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Monthly ArchiveNovember 2016

Top Non-Conference CBB Games to Watch in 2016-17

College basketball season is upon us. This season looks to be just as crazy as last year. Everyone wants to see their favorite team crush their rival. If you are a Duke fan that team is an in-state rival, North Carolina. IU and Purdue have a long-standing rivalry. There are a ton of different examples.

Other schedule highlights are when a great program that your team doesn’t play very often comes to town. These games are called non-conference matchups. Each year, the scheduling committee comes up with some great regular season matchups. The following are four non-conference games that I am certainly can’t wait to watch.

Villanova vs. Purdue(Nov 13) – This game happens as part of a series of games between the Big East and the Big Ten. It is an exciting game because Purdue is one of the best teams in the Big Ten and Villanova is coming to their stadium, Mackey Arena. West Lafayette is a historically tough place to play for a road team. Defending champions don’t typically play true road games likes this one early in the regular season. The game against the Wildcats could be a big chance for Caleb Swanigan and the Boilermakers to make a statement at the beginning of the season.

Kansas vs. Duke (Nov 15) – This game is happening as part of the Champions Classic. These two storied franchises don’t often meet during the year. Duke is ranked as the number 1 team in the nation this preseason. Kansas is always a stacked team that has the potential to win it all. One issue for Kansas is that they are playing Hawaii the week before. That means that they could be worn out for this game against the best team in the country. Still, it’s hard to completely count out a well-coached and highly-talented Kansas team.

Michigan State at Duke (Nov 29) – When you’re the best team in the nation your games are going to be important to fans. The Spartans are coming to Durham as part of the annual Big Ten/ACC challenge. This game is Michigan State’s third tough road game early in the season. The team is loaded with freshman talent, so it should be a good way to help them gel and get a feel for college basketball early in the season. Can Sparty pull off an upset in the third act of their tough early non-conference schedule?

UCLA at Kentucky (Dec 3) – UCLA and Kentucky are probably the two most successful college basketball programs in history. UCLA has seen some down years in recent history, but they are loaded with talent this year. There could be as many as six players taken in next summer’s NBA draft. Of course, a lot of this is thanks to Kentucky’s coach, John Calipari, and his propensity to draw players that are talented enough to go to the NBA after just one year playing college ball. I think this could be the best team that UCLA has put on the court in a decade. Alford’s system is finally getting a stronghold in LA. It will be interesting to see how much he can improve the team from last year’s performance with the new roster. His son Bryce will be running the offense from the point guard position this year.