Duke has released their non-conference schedule for the 2018-19 season, and it is more or less exactly what we could have predicted.
The Blue Devils open with a game against Kentucky in the Champions Classic. They head to Maui for their exempt event — a field that is absolutely loaded and could feature matchups with San Diego State, Auburn and fellow top five team Gonzaga — and host a game in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge (Indiana) before heading up to Madison Square Garden to face off with Texas Tech.
Every other non-conference game they play will be in Cameron Indoor Stadium, with six games coming against mid-major competition and a Feb. 2nd date with St. John’s.
This is the Duke template.
Playing elite competition at neutral sites, ensure at least one trip up to the Big Apple, get a game in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and then play everything else at home. This is how they do it, like it or not.
And, if we’re being fair, the schedule is pretty good on paper. Kentucky might be the No. 1 team in the country in the preseason. San Diego State is a borderline top 25 team while Auburn might sneak into the top ten and Gonzaga is ranked No. 2 in the NBC Sports preseason top 25. Indiana, Texas Tech and St. John’s all have a shot at getting to the NCAA tournament.
I am not a fan of the utter lack of true road games that the elite programs in college hoops play in November and December, but it is what it is at this point. With that in mind, we can’t complain too much about what Duke put together this year.
Here is the full schedule:
Kentucky (Nov. 6, Indianapolis, Champions Classic)
Army West Point (Nov. 11, Cameron Indoor)
Eastern Michigan (Nov. 14, Cameron Indoor)
Maui Invitational (Nov. 19-21, Maui): Gonzaga, Auburn, San Diego State, Xavier, Arizona, Illinois, Iowa State
Indiana (Nov. 27, Cameron Indoor, ACC/Big Ten Challenge)
Stetson (Dec. 1, Cameron Indoor)
Hartford (Dec. 5, Cameron Indoor)
Yale (Dec. 8, Cameron Indoor)
Princeton (Dec. 18, Cameron Indoor)
Texas Tech (Dec. 20, Madison Square Garden)
St. John’s (Feb. 2, Cameron Indoor)