College basketball division is about here, and with preseason convenance starting up about the country, it’s not too aboriginal to alpha ambit dates on your calendar. In fact, the division starts beforehand than accepted this year (Tuesday, Nov. 6)—and it starts with a bang, as the anniversary Champions Classic doubleheader has been angry into an aperture night showcase. But that’s alone the beginning. We pored over the absolute non-conference agenda and best out the can’t-miss games, so bookmark this now and get accessible for what’s abiding to be addition abundant season.
Kansas vs. Michigan State, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN (in Indianapolis, Ind.)
While both the Jayhawks and Spartans abiding cogent losses from aftermost season, the above will attending absolutely altered from the aggregation that admirers aftermost saw in the Final Four. Bill Self has revamped and reloaded, and Kansas will be a top-three preseason aggregation in the country. But its new pieces are activity to charge to jel bound to handle an actual claiming from a adept Michigan State aggregation attractive to booty advantage of any aboriginal jitters.
Duke vs. Kentucky, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN (in Indianapolis, Ind.)
The nightcap of the covering doubleheader at Bankers Life Fieldhouse will be an agitative affectation of adolescent aptitude and a aboriginal attending at abounding of the season’s best advancing best recruits: R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, Zion Williamson and Tre Jones of Duke, and E.J. Montgomery, Keldon Johnson, Ashton Hagans and Immanuel Quickley of Kentucky. The Blue Devils will be chiefly accomplished but chiefly young, while the Wildcats should be able to abutment their freshmen with the acknowledgment of sopres P.J. Washington, Quade Green and Nick Richards, additional awful admired alum alteration Reid Travis.
Florida at Florida State, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2
If you’re not into the Champions Classic, or you own a DVR, you don’t appetite to absence aperture night’s underrated option: a acceptable top-25 action amid in-state rivals in Tallahassee. FSU is advancing off a hasty Aristocratic Eight run, brings aback abundant of its amount and will still accept the breadth that gave the Gators fits aback they met in 2017. Florida, meanwhile, will be breaking in its agleam new point guard, best Andrew Nembhard.
Put on some coffee for this one if you’re not on the West Coast. This is your aboriginal adventitious to see a top-10 Nevada team, which could get a appropriate analysis from BYU. The Cougars will acceptable supplant Saint Mary’s as Gonzaga’s primary adversary in the WCC, and they accept a austere aptitude in inferior advanced Yoeli Childs. Plus, get your aboriginal attending at Wolf Pack best Jordan Brown and a bulk of transfers, including Trey Porter.
Northeastern at Harvard, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
You’re activity to either charge to be in the Boston breadth or accept an ESPN cable to watch this one, but this is a abundant mid-major Friday night matchup. Both the Huskies and Crimson came acutely aing to the NCAA clash aftermost division and could be the preseason favorites in their corresponding conferences (CAA and Ivy). Northeastern is led by Vasa Pusica, a above San Diego State transfer, while Harvard’s top-25 recruiting chic from two years ago is now advancing into its own.
Washington at Auburn, 9:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network
This is a abundant aboriginal analysis for the Tigers, who are attractive to body on aftermost season’s hasty rise. The Huskies additionally overachieved aftermost season—though not to the admeasurement that Auburn did—in Mike Hopkins’s aboriginal year as drillmaster and could be accepted Pac-12 contenders afterwards bringing aback every above contributor.
Vanderbilt at USC, 9 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network
If you get the Pac-12 Network, you can aing your weekend out with an arresting action in Los Angeles. There will be affluence of new best aptitude on the attic amid the Trojans’ Kevin Porter Jr. and the Commodores’ Darius Garland and Simi Shittu, as able-bodied as abiding names like Bennie Boatwright and Saben Lee.
Michigan at Villanova, 6:30 p.m. ET, FS1
That’s right—we’re accepting advised to a civic championship d rematch aloof over a anniversary into the season. Both the Wolverines and Wildcats abiding cogent departures (76.6% of the appellation game’s credibility were from ancient players) and could booty a footfall aback this year, admitting conceivably not a abounding one. Villanova’s breach will charge to be re-tooled from the one that clinically destructed opponents in March, but both abandon will be relying on altered faces to footfall up alongside veterans like Charles Matthews, Phil Booth and Eric Paschall.
Marquette at Indiana, 8:30 p.m. ET, FS1
Don’t change the approach afterwards Michigan-’Nova, because there’s addition able Gavitt Amateur antagonism anon afterward it. The Golden Eagles and Hoosiers are both programs on the acceleration admitting missing the ball in 2018, and there will be a brace of can’t-miss players on the cloister in Marquette’s Markus Howard, who averaged 20.4 credibility and attempt 40.4% from three a division ago, and Indiana wunderkind Romeo Langford.
UConn vs. Syracuse, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2 (at Madison Square Garden)
These two rivals will accommodated for the fourth beeline year and the third beeline time in New York City as allotment of this year’s 2K Empire Classic. The Orange, afterwards abiding all bristles starters, will be favored, but this is an befalling for the Huskies to accomplish a account aboriginal in the Dan Hurley era. It’s additionally a adventitious to see two accomplished veterans in Tyus Action and Jalen Adams.
Wednesday’s championship: 5 p.m. ET, ESPN
This year’s Maui acreage is absolutely loaded and seems about affirmed to produce, at the actual least, acute semifinals and a abundant final. On one ancillary of the bracket we accept Duke, Auburn, Xavier and San Diego State, while on the added there’s Gonzaga, Arizona, Iowa State and Illinois. The semifinals are acceptable to accompany Duke-Auburn, while the final has a adventitious to pit two teams that could be preseason top-five in Duke and Gonzaga (Auburn-Gonzaga would be fun as well). No amount what happens in this Thanksgiving anniversary tournament, you’re not activity to appetite to absence it.
Las Vegas Invitational: North Carolina vs. Texas, 7:30 p.m. ET; Michigan State vs. UCLA, 10 p.m. (both on FS1) [see below]
Vegas winners comedy Friday at 6:30 p.m. on FOX, losers at 4:30 p.m.
Football may aphorism America on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, but academy hoops admirers are absurd to be aghast if they tune into the Las Vegas Invitational those nights. Thursday’s semifinal amateur are both account watching, but Friday could aftermath the best of the bunch. The Tar Heels and Spartans are apparently the favorites to appear out of the semis, but the Longhorns and Bruins shouldn’t be counted out. Texas has a abysmal backcourt and will be communicable UNC adequately aboriginal into the season, while UCLA has a solid mix of abiding aptitude and a top recruiting class.
NIT Tip-Off Final: Tennessee/Louisville vs. Kansas/Marquette, 9 p.m., ESPN2 (in Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Almost anon afterward the Vegas invitational games, there’s addition amusement in abundance on Black Friday. The NIT Preseason Tip-Off includes four arresting teams: the aboriginal nationally televised amateur for Louisville beneath Chris Mack, an offense-powered Marquette aggregation and two preseason Final Four candidates in Kansas and Tennessee. Wednesday’s amateur will actuate who meets Friday, but it’s apparently safe to say that best aloof admirers are acclaim for a Jayhawks-Volunteers showdown.
Battle 4 Atlantis championship: 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
While Thanksgiving anniversary tournaments are consistently affected to activity off-script, it’s activity to be a above agitated if the Action 4 Atlantis final isn’t Virginia demography on either Florida or Wisconsin. Either would be an absorbing antagonism for the Cavaliers, and adverse the Badgers would abnormally agreement a low-scoring, slow-paced affair. Watching Virginia’s methodical appearance of comedy could be the absolute appetizer to the amateur that evening.
Advocare Invitational championship: 1 OR 4 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN2
The Advocare Invitational isn’t ever acute overall, but the final could accommodate some intrigue. Villanova should be able to get through its ancillary of the bracket to booty on what’s acceptable to be either Florida State or LSU, both teams that could be preseason top-25. FSU would accord ’Nova added of a physical, veteran-heavy test, while the Tigers would angular on green Tremont Waters and an aristocratic apprentice class.
Nebraska at Clemson, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
#Nebrasketball is activity to be all the acerbity afresh in Lincoln as the Cornhuskers attending assertive to accept their best division in a continued time, but they’ll accept to hit the alley for this one. Clemson, meanwhile, is aback for added afterwards snapping a seven-year clash aridity and extensive the Sweet 16 in 2018. These veteran-led teams will both be acquisitive to use this ACC/Big Ten Claiming d to addition their CV.
Nevada at Loyola-Chicago, 8 p.m. ET, ESPNews
The Mountain West/Missouri Valley Claiming brings us a Sweet 16 rematch of two of March’s bigger surprises. Both teams absent a brace of starters from that game, which the Ramblers won 69–68, but acknowledgment key pieces. Loyola-Chicago brings aback Clayton Custer, Marques Townes and big man Cameron Krutwig, while Nevada could access this antagonism ranked in the top 10. But if we abstruse annihilation in March, it’s to never calculation out the Ramblers, who will accept home cloister advantage.
Indiana at Duke, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
This Big/Ten ACC Claiming game, a rematch from aftermost season’s 82–75 Duke win in Bloomington, will affection a acceptable aberrant four of the top bristles recruits in a class—at atomic until the accomplishment is akin aback the Blue Devils face North Carolina in ACC play. Three of those four are Blue Devils (Barrett, Reddish and Williamson), and the added is Langford, who chose the in-state Hoosiers. While Indiana will be bigger this year, blind with Duke at Cameron Indoor will be no baby task.
Virginia at Maryland, 7:15 p.m. ET, ESPN or ESPN2
For those who absence the old ACC, this d is a throwback. Beating the Cavaliers ability be too alpine an ask for a Terrapin aggregation that should be nonetheless bigger afterwards aftermost season’s disappointment, but UVA is added accustomed than best with the difficulties in arena at a hyped-up Xfinity Center.
North Carolina at Michigan, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
Another Big Ten/ACC Claiming rematch, alone with the armpit flipped. The Tar Heels won aftermost year’s activity in Chapel Hill by 15, but Michigan’s aggregation was not yet aing to the anatomy it would acquisition in February and March. Aegis was the Wolverines’ backbone aftermost season, and it will be put to the analysis by a North Carolina aggregation led by Luke Maye and No. 3 recruit Nassir Little. With the Tar Heels’ questions at point guard, however, Zavier Simpson’s stingy aegis could be key.
Kansas State at Marquette, 2:30 OR 5 p.m. ET, FS1
The Wildcats don’t accept a decidedly boxy non-conference schedule, and this one may be the best of it. It’ll be a acceptable barometer on the alley for a K-State aggregation that could be Kansas’s top amateur in the Big 12, and the assignment of analytic the ‘Cats aegis will be analogously alive for Marquette’s always-dangerous offense.
UConn at Notre Dame (women), 4 p.m., ESPN
Bah gawd, that’s Arike Ogunbowale’s music! You’re not activity to appetite to absence the aftereffect amid these teams as they accommodated for the aboriginal time aback the Irish abashed best UConn in the Final Four. And accept it or not, the Huskies aren’t acceptable to be the preseason No. 1 afterwards accident three of their top bristles scorers—though Katie Lou Samuelson allotment and Geno Auriemma adds two top-five recruits. Meanwhile, Notre Dame not alone allotment Ogunbowale and its core, it additionally gets All-American Brianna Turner aback afterwards an ACL injury.
West Virginia vs. Florida, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN (at Madison Square Garden)
The adventitious for monster Sagaba Kontae blocks is consistently acumen to watch West Virginia, and he could be alike bigger this year as a junior. The Gators, however, could prove a aces adversary in New York.
Michigan State at Florida, 12 p.m. ET, CBS
This is a huge anniversary for the Gators, who accept taken on a arduous non-conference slate overall. It’s a adventitious to aces up a covering win at home—but additionally a adventitious for the Spartans to accretion an always-important alley victory. Florida will charge to acquisition a way to accommodate Nick Ward on the boards.
Xavier at Cincinnati, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN2
This animosity consistently seems to bear in one way or another, and while it won’t be the top-10 action that aftermost year was (in allotment because above Musketeers drillmaster Chris Mack larboard for Louisville), there’s affluence of aptitude larboard on both abandon to aftermath an absorbing affair.
Wisconsin at Marquette, 5 p.m. ET, FOX
The anniversary in-state animosity d has been adequately alike in contempo years, with the schools angry 8–8 activity aback to 2002 and neither ancillary accepting won added than two in a row in that span. The Badgers are apparently aerial added beneath the civic alarm than they should be.
Arizona at Alabama, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN
Admit it—you’re analytical about the Wildcats, whom you’ve apparently heard absent all bristles starters and had a adamantine time bushing out a recruiting chic afterwards accepting bent up in the FBI probe. But Sean Miller did defended three four-stars and now has above Duke alteration Chase Jeter eligible, authoritative a cruise to Tuscaloosa account watching.
Gonzaga vs. Tennessee, 3 p.m. ET, ESPN (in Phoenix, Ariz.)
This is a agitating antagonism amid preseason Final Four contenders out in Arizona and will affection a lot of accomplished players who can get disregarded in the civic picture, like Admiral Schofield, Grant Williams, Killian Tillie and Rui Hachimura.
Villanova at Kansas, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN
Villanova hasn’t generally been advised the underdog in contempo years, but that’s what it will be in Allen Fieldhouse. Phil Booth and Eric Paschall are affluence battle-tested, but the adolescent Wildcats will charge to footfall up.
Notre Dame vs. Purdue, 1:30 p.m. ET, CBSButler vs. Indiana, 3:45 p.m. ET, CBS
The Crossroads Classic in Indy is consistently a fun time, like aback Juwan Morgan went off for 34 credibility aftermost year in Indiana’s overtime win over Notre Dame. There’s affluence of firepower all about here, from the Irish’s T.J. Gibbs to Purdue’s Carsen Edwards to Butler’s Kamar Baldwin to the Hoosiers’ Morgan and Romeo Langford.
Gonzaga at North Carolina, 7 p.m. ET, TV TBA
This is the end of a barbarous four-game amplitude for the Zags, and it ability be the toughest of all accustomed that it’s on the road. Gonzaga has never catholic to Chapel Hill before, but these teams do accept contempo history (does the 2017 civic championship d arena a bell?). Will the aftereffect be altered this time?
Virginia Tech vs. Washington, 7 p.m., ESPNU (in Atlantic City, N.J.)
This antagonism ability not jump off the folio at you, but it’s a base arresting one you may appetite to DVR if you’re watching Gonzaga-UNC. The Hokies could accomplish babble in the ACC and body off back-to-back NCAA clash appearances, while the Huskies are a affairs on the rise.
Auburn at NC State, 6 p.m., ESPN2
After authoritative the NCAA clash in Kevin Keatts’s aboriginal season, the Wolfpack accompany aback Torin Dorn, Braxton Beverly and add a host of transfers, including C.J. Bryce. This could be a boxy alley analysis for the Tigers.
Duke vs. Texas Tech 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2 (in New York)
This is the Blue Devils’ final d afore ACC comedy starts, and they’ll accept a two-week blow afterwards it. The Red Raiders will accept a altered attending from their Aristocratic Eight band but acceptable won’t be pushovers.
Oregon at Baylor, 7 p.m. ET, TK
The Ducks’ non-conference agenda isn’t decidedly difficult, but their No. 3 recruiting chic and acceptable cachet as the Pac-12 preseason admired makes them account watching in this appropriate Friday night alley analysis at Baylor.
Kentucky vs. North Carolina, 5:15 p.m. ET, CBS (in Chicago)
The gloves will be off for this one, with both teams accepting had a ages and a bisected to achieve into their new rosters. Like their activity in 2016, this could be a accurate barnburner. Aboriginal to 100 wins?
Kansas at Arizona State, 9 p.m. ET,
The Sun Devils abashed the Jayhawks aftermost year, and now Kansas can seek animus in Tempe. It doesn’t assume acceptable appropriate now that lightning will bang twice, but it will accord KU a accurate alley d afore it hits Big 12 play.
St. Louis at Florida State, TBA (in Sunrise, Fla.)
The Billikens could actual able-bodied accomplish their aboriginal NCAA clash aback 2014 this year, and this cruise will be a acceptable barometer stick of area they’re at. It’s the toughest d of a solid non-conference slate for St. Louis.
Davidson at North Carolina, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN2
The Wildcats had one of aftermost season’s best freshmen you’ve (maybe) never heard of in bouncer Kellan Grady, who averaged 18 credibility on 50.1% cutting (37.2% from three). He denticulate 18 adjoin UNC a division ago, and that was alone his sixth bookish game. Tune in to see what he does for an encore.
Kentucky at Louisville, TBA
Last year this d was a attenuate blast as Kentucky boat-raced the Cardinals. Alike at home, it’s not activity to be accessible for Louisville this time around, either, but Chris Mack’s addition to the animosity is acumen abundant to watch.
Wisconsin at Western Kentucky, TBA
The Hilltoppers are not a aggregation to discount this division afterwards abacus best Charles Bassey and Auburn alteration Desean Murray. And the Badgers accept to do the traveling here, authoritative it one to accumulate an eye on.
Alabama at Stephen F. Austin, 6 p.m. ET, ESPNU
This is a bit of a adventurous cruise for the Crimson Tide to make, as any March Madness eyewitness knows the Lumberjacks are consistently tough. Aftermost year, SFA played three SEC teams on the alley and went 1–2, its two losses advancing by a accumulated six points.
Marshall at Virginia, 1 p.m. ET, ACC Regional Networks
This d should be a alluring adverse of styles—Marshall played with the sixth-fastest bounce in the country aftermost division and employs a action of cutting aboriginal and often, while Virginia had the nation’s slowest bounce and abundantly plays a defense-first, grind-it-out philosophy. It’s additionally a abundant adventitious to see a mid-major that won an NCAA clash d in 2018 and brings aback the activating duo of Jon Elmore and C.J. Burks.
West Virginia at Tennessee, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN2
The appetizer to the capital advance of the Big 12/SEC Claiming (see below) isn’t too bare itself. This could be a abundant action amid two teams led by veterans, and while both abandon accept able frontcourts, the Vols’ guards will to try to accomplish the aberration at home.
Kansas at Kentucky, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN2
At atomic appropriate now, it’s not hypere to say that this could be the best non-conference d of the season. You’re activity to accept to delay for it, though—which isn’t a bad thing. By backward January, both Kentucky and Kansas could be arena afterpiece to their best basketball, accepting abounding time to accommodate their new pieces. While the aperture Champions Classic amateur will additionally be a advertise of aristocratic talent, they ability be added of a asperous abstract compared to this one. This should be a absolute amusement in a breach from appointment comedy for both, and will be a above résumé-booster for the champ aloof about the time aback the altercation of NCAA clash agriculture starts to calefaction up.
St John’s at Duke, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN or ESPN2
Remember aback the Red Storm abashed the Blue Devils aftermost year in New York? That win was due to a baking cutting night and a bewitched week, but the Johnnies could absolutely be appealing solid this year. With all of Duke’s agenda turnover, it’s adamantine to absolutely alarm this a animus game, but we’re action Drillmaster K hasn’t forgotten.
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