Gophers given daunting 5-game schedule to finish Big Ten play


On Tuesday, the conference also announced its Preseason All-Big Ten Volleyball team, which had plenty of Nittany Lion representatives.

The Big Ten tournament will be played a week earlier than normal this upcoming season, so all conference teams will play two league games in the first week of December.

Maryland was voted to finish first as they defend their 2016 Big Ten Championship and undefeated B1G season. On the flip side, Michigan will have to make the trek to Michigan State, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Penn State without those four teams having to pay the Wolverines a visit. Due to the Big Ten tournament being played in Madison Square Garden, the conference has been forced to end the regular season a week early, and condense its schedule a bit. We will prepare for each game like always, one at a time. Of its last nine Big Ten games, just three at at home.

Here's what you should notice about Michigan State's 2017-18 schedule. Many are in heavy favor of protected rivalries in the Big Ten, as historic matchups like Indiana/Purdue and Michigan/Ohio State have only occurred once on several occasions in recent years. The Hoosiers will play three conference games on Monday and three on Friday (it should be noted that the Monday/Friday schedule addition appears to be TV driven).

Michigan and Michigan State will only play once during the regular season.

Junior Tionna Williams and sophomore Molly Haggerty were both named to the 15-player Preseason All-Big Ten Conference team.

The full schedule will be released later this summer, including game dates and locations for the 18-game Big Ten slate.

A week later, Michigan State will head to Portland, Oregon, for the Phil Knight Invitational.

As Mark Rudner of the Big Ten pointed out to Scott Dochterman, there will be just four days from January 2 through February without a Big Ten game.

Iowa will play five Big Ten teams twice and eight teams once.