It starts with a game on a ship, and then continues with the annual Champions Classic doubleheader. We give you the top-40 non-conference games — in order of when they occur:
Michigan State vs. Gonzaga, Nov. 11 at 6:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) – With the Champions Classic being pushed back due to Election Day, this is the best game of the first week. Tom Izzo and Mark Few’s teams will meet in San Diego on the USS Abraham Lincoln.
Kentucky vs. Michigan State, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. ET (ESPN) – This is the undercard of sorts for this year’s Champions Classic in Indianapolis. Oscar Tshiebwe could have his way against a Michigan State team that doesn’t have much in the middle.
Duke vs. Kansas, Nov. 15 at 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) – Rookie head coach Jon Scheyer and his young Blue Devils team will go up against the defending national champs and Hall of Fame coach Bill Self at the Champions Classic in Indy.
Gonzaga at Texas, Nov. 16 at 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2) – Drew Timme and the Zags had their way with Texas last year at The Kennel. Now they go to Austin, where Chris Beard has some holdovers, a couple of key transfers and also a big-time freshman in Dillon Mitchell.
Indiana at Xavier, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. ET (FS1) – The Hoosiers are the Big Ten preseason favorites and return just about everyone of note from last year’s team. They head to the Cintas Center to face Sean Miller (whose brother Archie used to coach in Bloomington) and a Top 25-ish Xavier team.
Baylor vs. Virginia, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2) – This is the other Continental Tire Main Event matchup and it’ll be interesting to see whether Tony Bennett’s team is different with a mix of holdovers and skilled frosh. Scott Drew brings back Adam Flagler and LJ Cryer, and adds one of the top frosh in Keyonte George.
Villanova at Michigan State, Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. ET (FS1) – New Wildcats coach Kyle Neptune gets a huge test at the Breslin Center in a big-time Gavitt Tipoff Games matchup.
Illinois vs. UCLA, Nov. 18 at 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU) – A matchup of two Top 25 teams in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena and the victor gets the winner of Baylor-Virginia. The Bruins have a mix of veterans and young guys while the Illini have a completely new team.
Kentucky at Gonzaga, Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) – No, this won’t be a true home game for the ‘Zags since it’s at Spokane Arena instead of The Kennel, but it’s still miles from Gonzaga’s campus. Oscar vs. Timme — sign me up.
Houston at Oregon, Nov. 20 at 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) – It’s a heck of a coaching matchup between Kelvin Sampson and Dana Altman. We’ll also get to see the first true test for a Houston team some have picked as their preseason No. 1.
Creighton vs. Texas Tech, Nov. 21 at 2:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2) – One of the top offensive teams and coaches in the country in Greg McDermott goes up against one of the top defensive programs and coaches in Mark Adams in a Maui Invitational matchup.
Ohio State vs. San Diego State, Nov. 21 at 9 p.m. ET (ESPN2) – This is another terrific first-round matchup in Maui. The Buckeyes battle an Aztecs team that added much-needed scoring with Seattle transfer Darrion Trammell.
Xavier vs. Florida, Nov. 24 at 5:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2) – This is one of the best opening-round matchups out in Portland, and it’ll come in the Phil Knight Legacy bracket. Sean Miller returns to Xavier while young up-and-comer Todd Golden gets a chance to show what he can do in the SEC after being hired from San Francisco.
Virginia at Michigan, Nov. 29 at 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) – Virginia is 13-8 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, and this Cavaliers team will be different than the one that didn’t go dancing a year ago. Michigan is led by Hunter Dickinson and features a bunch of new faces.
Ohio State at Duke, Nov. 30 at 7:15 p.m. ET (ESPN) – This is a rematch of last season’s ACC/Big Ten matchup but this time both teams will look dramatically different. Jeremy Roach is about the only familiar face for the Blue Devils while the Buckeyes lost Malaki Branham and EJ Liddell.
Providence at TCU, Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN+) – TCU is a top-20 team, while the Friars have reloaded with more transfers. This underrated Big East-Big 12 matchup will take place at Schollmaier Arena.
North Carolina at Indiana, Nov. 30 at 9:15 p.m. ET (ESPN) – The ACC favorites go into what will be an insane environment in Bloomington to take on Indiana in the top ACC-Big Ten matchup. The Armando Bacot-Trayce Jackson-Davis battle should be fun to watch.
Creighton at Texas, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. ET (ESPN) – This one will be at the brand-new Moody Center in Austin, and it will feature a couple of preseason top-10 teams. Should be a great battle of point guards between Tyrese Hunter and Ryan Nembhard.
Gonzaga vs. Baylor, Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. ET (Peacock) – These two teams met in the national title game in 2021, and the Bears won the game easily. Timme is still with the ‘Zags but just about everyone on that Baylor team is gone. The game will be played in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Saint Mary’s at Houston, Dec. 3 at 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2) – Randy Bennett and Kelvin Sampson. Two of the best coaches out there. The Gaels get a shot for a huge statement win, and also have a stud freshman in Aidan Mahaney.
Kentucky vs. Michigan, Dec. 4 at 1 p.m. ET (ABC) – The game was initially slated for December of 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is Kentucky’s first game in Europe, and it will take place at the O2 Arena. It’ll be a heavyweight matchup of big men between Oscar Tshiebwe and Hunter Dickinson.
Illinois vs. Texas, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. ET (ESPN) – A pair of Top 25 teams meet at Madison Square Garden and open the Jimmy V Classic this season. It’ll also be a reunion between new Illinois forward Terrence Shannon and Chris Beard, his former Texas Tech coach.
Duke vs. Iowa, Dec. 6 at 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) – The Coach K Era is over, and now it’ll be up to Jon Scheyer to extend Duke’s dominance in the Jimmy V Classic, as the Blue Devils have won all three of its previous appearances in the event. Iowa lost Keegan Murray and Jordan Bohannon, but the Hawkeyes still have plenty of experience back.
UConn at Florida, Dec. 7 at 9 p.m. (ESPN2) – This is the back end of a home-and-home that was delayed due to the pandemic. Florida visited Gampel back in Nov. of 2019 with the Huskies winning 62-59. This should be a good resume win for whoever comes out on top.
Alabama at Houston, Dec. 10 at 3 p.m. ET (ABC) – This will be a tough test for a fairly new Crimson Tide team to go into the Fertitta Center and deal with a tough, experienced Cougars team that is considered a threat to win it all.
Auburn vs. Memphis, Dec. 10 at 5 p.m. ET (ESPN) – Bruce Pearl will take his Tigers to Atlanta and face Penny Hardaway’s Tigers. This would be a huge non-conference win if Memphis could get it.
Indiana vs. Arizona, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. ET (FOX) – It will be the first East Coast, prime-time college basketball game ever broadcast by a broadcast network during the regular season, and it’ll come at the MGM in Las Vegas.
Indiana at Kansas, Dec. 17 at 12 p.m. ET (ESPN2) – This is the start of a home-and-home, and should be a good measuring stick for a Hoosiers team that some have ranked in the top 10.
Gonzaga vs. Alabama, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. ET (CBS) – Alabama sank 13 three-pointers last year and knocked off Gonzaga in Seattle, but this year’s matchup will come in Birmingham. Look for skilled freshman forward Brandon Miller to star for the Tide this season.
Houston at Virginia, Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. ET (ESPN2) – The Cougars pounded Tony Bennett’s team by 20 last season at the Fertitta Center, and while Houston will be even better this season, the Cavaliers should be much-improved.
North Carolina vs. Ohio State, Dec. 17 at 3 p.m. ET (CBS) – The Buckeyes are on a three-game winning streak in the CBS Sports Classic, but they get a UNC team that returns four starters.
UCLA vs. Kentucky, Dec. 17 at 5:15 p.m. ET (CBS) – This is the second game of the CBS Sports doubleheader at Madison Square Garden, and it will feature a pair of preseason top-10 teams. UCLA hasn’t played at MSG since the 2013-14 season.
Dayton vs. Wyoming, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. ET (CBSSN) – This is part of a four-game event at the United Center in Chicago, and will feature two of the best teams not in the Power Six. Dayton has a star in DaRon Holmes, while Wyoming boasts Graham Ike and Hunter Maldonado.
Tennessee at Arizona, Dec. 17 at 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2) – This is the back end of a home-and-home series. A year ago, the Vols beat Arizona 77-73 in Knoxville. This should be a heck of a matchup at McKale Center with plenty of returning talent on both sides.
Auburn at USC, Dec. 18 at 5:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) – This is the first meeting of a home-and-home, and it’ll come at the Galen Center. USC has a lot back with Drew Peterson and Boogie Ellis, while Auburn won 28 games last year.
North Carolina vs. Michigan, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. ET (ESPN) – This is part of a pair of doubleheaders in the inaugural Jumpman Invitational with four Jordan Brand schools (UNC, Michigan, Florida and Oklahoma). This game will take place at the Spectrum Center and will feature two of the best big men in the country in Armando Bacot and Hunter Dickinson, who also happen to be former AAU teammates.
Texas at Tennessee, Jan. 28 (ESPN) – This Big 12/SEC matchup will be at Thompson-Boling Arena. A year ago, the two teams played in Austin and the Longhorns won an ugly game 52-51. Two terrific freshmen will be in this one: Dillon Mitchell and Julian Phillips.
Arkansas at Baylor, Jan. 28 (ESPN) – This Big 12/SEC Challenge game is a rematch of the Elite Eight meeting in 2021 and will feature two of the best freshman wings in the country in Arkansas’ Nick Smith and Baylor’s Keyonte George.
Florida at Kansas State, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. ET (ESPN2) – It’s not about the matchup – it’s about former Florida standout Keyontae Johnson, who collapsed on Dec. 12, 2020 during a medical emergency, playing against his old program.
Kansas at Kentucky, Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN) – The Wildcats beat eventual national champion KU by nearly 20 last season in Lawrence, and now the ‘Cats are home to face a revamped Jayhawks group again in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.