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: Oct 8, 2006
Posted on: June 28, 2011 1:36 pm

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

Well 99% may be a little high but it has got to be close LOL...

Since: Oct 7, 2010
Posted on: June 28, 2011 1:36 pm

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

Start naming them.  Ok, I will give you time to Google past IU players.  Most of them will come up as doctors, lawyers, dentists, coaches, or professional basketball players.  I get my list of U of L players from court records and welfare statements.

IU - 5
u of l - 2

Since: Jan 3, 2007
Posted on: June 28, 2011 1:36 pm

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

hosshuges must be a Cincinnati Bearcat  fan following Xavier so closely to be able to pull up those games.  If I recall correctly Xavier won both which is all that matters in the end. 

Go Xavier!!!

Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: June 28, 2011 1:30 pm

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

99% of UK fans have never even visited Lexington.
Interesting stat. Did you do the research yourself?  If not, please provide a link to collaborate this little tidbit.  Methinks it comes from your nether regions.

I think you need to educate yourself just a little...
I agree as it applies to you.

Since: Oct 8, 2006
Posted on: June 28, 2011 1:27 pm

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

LOL well let me know when IU steps up to being mediocre.   When was the last time they saw the tournment.  You go on building it the right way. 

Oh and I am sure I can name as manys waste of space players that have left IU as you can UofL so spare me the high and mighty attitude.

Since: Oct 7, 2010
Posted on: June 28, 2011 1:13 pm

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

I live in Southern Indiana about 20 minutes from the U of L campus, not in the hills of kentucky. And I am definitely not a uk fan! And I am for sure not a racist! So don't throw the race card like many people like to do.  I know many people who attend U of L and come in contact with their players on a daily basis.  I actually attend at least one U of L game a year.  I see how they act off the court as well as on the court and it is nothing to be proud of.  I also see that most players from U of L end up not doing much with their lives after they leave the school. Not after they graduate, but after they leave school.  So kentuckybull, you need to get your facts straight before you comment.  Its funny that you are a U of L and IU fan.  That is what most U of L fans are.  They are U of L fans when Lville is good and IU fans when they aren't.  Have fun being mediocre under Pitino.  You can watch the Hoosiers hang another banner in a few years.

Since: Oct 8, 2006
Posted on: June 28, 2011 12:33 pm

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

I will put it to you this way - this is the only state in the nation who the people from the state absolutely can not stand their largest city all because of a basketball game.  Louisville might as well become the 51st state LOL.  With that being said, I have never in my life seen such hatred for a coach as there is from UK fans towards Pitino.

If you would rather get beat by UNC then the Cards then you are one of the very very few...

Since: Jun 13, 2007
Posted on: June 28, 2011 12:29 pm

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

Not only that, but including 4 (count 'em 4) Xavier games is always a great idea. I know I was on the edge of my seat for the Musketeers OT thriller at home against the IPFW Mastodons last year. And who could forget their triple-OT battle (also at home) against Southern Conference powerhouse Wofford?

Since: Jun 13, 2011
Posted on: June 28, 2011 12:24 pm

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12


Since: Oct 8, 2006
Posted on: June 28, 2011 12:22 pm

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

May I ask why you think UofL basketball players are thugs.  I am also an IU fan by the way.  They have always been my second favorite team.  When you call players thugs based on never visiting the city or the campus, 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.

I think you need to educate yourself just a little...

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or