College basketball just got another nice home-and-home series — and the sport can use as many as it can get. UCLA and Michigan have announced a two-year agreement, effective next season. UCLA gets first crack, hosting on Dec. 10.
Michigan will bring in the Bruins for the 2017-18 season, with the date to-be-determined. Next season’s meeting will be the first between the teams since 2011, but the first true road environment for either team in the series since 2007.
“We’re excited to add another big-time home-and-home series to our schedule, this time with Big Ten power Michigan,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said via statement. “I have the utmost respect for coach Beilein and what he’s been able to accomplish not just in his nine seasons with the Wolverines, but throughout his 38 years as a collegiate head coach. This will be a fantastic matchup for college basketball fans, given the opportunity to watch a pair of tradition-rich programs from two marquee conferences battle it out before league play. I know our players are already looking forward to the challenge.”
UCLA failed to reach the NCAA Tournament last season after reaching the Sweet 16 in Alford’s first two years in Westwood. The Bruins are currently ranked No. 11 in our Ridiculously Early Preseason Top 25 (and one). UCLA leads the all time series with Michigan, 11-5.
“In addition, the Bruins are scheduled to face Ohio State in the CBS Sports Classic in Las Vegas on Dec. 17, 2016. UCLA is also scheduled to play the second game of a home-and-home series at Kentucky on Dec. 3, 2016,” per UCLA’s release.
A very nice schedule, indeed. It can be a very big year for Alford’s team.
And Michigan will be an interesting watch, given they’ll be in a transition year after making the most of their talent (and reaching the NCAA Tournament) last season. But hey, the more home-and-home agreements in college hoops, the better. Kudos to these programs for stepping up and helping the sport’s non-conference slate.