit to Ann Arbor on either March 2 or 3, depending on TV scheduling.
Michigan doesn’t travel to Iowa and Nebraska this season. Minnesota and Wisconsin don’t come to Crisler.
The Big Ten tournament runs from March 14-17 in Chicago, and the Wolverines will be hoping to for a short trip to open the NCAA tournament.
The Palace is playing host for opening-weekend matchups, March 21 and 23.