Blog Entry

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

Posted on: June 28, 2011 9:59 am
Edited on: June 28, 2011 2:06 pm

By Jeff Goodman

I’ve gone ahead and made your life easy, compiling the ultimate checklist of the top non-conference games of the 2011-12 college basketball campaign.

Print this out and keep it around because you won’t want to miss any of these:


1) North Carolina at Kentucky, Dec. 3 -- Nearly everyone will have these two teams at No. 1 and No. 2 in the nation entering the season. Rematch of last year’s Elite Eight contest.

2) Louisville at Kentucky, Dec. 31 -- There’s nothing like a New Year’s Eve tilt between these two rivals. The fan bases despise one another -- and there’s no shortage of disdain between the coaches, either.

3) North Carolina vs. Michigan State, Nov. 11 -- This game will take place in San Diego on an aircraft carrier, maybe even the same one that buried Bin Laden.

4) Duke at Ohio State, Nov. 29 -- This is the top matchup in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. It’ll be interesting to see if the Blue Devils have an answer for Jared Sullinger.

5) Kansas vs. Kentucky, Nov. 15 -- This game is part of the Champions Classic -- a three-year round-robin involving these two programs -- as well as Michigan State and Duke. It’ll take place at Madison Square Garden this year.

6) Vanderbilt at Louisville, Dec. 2 -- Vandy has everyone back, and this is Kevin Stallings’ best chance to contend for a Final Four. Rick Pitino’s team has a blend of experience and talented young freshmen.

7) Memphis at Louisville, Dec. 17 -- The former C-USA rivalry has been renewed, and the timing is ideal – as both programs have no shortage of talent.

8) Florida at Ohio State, Nov. 15 -- It’ll be overshadowed by the Champions Classic, but this is one of the best early games of the year. The Gators are loaded on the perimeter; the Buckeyes just remain loaded.

9) Duke vs. Michigan State, Nov. 15 -- This is the undercard in New York at the Champions Classic, and it involves arguably the two best active coaches in the game: Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo.

10) Florida at Syracuse, Dec. 2 -- Billy Donovan has stepped up his schedule and will travel to the Carrier Dome, where Jim Boeheim has had pretty good success over the years.

11) Xavier at Memphis, Feb. 4 -- Two of the elite non-Power Six programs square off with two of the rising, young coaches in the game: Xavier’s Chris Mack and Memphis’ Josh Pastner.

12) Ohio State at Kansas, Dec. 10 -- The Buckeyes travel to Phog Allen and face a Jayhawks team that many figure to be down.

13) Wisconsin at North Carolina, Nov. 30 -- This is another intriguing ACC-Big Ten matchup that involves two of the elite veteran coaches, Bo Ryan and Roy Williams. It’ll also feature two of the top point guards, Jordan Taylor and Kendall Marshall.

14) Gonzaga at Xavier, Dec. 31 -- Here’s another terrific New Year’s Eve contest, this one involving a pair of the top non-Power Six programs.

15) Cincinnati at Xavier, Dec. 10 -- This probably should be even higher with both teams ranked, the proximity and the hatred between fan bases and coaches.

16) Texas A&M at Florida, Dec. 17 -- Maybe I’m nuts, but I’ve got the Aggies -- despite a coaching change -- as a legitimate Top 15 club. Texas A&M will face another Top 15 team: Florida, in Sunrise at the Orange Bowl Classic.

17) Marquette at Wisconsin, Dec. 3 -- Another big-time, in-state rivalry with both programs likely being in the Top 25 this season.

18) Xavier at Vanderbilt, Nov. 28 -- This could be a matchup of Top 10 teams. Xavier is led by Tu Holloway while Vandy has a strong trio of John Jenkins, Jeff Taylor and Festus Ezeli.

19) Florida State at Florida, Dec. 20 -- It’s a familiar theme among the top non-league games. A pair of Top 25 teams close in proximity that don’t care much for one another.

20) Butler at Indiana, Nov. 27 -- Hoosiers coach Tom Crean will have some pressure this year -- and if he doesn’t win, many feel as though the guy on the other sideline, Brad Stevens, will eventually take his job.

Category: NCAAB

Since: Jun 28, 2011
Posted on: June 29, 2011 2:18 am

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

Butler at Indiana, Nov. 27

Not the biggest headliner but for IU fans, it's pretty big! I think Coach Crean is on to something, we have a great class coming in 2012!  

Since: Apr 5, 2008
Posted on: June 28, 2011 10:56 pm

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

So you think UK fans would rather beat Louserville than UNC? Not even close for me.  Nobody stinks as bad as UNC.  I'd even want Louserville to beat them and that's saying a lot.  I actually liked Louisville until they hired Tricky Ricky.  It became obvious to a tremendous extent that UL basketball only exists because of the fact they're jealous of UK  I had tons of respect for Denny Crum.  I have none for Tricky Ricky (as in what the prostitutes call him). 

It's really people like you that have turned me against UL.  The obnoxious attitude is even lower than Bob Knight's post game comments (back when he was a coach).  You slander UK fans for being from the hills (?????) calling them racists and all sorts of vile things.  This guy from the hills went to school in a district that integrated before any school district in the south.  They beat most of the south on that score by about 100 years.  So yeah, we're real racists here.  BTW I'm of mixed race myself so I guess I must hate myself for no good reason.  And I went to college at UK since you seem to want to know.

Your post is about the lowest post I've seen on this site.  I'm surprised CBS allows it to stay online.  It's ugly and vile and it's a reflection of YOUR personality.  You wrote it.  Is your envy that strong?  Why am I asking?  Obviously it is.

Since: Dec 22, 2007
Posted on: June 28, 2011 7:45 pm

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

Looking forward to:


"Can't Wait"!

Since: Jun 28, 2011
Posted on: June 28, 2011 7:22 pm

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

Vandy at Marquette should be a good one!

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: June 28, 2011 7:03 pm

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

Recently announced Texas at North Carolina will be pretty good too. Tough non-conference schedule for the TarHeels next year. But they are a veteran team and that will pay off come March/April.

Since: Nov 28, 2007
Posted on: June 28, 2011 6:45 pm

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

you sound like some white racist living out in the hills of Kentucky cheering on the Cats.  99% of UK fans have never even visited Lexington.

And you think this makes you sound smart? So a person that lives in the hills of Kentucky are all racists. Check. And have never even visited Lexington....check.

I didn't know that. Question for you Kentuckybull have you ever ventured outside of the I-264 loop? Ever been to the "hills" of Kentucky? You know visited the poor bare foot racist hillbillys that you seem to know so much about? Ever asked them face to face if they're racist or if they've been to the bright lights and big city of Lexington? lol. My guess is no.

So doesn't that make you a racist yourself? Here you are hating on people you don't have a clue about and saying they're this, or they're that, when you yourself don't know if that's fact or fiction. And I'd go a step further and say you wouldn't know baby shat from apple butter either.

After all is that what racism is? Basing prejudices and stereotypes on others because of where they come from and what they look like. Crawl back under your rock man. You're giving the human race a bad name.

Since: Nov 20, 2008
Posted on: June 28, 2011 5:39 pm

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

Jeff, I see you don't have Iona v. Fairfield here.  Must be an oversight?

Since: Jun 28, 2011
Posted on: June 28, 2011 4:12 pm

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

Can you imagine College Football having a Champions Classic? I say, do it. Make some non-conference rivalries. Make them play for something early in the season instead of beating the crap out of schools they've beat evey year for the last 50 years. I would probably watch college football then. It's the same rotation year after year. Money takes precedence over competitiveness. It's redundant. Maybe you'll get a match up in one of the 1000 Bowl games they have. It just doesn't have a rivalry/playoff feel to it. Army vs Navy? Really? I think I'll pass. 

Since: Mar 11, 2007
Posted on: June 28, 2011 4:08 pm

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

Spoken like a Cincinnati fan who played an entire pastry cart non conference schedule last year. Oh, Xavier is going to be your best non-conference game THIS year. Have fun at an empty 5th/3rd with Savannah State.

Since: Mar 31, 2008
Posted on: June 28, 2011 4:07 pm

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

Well I admit my bias, but I can see this same-old East Coast bias anywhere and everywhere. I realize that no one plays any kind of sports more than a hundred miles west of the Mississippi, but come on? Not one game worth watching that doesn't occur in the western half of the US? Please.

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