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: Nov 25, 2006
Posted on: June 28, 2011 12:09 pm

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

Where did you find these? If I want to find the Non-Conference Schedule for the Colorado Buffaloes, where do I look? I Googled it and can't find it.

Since: Oct 7, 2010
Posted on: June 28, 2011 11:58 am

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

theSpectre2-  You must be a Louisville fan.  I guess the cards are first-tier? when they lose to Morehead State in the first round of the tournament?   Crean is rebuilding the program the correct way.  With good kids who go to class and behave.  But I guess you are not used to that with all the thugs you got running around in Lville.  IU has five banners to Lville's 2.  That makes us first-tier.  Lville is and will always be a few tiers below.

Since: Oct 8, 2006
Posted on: June 28, 2011 11:52 am

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

I only disagree with what is number 1 as it should be UofL/UK.  Hands down not even close as all you have to do is ask the fans of either school if they had to loose to either UNC or the other and I would bet the answer 100% of the time that they would take a loss to UNC every time if that meant winning the UofL/UK game...

Since: Jul 9, 2010
Posted on: June 28, 2011 11:47 am

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

Great for not including any Pac-12 games/teams.  I doubt there will be any interest in Arizona @ Florida in December.  You're good at your job.

Since: Apr 20, 2011
Posted on: June 28, 2011 11:47 am

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

It warms my heart to see that IU fans have come to grips with their new identity in the world of college basketball-2nd tier.  Congrats.

Since: Oct 7, 2010
Posted on: June 28, 2011 11:24 am

Top 20 non-conference games in 2011-12

Goodman- Who thinks Brad Stevens will take Creans Job?  Not Hoosier fans!  Crean is doing a good job.  It takes a while to rebuild a program after what he inherited.  He keeps realing in recruits and IU will be a national power in a few years.  Crean isn't going anywhere.  Hoosier fans love him and he will be pacing our sidelines for years to come.

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