For some, the academy basketball division is bound to the aeon of time from the ceremony afterwards the Super Basin through the end of the NCAA tournament. If you’re account this, you apparently don’t abatement beneath that umbrella, and this account is for you.
Here are the 50 non-conference amateur that will best appeal your absorption during the 2018-19 academy hoops season.
[Note: The alone amateur acceptable for this account are ones affirmed to booty place. Like the bifold play, abeyant preseason affray semifinal and championship amateur can never be assumed.]
1. Duke vs. Kentucky (Champions Classic) (Nov. 6)
Yes, Kansas and Kentucky are preseason No. 1 and No. 2, but this is the showdown the bodies appetite to see to bang off the year. It’s additionally the one acceptable to draw the bigger TV numbers of any d on this list. It’s aperture night, it’s the two bigger names in the activity at the present moment, it’s one of the best agitative and absorbed apprentice in contempo memory, and it’s activity to be awesome.
2. Kentucky at Kansas (SEC-Big 12 Challenge) (Jan. 26)
Maybe these will still be the top two teams in the country arise Jan. 26, maybe they won’t. Regardless, it seems added acceptable than not that there will be an abominable lot on the band aback Kansas and Kentucky booty a abrupt acquittal from alliance comedy and get calm at Rupp Arena for their seventh affair aback 2011. Both teams accept been ranked in the top 20 for all of those games, with the Jayhawks prevailing in ceremony of the aftermost three.
3. Villanova at Kansas (Dec. 15)
With exams, holidays and a acute focus on football, December tends to be the slowest ages of the academy basketball calendar. Smack in the average of the 2018 chapter of the month, however, is an actually loaded slate of amateur accent by this showdown in Lawrence. The preseason favorites to win the 2019 civic appellation will booty on the affairs that has captured the acme in two of the aftermost three years. Kansas will additionally be out for animus afterwards the 95-79 assault Villanova put on them in aftermost year’s Final Four.
4. Gonzaga at North Carolina (Dec. 15)
I wasn’t lying aback I said this day was loaded. While Kansas and Villanova are set top admonition at apex (ET), highlight of the black affair will be this affray of preseason top-10 squads. The affair in the Chapel Hill will be the third of three afterwards amateur for Gonzaga adjoin preseason top-25 teams (the’ll additionally coil with Washington and Tennessee). North Carolina has a boxy angle at Michigan a the end of November, but could actual calmly be accustomed an chaste aback it takes the cloister to face the Zags.
5. Kansas vs. Michigan State (Champions Classic) (Nov. 6)
It’s odd that the Champions Classic “undercard” will affection the No. 1 aggregation in the country, but actuality we are. The top-ranked Jayhawks will be activated appropriate out of the aboideau by a Michigan State band acquisitive to get the bad aftertaste from the end of aftermost division out of its mouth. How the KU apprentice backcourt of Devon Dotson and Quentin Grimes handles the claiming of a added accomplished assemblage led by Sparty’s Cassius Winston will be of accurate interest.
6. Gonzaga vs. Tennessee (Jerry Colangelo Classic) (Dec. 9)
The Jerry Colangelo Classic sounds like a fabricated thing, but it’s a absolute accident activity bottomward in Phoenix this December. This activity of preseason top six teams will bang things off, with addition top 10 squad, No. 7 Nevada, adverse Grand Canyon in the additional allotment of the double-header.
If you like your non-conference activity abundant on the top-level column play, this is a d to circle, alike with Killian Tillie alone because of an abate injury. While the antagonism would accept been alike bigger with a advantageous Tillie, Rui Hachimura squaring off adjoin Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield is still appealing great.
7. Michigan at Villanova (Gavitt Games) (Nov. 14)
We don’t get civic championship d rematches generally abundant in academy basketball. Thankfully, 2018-19 is activity to accommodate an exception, and in the additional ceremony of the division no less.
8. North Carolina vs. Kentucky (CBS Sports Classic) (Dec. 22)
The United Centermost in Chicago will accommodate the area for this affair of two of the best acclaimed programs in all of academy basketball. North Carolina and Kentucky accept accumulated to accomplish 37 Final Four appearances and win 14 civic championships. This will be the pair’s aboriginal affair aback Luke Maye bankrupt hearts beyond the Commonwealth in the 2017 South Bounded final.
9. Nevada at Loyola-Chicago (Missouri Valley-Mountain West Challenge) (Nov. 27)
It was Loyola-Chicago that won the Sweet 16 abstruseness and went on to blast the Final Four and accomplish March Madness immortality, but it’s Nevada which begins 2018-19 ranked in the top 10 and with abounding admiration they will end their division as one of the aftermost four teams standing. This is a fun aboriginal division amateur amid two absolutely acceptable teams from non-power conferences, but it’s additionally a massively important challenge for both squads. Neither aggregation is activity to be helped out abundant by the strength, or abridgement thereof, of its arrangement (especially Loyola), which agency notching affection non-conference victories aback they’re accessible is of ascendant important for both.
10. Kentucky at Louisville (Dec. 29)
Chris Mack absolutely accepted the altercation inherent in the Xavier-Cincinnati rivalry, so there’s no acumen to accept he won’t booty the aforementioned access with the Activity for the Bluegrass. Mack was a acknowledged 6-3 in the Crosstown Shootout, but accepting off to a acceptable alpha in an alike academy contour animosity would crave a above upset.
11. Indiana at Duke (ACC-Big 10 Challenge) (Nov. 27)
The aggregate of Juwan Morgan and apprentice awareness Romeo Langford gives Indiana a adventitious to be top-25 acceptable in year two beneath Archie Miller. Their aboriginal above befalling to prove that will arise central Cameron Indoor Stadium, area the Hoosiers will achievement to abduction a little bit of that 2005 (also, 2002) magic.
12. West Virginia at Tennessee (SEC-Big 12 Challenge) (Jan. 26)
When you anticipate about teams that you’d appetite on your ancillary in the accident of a artery fight, these two accept to be a the top of the list. Expect 40 acutely acute account amid a brace of teams acceptable to be nationally ranked and athirst for a affection win to advance their NCAA affray resume.
13. North Carolina at Michigan (ACC-Big 10 Challenge) (Nov. 28)
With the acceptance around on top of the court, the Crisler Centermost provides one of the best environments in all of academy basketball aback the d is big enough. This one will fit that billing. Get your Chris Webber jokes in aboriginal afore the announcement aggregation steals them all.
14. Washington at Auburn (Nov. 9)
Two adeptness arrangement programs with aquiver pasts that arise to be headed in the appropriate direction. Washington hasn’t played in a bounded final aback 1953. Auburn hasn’t fabricated it that far aback 1986, and has still never been to a Final Four. Both teams will activate this division nationally ranked and with aerial hopes of breaking those streaks of futility in the a future.
15. Michigan State vs. UCLA (Continental Tires Las Vegas Invitational) (Nov. 22)
If the football is bad Thanksgiving night, this should accommodate a advantageous examination alternative. Michigan State is loaded with aptitude and acquaintance at the bouncer position and in the post, while UCLA is already afresh adolescent but able and attractive to animation aback from a black season. Cassius Winston and Nick Ward vs. Jaylen Easily and Kris Wilkes has the abeyant to be all sorts of fun.
16. Purdue at Florida State (ACC-Big 10 Challenge) (Nov. 28)
Despite questions about his acknowledging cast, Purdue’s Carsen Edwards is a contemporary preseason aces for civic Player of the Year. He can accomplish an aboriginal account on the advance aisle by lighting up a Florida State aggregation that allotment a advantageous bulk of assembly from aftermost year’s Elite Eight run.
17. Virginia at Maryland (ACC-Big 10 Challenge) (Nov. 28)
Virginia’s aboriginal accurate alley analysis of the division will arise in advanced of an Xfinity Centermost army that is abiding to be out for blood. The UVA frontcourt of Mamadi Diakite and Jack Salt will accept its easily abounding with Bruno Fernando. This could additionally be the aboriginal d area the appulse of 6’8 Alabama alteration Braxton Key — who was afresh declared acceptable to attempt by the NCAA — is absolutely felt.
18. Georgetown at Syracuse (Dec. 8)
Who cares how acceptable they are and who cares how aerial the affection of basketball is. Georgetown and Syracuse affair up on the balk is consistently arrangement television. The Hoyas accept taken two of three from their old Big East rivals aback the alternation resumed in 2015, but ‘Cuse abrupt Patrick Ewing’s aggregation in overtime aftermost season.
19. Marquette at Indiana (Gavitt Games) (Nov. 14)
Marquette has the abhorrent firepower (and mindset) to be one of the best absorbing teams in the country this season. Indiana has a must-see apprentice and a chief advanced who is acceptable abundant to wind up actuality the Big Ten Player of the Year. All of these things arise calm to accomplish this a must-watch game.
20. Florida at Florida State (Nov. 6)
Florida State will activate its 2018-19 division attractive to defeat arch-rival Florida for a fifth afterwards time. The accepted four-game acceptable band that began in 2014 is the longest the ‘Noles accept anytime endemic over the Gators. Leonard Hamilton has won eight amateur adjoin Florida – added than any added drillmaster in FSU history.
21. Virginia Tech vs. Washington (Atlantic City) (Dec. 15)
This feels like an disregarded 8-9 d during the night affair of the NCAA tournament’s aperture Thursday or Friday. In reality, it should be a high-quality antagonism amid a Washington aggregation that should accomplishment in the top three of the Pac-12, and a Virginia Tech aggregation that thinks it can attempt for a top four atom in the ACC.
22. Xavier at Cincinnati (Dec. 8)
There was a aeon of time aftermost division area Cincinnati acquainted like the centermost of the academy basketball universe. Again both were agitated in the additional annular of the NCAA affray on the aforementioned night and the aforementioned cloister and in eerily agnate fashions. Xavier and UC both bulk to be demography a footfall aback in 2018-19, but the antipathy harbored amid these two absinthian rivals never changes, which is why this is consistently arrangement examination in December.
23. Wisconsin at Marquette (Dec. 8)
Speaking of rivalries area the akin of antipathy never fluctuates. On the aforementioned day that Cincinnati and Xavier will be activity at it in the Queen City, Wisconsin and Marquette will be affair for the 80th time. The two teams accept breach their aftermost 10 meetings, and neither ancillary has won added than two amateur in a row aback 2001. The Badgers own a slight advantage in the best series, 42-37.
24. Kansas at Arizona State (Dec. 22)
Arizona State rose all the way to No. 2 at one point aftermost division acknowledgment in ample allotment to a 10-point agitated of again second-ranked Kansas in December. The Sun Devils fell afar backward in the season, however, a collapse which has Bobby Hurley’s aggregation aerial a bit beneath the alarm entering 2018-19. That would absolutely change if ASU is able to cull off a second-straight admiration over the Jayhawks.
25. Clemson vs. Mississippi State (Never Forget Tribute Classic) (Dec. 8)
It doesn’t complete exciting, but it’s activity to be. Both teams will activate the division ranked in the top 25, and both are led by accomplished guards with endless of experience. Marcquise Reed vs. Quinndary Weatherspoon promises to be a absurd activity of agitating academy guards who deserve added love.
26. Kansas vs. Marquette (NIT Division Tip-Off) (Nov. 21)
College hoops on Thanksgiving Eve will be added than aloof the Maui Invitational appellation d this year. The additional bisected of the NIT Division Tip-Off double-header should be loaded with offense, and it’ll acceptable affection the No. 1 aggregation in the country.
27. Nevada at USC (Dec. 1)
Nevada is the attenuate preseason top-10 aggregation whose agenda provides them a bound bulk of opportunities to accomplish a civic splash. This d in Los Angeles is one of the few exceptions.
28. Nebraska at Clemson (ACC-Big 10 Challenge) (Nov. 26)
Nebraska drillmaster Tim Miles enters 2018-19 sitting on one of the hottest seats in the country. Scoring a alley achievement over a Clemson aggregation that appears absolutely able of authoritative it to the Sweet 16 for a additional beeline year would be a nice way to calm the critics bottomward aboriginal in the season.
29. Tennessee at Memphis (Dec. 15)
It seems like a breeze that these two programs should comedy every year, but this aboriginal chapter of a new three-year arrangement will be their aboriginal affair aback 2013. It may not be as memorable as the No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown of 2008, but the best absorbed Tennessee aggregation aback that year traveling to face a Memphis affairs that has been absolutely ambulatory by the hiring of Penny Hardaway will still move the needle.
30. Notre Dame at UCLA (Dec. 8)
It’s nice to see Notre Dame and UCLA resume a alternation that was already as alike with academy basketball as aloof about any other. The home and home accord sets the date for the aberrant rivals to accommodated for the 50th time aing year in South Bend. This year’s d will be played aloof a ages afore the 45th ceremony of the Fighting Irish snapping UCLA’s almanac 88-game acceptable streak
31. Marshall at Virginia (Dec. 31)
There’s no bigger way to put a bow on 2018 than by adequate this admirable adverse of styles. It’s Virginia’s methodical but able advance adjoin Dan D’Antoni’s freewheeling, analytics-driven abhorrent onslaught. Marshall will about absolutely be a abundant underdog branch into this game, but the Thundering Herd can booty alleviation in the actuality that they won added amateur in aftermost year’s NCAA affray than their New Year’s Eve hosts.
32. West Virginia vs. Florida (Jimmy V Classic) (Dec. 4)
The additional d of the anniversary Jimmy V Classic doubleheader should be a solid affray of breach (Florida) vs. aegis (West Virginia). Both the Mountaineers and Gators accept the abeyant to be additional weekend of the NCAA affray teams.
33. Kansas State at Marquette (Dec. 1)
This abstracts to be the aboriginal absolute analysis for a Kansas State band that enters the division with added advertising than any Wildcat band aback Michael Beasley and Bill Walker were on campus. K-State allotment aloof about anybody from a aggregation that was one win abroad from the Final Four, but doubters will point out that they still absent 11 games. A win in Milwaukee will go a continued way appear silencing those naysayers.
34. Cincinnati at Mississippi State (Dec. 15)
Cincinnati abstracts to booty a footfall aback afterwards accident so abundant from aftermost season’s 31-win team. The alone catechism is how ample that footfall is. Mississippi State, meanwhile, will alpha the division ranked in the top 20 admitting accepting not fabricated a distinct NCAA affray actualization aback 2009.
35. Louisville vs. Tennessee (NIT Division Tip-Off) (Nov. 21)
The aboriginal spotlight d of the Chris Mack era at Louisville will arise in Brooklyn on the day afore Thanksgiving. A Tennessee achievement over the Cardinals would set up what adeptness be a top bristles showdown with Kansas in the appellation d two canicule later.
36. Auburn at NC State (Dec. 19)
Few non-conference amateur in the aboriginal two months of the division will affection added agitative bouncer comedy than this one. The affair for NC State will be ambidextrous with Auburn’s added complete calendar in the post.
37. St. John’s at Duke (Feb. 2)
This d has a history of accepting weird. Take, for example, aftermost year’s affair area the Johnnies airtight an 11-game accident band by demography bottomward the fourth-ranked Blue Devils. With Shamorie Ponds and Mustafa Heron authoritative up the backcourt for the Red Storm this season, Chris Mullin’s aggregation should accept a attempt to cull an agitated that would be abundant beneath shocking.
38. Auburn vs. Xavier (Maui Invitational) (Nov. 19)
The Maui Invitational is this season’s best loaded aboriginal division tournament, and this should be the best of the event’s quarterfinal matchups. Travis Steele will attending to accomplish an aboriginal account about his adeptness to accumulate Musketeers’ drive activity by acceptable a brace of amateur on the island.
39. Seton Hall at Nebraska (Gavitt Games) (Nov. 14)
Seton Hall absent best of the assembly that fabricated aftermost division so successful, but there’s still abundant there for Myles Powell and aggregation to at atomic be in the mix for an NCAA affray spot. Demography bottomward a accomplished Nebraska aggregation on the alley would be a solid start.
40. Syracuse vs. Connecticut (2K Empire Classic) (Nov. 15)
Syracuse has won eight of the aftermost 11 affairs with its old Big East rival, a band which dates aback to the acclaimed six overtime d in 2009. That run gives Danny Hurley an befalling to attach himself to his new fan abject with a win central Madison Square Garden.
41. Wisconsin at Xavier (Gavitt Games) (Nov. 13)
Wisconsin is attractive to get aback to its accepted atom on the academy basketball aliment chain, while Xavier is acquisitive to abstain falling too far a year afterwards earning its aboriginal NCAA affray top seed. A win actuality would advice either endeavor.
42. Oregon vs. Boise State (Dec. 15/29)
Stick with me here.
This is a camp animosity absolutely applicable the two academy programs that can affirmation the weirdest hime basketball courts and home football fields in the country. Aboriginal there was the LeGarrette Blount bite in 2009, again there was addition action in a 2017 basin d amid these two, again Boise State airtight Oregon’s 46-game home acceptable band (the longest in the country at the time) with a halfcourt buzzer-beater, and now we accept the two programs bizarrely scheduling a home and home … in the aforementioned month.
This has been my case for Oregon-Boise State as the best animosity currently activity in academy sports.
43. Davidson at North Carolina (Dec. 29)
You’re acceptable not activity to get abounding affairs to t Davidson brilliant Kellon Grady on TV this season, so booty advantage of this one.
44. TCU vs. USC (Hall of Fame Classic) (Dec. 7)
The Staples Centermost will comedy host to this affair of accomplished adeptness arrangement foes who both anticipate they’re actuality slept on branch into this season.
45. LSU vs. Saint Mary’s (Neon Hoops Showcase) (Dec. 15)
The anniversary abridgement of backbone on Saint Mary’s non-conference agenda became a civic affair of altercation aftermost March aback the Gaels were larboard out of the acreage of 68 admitting owning a 28-5 record. They’ll attending to account that ever-elusive non-Gonzaga resume win by abashing LSU in the Neon Hoops Showcase, which will hopefully be played beneath a blacklight.
46. South Dakota State at Nevada (Dec. 15)
Mike Daum adjoin a Nevada aggregation with added than abundant aptitude to win a civic championship? Hell yes.
47. North Carolina at Wofford (Nov. 6)
It’s not activity to get anywhere a the absorption that some of the added amateur on academy basketball’s aperture night will, but accumulate your eye on this one. Wofford abashed North Carolina in Chapel Hill aftermost December, and now the Tar Heels are walking into the Terriers’ home gym on day one of the season. Fletcher Magee adeptness be the best ballista in the country, but he’s not activity to up on Roy Williams this year.
48. Gonzaga vs. Illinois (Maui Invitational) (Nov. 19)
Brad Underwood is still added than acceptable a year or two abroad from accepting Illinois in a abode area it can attempt consistently with the top bank of the Big Ten. Ayo Dosunmu has the abeyant to be one of the best agitative apprentice guards in the country, but he’ll accept his assignment cut out for adjoin Gonzaga’s abysmal and accomplished backcourt.
49. Western Kentucky at Washington (Nov. 6)
With Western Kentucky, Marshall and Old Dominion all accepting some preseason civic love, Arrangement USA should be a base fun arrangement in 2018-19. The Hilltoppers and best apprentice big man Charles Bassey accept a aureate befalling to accomplish a account appropriate off the bat by beauteous a Washington aggregation that will alpha the year at No. 25 in the AP poll.
50. Belmont at Purdue (Dec. 29)
Sure, the aboriginal Academy Football Playoff semifinal will be activity on at the aforementioned time, but this is Dylan Windler vs. Carsen Edwards. I’m abiding the assemblage at the sports bar (or your active room) will accept and won’t ask you to change the channel.
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