Top 30 Non-Conference Games

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The dreadfully long college basketball offseason is almost over. The top non-conference game shouldn’t come as any surprise, as it’s a top-5 matchup five days into the 2015-16 season. Most of the marquee out-of-conference games are spread out through the months of November and December, but several must-see games can also be seen in January and February.

Here are the 30 must-see non-conference games. Mark your calendars:


1. Duke vs. Kentucky – Champions Classic in Chicago – Nov. 17 (7:30 p.m.)

Two preseason top-5 five teams with a Hall of Fame coach on each sideline should be enough to get you to tune in.

Duke cut down the nets to the program’s fifth national title, while Kentucky fell two games short of a perfect season. Coach K and Cal continue the revolving door of talent at each of their programs, as seven five-star recruits (four to Duke, three to UK) replace the seven first round picks the Blue Devils and Wildcats combined for this past June.

There are important returning pieces on each side, as well. Kentucky floor general Tyler Ulis, who logged the fourth most minutes on the team despite not starting in a single game last season, and Duke guard Grayson Allen, who had 16 points in the national championship game, are both expected to have breakout sophomore seasons.

Kentucky and Duke are 1-1 against each other in the Champions Classic, which began in 2011.

2. Maryland vs. North Carolina – Dec. 1 (9:30 p.m.)

The two former conference opponents square off in the most-anticipated game of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Dec. 1 in Chapel Hill. Maryland and North Carolina have both been slotted No. 1 in various preseason polls heading into this year.

Maryland’s returning starters, Melo Trimble and Jake Layman, are joined by transfers Robert Carter Jr. and Rasheed Sulaimon, and five-star center Diamond Stone. The Tar Heels return nine of its top 10 players from a season ago, including senior point guard Marcus Paige.

North Carolina has owned the rivalry since 2011, winning eight straight over the Terps.

3. Kentucky vs. Kansas – Jan. 30 (TBD)

The Big 12/SEC Challenge moves to the second half of the season, creating a late-January clash between Kentucky and Kansas inside Allen Fieldhouse. There’s plenty of basketball to be played between now and Jan. 30, but these two teams, pegged as national title contenders, will be in midseason form when they meet up in Lawrence.

Last year, Kentucky put a 32-point beatdown on Kansas when the two sides met in the Champions Classic.

4. Louisville vs. Kentucky – Dec. 26 (TBD)

There’s no better way for the Cardinals and Wildcats to each end their non-conference schedules.

Skal Labissiere, Jamal Murray, Isaiah Briscoe, Damion Lee, Trey Lewis and Donovan Mitchell are some of the new faces to the rivalry, but expect similar results when they meet up in Rupp. The last six meetings, dating back to 2011, have all been decided by eight points or fewer. Kentucky has won five of those six.

MORE: 2015-16 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

5. Villanova vs. Virginia – Dec. 19 (TBD)

The first game of a home-and-home series will feature a pair of preseason top-10 teams. For Villanova, the two-time Big East regular season champion, this is probably the best game on its non-conference schedule. For Virginia, the two-time ACC regular season champion, this falls in the middle of three tough out-of-conference games, with a 2k Classic contest against West Virginia on Dec. 8 and a matchup against Cal on Dec. 22.

6. Oklahoma vs. Villanova – in Honolulu – Dec. 7 (TBD)

Perimeter play will be key in a neutral site game in Hawaii. Buddy Hield, Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard going up against Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart and co-Big East Player of the Year Ryan Arcidiacono.

7. Georgetown vs. Maryland – Nov. 17 (9 p.m.)

The Gavitt Tipoff Games brings the Hoyas and Terrapins back together in College Park. These two teams have played only twice since 2001, the last being a neutral site game at the Old Spice Classic in 2008. Before that, the two matched up in the 2001 NCAA Tournament. More importantly, this is the first time since Georgetown and Maryland will play each other locally since 1993.

This game is in primetime, which is good. However, it’s squeezed in between the Champions Classic, which is bad.

8. Kansas vs. Michigan State – Champions Classic in Chicago – Nov. 17 (10 p.m.)

The 24-hour tipoff marathon ends with the nightcap from the Champions Classic in Chicago.

The Jayhawks and the Spartans played in the non-conference last season with KU defeating Sparty, 61-56, in the championship game of the Orlando Classic. Perry Ellis had 17 points and nine rebounds, while Denzel Valentine finished with 14 points. Both All-American candidates are back, hoping to avoid a second straight loss in the Champions Classic.

9. Arizona vs. Gonzaga – Dec. 5 (TBD)

This game did not disappoint last December, as Arizona held on to a 66-63 overtime win over the Bulldogs. Domantas Sabonis and Kyle Wiltjer return for the Zags to form of the nation’s top frontlines. For Arizona, whose only returning starter is Kaleb Tarczewski, a trip to Spokane is the only true road game of its non-conference slate.

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10. Indiana vs. Duke – Dec. 2 (9:15 p.m.)

One of the final games of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge will be between two of the most storied programs in college basketball history, as Indiana travels to Durham to take on the reigning national champion. This is the third time — first since 2006 — that these two teams have meet in the annual conference series. Duke won both previous matchups.

11. Cal vs. Virginia – Dec. 22 (9 p.m.)

The two-time ACC champions will host Cal, one of the contenders in the Pac-12, just days before the holiday break. Cal has jumped into the national conversation after landing Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown and returning conference player of the year favorite Tyrone Wallace. Justin Anderson left for the NBA, but Tony Bennett still has Malcolm Brogdon, Anthony Gill, Mike Tobey and London Perrantes.

12. Gonzaga vs. SMU – Feb. 13 (10 p.m.)

The Mustangs look to return the favor after the Zags handed them a 16-point loss last November. SMU hosts Gonzaga in the rematch in mid-February. Not a bad time to score a quality non-conference win.

13. UConn vs. Michigan – Nov. 25 (9:30 p.m.)

The Huskies and Wolverines both missed the NCAA tournament last season. Both teams have an opportunity to land multiple marquee wins in late November as part of another loaded Battle 4 Atlantis field. UConn and Michigan meet in the quarterfinals in the Bahamas.

14. Louisville vs. Michigan State – Dec. 2 (7:15 p.m.)

A rematch of the last year’s overtime thriller in the Elite Eight. This Big Ten/ACC battle features two of the best wings in the country in Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine and Louisville graduate transfer Damion Lee. Oh yeah, two pretty good coaches are on the sidelines, too.

15. Maryland vs. UConn – Jimmy V Classic in New York – Dec. 8 (9 p.m.)

The Terps and the Huskies headline the Jimmy V Classic doubleheader at Madison Square Garden. Maryland’s Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon take on the UConn perimeter of Sterling Gibbs, Daniel Hamilton and Rodney Purvis. The opening game of the night is between Virginia and West Virginia.



  • UC Irvine vs. UCF – Nov. 18 (7 p.m.): UC Irvine’s 7-foot-6 center Mamadou N’Diaye vs. UCF’s 7-foot-6 freshman Tacko Fall.
  • Xavier vs. Michigan – Nov. 20 (9 p.m.): The final game of the first-ever Gavitt Tipoff Games pits two potential top-20 teams against one another.
  • Wisconsin vs. Oklahoma – Nov. 29 (2:30 p.m.): The Sooners looking to avenge a loss in last season’s Battle 4 Atlantis championship game.
  • Kentucky vs. UCLA – Dec. 3 (TBD): The Bruins’ December schedule also includes games against Gonzaga and North Carolina, but they begin the month hosting Kentucky. Can’t go worse than last year’s meeting, right?
  • Syracuse vs. Georgetown – Dec. 5 (TBD): The two Big East foes restart the rivalry in the Nation’s Capital. The Orange and Hoyas will meet once a year for the next four seasons.
  • Vanderbilt vs. Baylor – Dec. 6 (TBD): The first game of a home-and-home series. The Bears defeated the Commodores, 66-63, last year.
  • Virginia vs. West Virginia – Jimmy V Classic in New York – Dec. 8 (7 p.m.): Mountaineers’ Press Virginia vs. Tony’ Bennett’s Pack-Line Defense.
  • Marquette vs. Wisconsin – Dec. 12 (1:30 p.m): Hopefully, the Golden Eagles and Badgers don’t combine for 87 points like last year.
  • North Carolina vs. Texas – Dec. 12 (5:15 p.m.): Texas fans likely won’t have a bowl game to look forward to in mid-December. But this Saturday matinee matchup with the Tar Heels should provide plenty of action.
  • Wichita State vs. Utah – Dec. 12 (TBD): The Shockers will look to take advantage with the senior guard tandem of Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet. The Utes will counter with Jakob Poeltl, one of the top centers in the country.
  • Indiana vs. Notre Dame – Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis – Dec. 19 (2 p.m.): Demetrius Jackson vs. Yogi Ferrell in the opening game of the Crossroads Classic in Indy. Butler vs. Purdue isn’t a bad nightcap.
  • Vanderbilt vs. Purdue – Dec. 22 (8 p.m.): A battle of the big men between the top-25 caliber teams. Damian Jones is one of the nation’s top centers. The Boilermakers one of the top front courts with Isaac Haas, A.J. Hammons and Caleb Swanigan.
  • Kansas vs. San Diego State – Dec. 22 (TBD): The Jayhawks travel to one of the toughest places to play. Only one team left Viejas Arena with a win last season.
  • Oklahoma vs. LSU – Jan. 30 (TBD): Buddy Hield, the reigning Big 12 Player of the Year, leads the Sooners into Baton Rouge to face Ben Simmons, the potential No. 1 overall pick, and the Tigers.
  • Iowa State vs. Texas A&M – Jan. 30 (TBD): A 2016 clash between the Cyclones and the Aggies will be one of the final games of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.


  • Battle 4 Atlantis: UConn vs. Syracuse (semifinals)
  • Maui Invitational: Indiana vs. Kansas
  • 2k Classic: Wisconsin vs. Duke
  • AdvoCare Invitational: Wichita State vs. Notre Dame; Dayton vs. Xavier
  • Hall of Fame Tip-Off: Florida vs. Purdue
  • Wooden Legacy: Arizona vs. Michigan State

Report: Notre Dame closing deal with Penn State’s Micah Shrewsberry

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Notre Dame is finalizing a deal to make Penn State’s Micah Shrewsberry its new men’s basketball coach, two people with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because contract details were still being completed and needed school approval.

Shrewsberry, in his second season at Penn State (23-14), led the Nittany Lions to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011 and a tournament victory for the first time since 2001.

The Nittany Lions beat Texas A&M and were eliminated by Texas in the second round.

Notre Dame has been searching for a replacement for Mike Brey, who spent the last 23 season as coach of the Fighting Irish. He announced in January that this would be his last season with Notre Dame

The Irish finished 11-21.

Shrewsberry grew up in Indianapolis and went to school at Division III Hanover College in Indiana.

He was the head coach at Indiana University South Bend, an NAIA school located in the same city as Notre Dame, from 2005-07.

He later worked as an assistant coach at Butler and Purdue, with a stint as an assistant with the Boston Celtics in between.

ESPN first reported Notre Dame was close to a deal with Shrewsberry.

Armando Bacot says he’s returning for fifth season at North Carolina

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina forward Armando Bacot is returning to play a fifth season for the Tar Heels.

Bacot announced his decision Wednesday, giving North Carolina fans a bit of good news after the Tar Heels failed to reach the NCAA Tournament.

The 6-foot-11 Bacot is North Carolina’s career leader in rebounds, double-doubles and double-figure rebounding games.

Bacot led North Carolina to a runner-up finish in last year’s NCAA Tournament, and his decision to return was a major reason the Tar Heels were ranked No. 1 in the preseason Associated Press Top 25.

The Tar Heels didn’t come close to meeting those expectations. They went 20-13 and opted against playing in the NIT. Bacot earned Associated Press All-America third-team honors and averaged 15.9 points and 10.4 rebounds.

He averaged 16.3 points and 13.1 rebounds in 2021-22. He capped that season by becoming the first player ever to have six double-doubles in one NCAA Tournament.

Bacot participated in North Carolina’s Senior Night festivities this year. He has a fifth year of eligibility because of the waiver the NCAA granted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ed Cooley takes over at Georgetown with lofty aspirations

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WASHINGTON – Ed Cooley’s task at Georgetown is to bring a once-storied program back to prominence in a competitive conference that has three teams still part of March Madness in the Sweet 16.

Cooley’s lofty aspirations go beyond lifting the Hoyas up from the bottom of the Big East Conference. After leaving Providence, which he took to the NCAA Tournament seven times in 12 years, he already is talking about trying to coach Georgetown to its first championship since 1984.

At his introductory news conference Wednesday that felt like a pep rally, Cooley said he wanted current and former players to envision cutting down nets and watching “One Shining Moment” with the nets hanging around their necks. He promised wins – many of them – and plotted a path forward that he knows will involve some tough times.

“It’s a process, and the process now, because you have a changing landscape in athletics, you’ll have an opportunity to probably move it quicker than you would have 10, 20 years ago,” Cooley said. “We’re going to lose some games. It’s OK. Losing’s part of growth. But over the course of time, it will pay off.”

Georgetown has lost a lot the past couple of years under Patrick Ewing, who was fired earlier this month after six seasons. The team went 7-25 this season after going 6-25 last season and lost 37 of 39 games in Big East play.

While Cooley at Providence was responsible for four of those defeats, the 53-year-old distanced himself from Georgetown’s recent run of losing.

“I don’t have anything to do what happened yesterday,” he said. “My job is to move us forward from today.”

Cooley’s mere presence is an acknowledgement that Georgetown needed a major change to become relevant again. After late Hall of Fame coach John Thompson’s 27-year-old run led to longtime assistant Craig Esherick succeeding him and then son John Thompson III and Ewing getting the head job, Cooley is the school’s first outsider in the position in a half-century.

His only connection to the Hilltop – beyond coaching in the Big East – is his daughter, Olivia, attending Georgetown. Cooley, a Providence native, said her desire to live in the Washington area played into his decision to leave for a conference rival.

It was certainly no accident that athletic director Lee Reed and school president John J. DeGioia used phrases like “new era” and “new chapter” when discussing Cooley. DeGioia said he believes Cooley will “uplift and restore this team” to compete at the highest levels of the sport.

“He has a proven record of success,” Reed said. “We knew we needed a leader, someone who understood our identity and could reimagine Georgetown basketball to fit today’s unique basketball landscape.”

That landscape, including players being able to profit off the use of their name, image and likeness (NIL) and more easily transfer schools, are the biggest changes Cooley has seen since landing his first head job at Fairfield in 2006. He expects to be aggressive, and given the high volume of Georgetown players coming and going via the transfer portal, could rebuild the roster in his image sooner rather than later.

“You have to find student-athletes that fit the way you want to play, your style of play, that fit you as a coach,” Cooley said. “We need to find players that can play for me that can attend Georgetown, not the other way around.”

Cooley acknowledged that some luck is needed but also stressed recruiting local talent to keep the best players in the region around. That’s just one building block to putting Georgetown back on the map, which Cooley wants the time and latitude to do.

“The word patience is always hard because everybody wants it and they want it right now,” he said. “Everybody wants it right now. Have a little bit of patience.”

Texas’ Arterio Morris plays amid misdemeanor domestic violence case

Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports

AUSTIN, Texas — In a season when Texas fired coach Chris Beard after a felony domestic violence arrest, it has allowed a reserve guard to keep playing while he awaits trial on a misdemeanor charge of assaulting an ex-girlfriend.

Second-seed Texas has advanced under interim coach Rodney Terry to the program’s first Sweet 16 since 2008, and the Longhorns play No. 3 Xavier in Kansas City, Missouri.

Arterio Morris, a freshman who was one of the top recruits in the country last year, was initially scheduled to stand trial March 29, three days before Final Four weekend. Denton County prosecutors were granted a delay to an unspecified date.

Beard was fired Jan. 5, about three weeks after he was arrested on suspicion of a felony charge of choking his fiancée in a fight during which she also told police he bit, and hit her. She later recanted the choking allegation and the Travis County district attorney dismissed the case, saying prosecutors were following her wishes not to got to trial and that the charge could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

Morris is charged with Class A misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury to a family member, which in Texas includes dating relationships. It stems from a June 2022 confrontation in the Dallas suburb of Frisco. The charge carries penalties ranging from probation and fines to up to a year in jail if convicted.

Morris’ attorney, Justin Moore, said the charges against Beard and the player are different.

“(Beard) was charged with a felony family assault,” Moore said. “That was far more serious as to what Arterio was alleged to have to committed. We maintain Arterio’s innocence.”

According to police, the ex-girlfriend said Morris grabbed her arm and pulled her off a bed, and later pulled the front of her sports bra, causing an injury to her neck and shoulder area. Police reported seeing a sizable bruise or scratch.

Texas officials declined comment. Beard said before the season that school officials he would not identify determined the freshman could play this season.

Moore defended Texas officials’ decision to not suspend Morris.

“I do believe Texas has taken this seriously. They’ve also allowed Arterio to enjoy his due process rights,” Moore said.

Morris has played in all 36 games this season, although his minutes and have been limited on a senior-dominated team. He averages nearly 12 minutes and 4.7 points per game. His biggest moment was a soaring alley-oop dunk against Kansas in the Big 12 Tournament championship game.

Attempts to reach Morris’ ex-girlfriend through family members were not successful. According to online records, prosecutors sought the trial delay to “procure witness availability.” Prosecutor Jamie Beck did not immediately return messages.

Wichita State hires ORU’s Paul Mills to lead program

Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

Wichita State hired Paul Mills away from Oral Roberts to turn around its languishing men’s basketball program, landing what has been one of the hottest names among mid-major coaches.

The 50-year-old Mills led the the Golden Eagles to two of the past three NCAA Tournaments, engineering upsets of Ohio State and Florida as a No. 15 seed in 2021 before going 30-5 this past season and losing to Duke as a No. 5 seed.

He replaces Isaac Brown, who was fired after three seasons as the Shockers slowly slipped toward mediocrity.

“My family and I are extremely excited about being a part of Wichita State,” said Mills, who will be introduced during a news conference Thursday at Charles Koch Arena. “The rich history, winning tradition and unbelievable community support will keep us working on behalf of the greatest fans in all of college basketball.”

Mills got his break in coaching when he joined Scott Drew’s first staff at Baylor in 2003, working alongside future Kansas State coach Jerome Tang in helping to turn around a program that had been mired in controversy. Mills stayed for 14 years, helping to reach seven NCAA Tournaments, before replacing Scott Sutton at Oral Roberts before the 2017 season.

“I absolutely love Paul Mills. He’s like a brother to me. So happy for him and his family, for Wendy and the girls,” said Tang, who has Kansas State playing Michigan State in the Sweet 16 on Thursday night. “He’s going to be incredible because he is passionate about young people and about developing young men.

“There’s no throttle, like, hold-back governor on him in terms of love and what he pours into his guys.”

Mills went just 11-21 each of his first two seasons in Tulsa, but the seeds of a turnaround had been planted, and the Golden Eagles have not had a losing season since. The biggest step came two years ago, when Mills led Oral Roberts to the Sweet 16 of an NCAA Tournament played entirely within an Indianapolis “bubble environment” because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Golden Eagles slipped to 19-12 the following year before winning 30 games and the Summit League title this past season, when they were led by high-scoring guard Max Abmas, an honorable mention All-American selection.

“He’s the one that told me, he said, ‘Tang, 10s hangs with 10s and one hangs with ones,’” Tang said, “and he’s a 10 and he’s going to have some 10s around him.”

The hiring of Mills comes as the Shockers try to position themselves at the forefront of a new-look American Athletic Conference. Perennial powerhouse Houston is joining Central Florida and Cincinnati in leaving for the Big 12 after this season, and six new schools are due to arrive from Conference USA for the start of next season.

Wichita State, a power under Ralph Miller and Gene Smithson in the 1960s, returned to prominence when Mark Turgeon took over in 2000. But it was under Gregg Marshall, who resigned in November 2020 amid allegations of verbal and physical abuse of players, that it began to soar. The Shockers advanced to the Final Four in 2013, finished the regular season unbeaten the following year and at one point went to seven consecutive NCAA Tournaments.

Brown, who was Marshall’s top recruiter, led them back to the NCAA Tournament in his first year. But the Shockers were just 15-13 last year and 17-15 this past season, leading Saal to decide that a coaching change was necessary.

Turns out the answer Saal was looking for was just a few hours south at Oral Roberts.

“Paul Mills’ heart for people, passion for life and approach to the development of young people and programs is energizing,” Wichita State athletic director Kevin Saal said in a statement. “He aligns with Shocker Athletics’ core values, facilitates a first-class student-athlete experience and fuels broad-based competitive excellence.”