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Games against Arizona, Duke highlight Michigan’s non-conference slate

Aug 23, 2013, 1:40 PM EDT

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There’s no doubt that the Michigan Wolverines lost some key contributors from last season’s team that lost to Louisville in the national title game. Guards Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. left school early, becoming the first Wolverines under head coach John Beilein to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft.

But even with those losses the Wolverines won’t lack for talent, as the freshmen who saw major minutes last year will now be asked to lead the way. Mitch McGary will look to build upon his solid finish to the season, and classmates Spike Albrecht, Caris LeVert, Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas will look to take the next step in their respective games as well. Add in veteran big men Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford and a three-member freshman class led by point guard Derrick Walton and the Wolverines should once again contend in the Big Ten.

Friday morning the program released its non-conference schedule for the 2013-14 season, a slate that includes an appearance in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off and games against Arizona, Duke and Iowa State.

“Once again we will have a very challenging non-conference schedule,” Beilein said in the release. “Early road contests at Iowa State, at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, at Duke and in Brooklyn against Stanford will be a terrific opportunity for our young team to prepare for another strong Big Ten season.

“We are excited to begin a series with an excellent Arizona team. We love having that start as a first semester Saturday home game while our students are still in session. As in our previous years, we expect our overall strength of a schedule will be one of the best in the NCAA.”

Michigan opens its regular season schedule with a game against provisional Division I member UMass-Lowell on November 8. The Wolverines visit Iowa State (November 17) just four days before their first game in Puerto Rico. Michigan’s first round opponent in the in-season tournament is against Long Beach State, which has won three straight Big West regular season titles.

Michigan will visit Duke, which reached the Elite Eight last season and is expected to once again be a national title contender, as part of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge on December 3. Arizona, the early favorite to win the Pac-12, visits Ann Arbor on December 14.

Michigan’s schedule should allow its parts to mesh together ahead of the game at Iowa State, and overall there are some good challenges on the slate that will prepare the Wolverines for conference play.

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