Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Top 50 Non Conference Games of '09-'10

How often do you see it?

A team makes a run through their conference, finishing 10-6 with 22 wins on the season, but because they played cupcakes and charmin before conference play began, that team is banished to the NIT.

Non-conference games can be just as exciting as seeing two conference rivals go at it. Who doesn't want to see Rick Pitino make his first trip into Rupp since the scandal? Who wouldn't want to watch two Final Four favorites go had-to-head in November? Who doesn't enjoy seeing teams like Tulsa, or Butler, or Gonzaga given a chance to knock off one of the big boys?

After the jump, a list of the 50 best non-conference games on the 2009-2010 season.

  1. Dec. 1st - Michigan State @ UNC (ACC/Big Ten Challenge): Michigan State looks to get revenge against the Tar Heels for the two beat-downs they took at Ford Field last season. Oh yeah, and it is a rematch of the national title game. It will be interesting to see how Larry Drew will handle going up against one of the best point guards in the country in Kalin Lucas. The Spartans will have a shot to win this on the road if they can handle UNC's size inside.

  2. Dec. 19th - UNC @ Texas (at Cowboy Stadium): The two teams with arguably the two best front lines in the country go toe-to-toe at the new Dallas Cowboy's Stadium. Both teams come into the season with concerns in their back court, so the winner may come down to who wins the battle in the paint - the stronger Longhorns or the more athletic Tar Heels.

  3. Dec. 5th - UNC @ Kentucky: The defending national champs (who, if you haven't noticed, play a non-conference schedule that may be tougher than their ACC schedule) head to Rupp Arena to take on John Calipari's Wildcats. UNC has not been known for their perimeter defense over the last few seasons, so will their perimeter guys be up to the task against talented freshmen John Wall and Eric Bledsoe?

  4. Dec. 9th - UConn vs. Kentucky (at MSG for SEC/Big East Invitational): There is a lot to like about this match-up. Both teams will have athletes up and down their roster; both teams play an exciting, fast-paced style of basketball; and it is well-known that Jim Calhoun and John Calipari aren't exactly best friends, stemming from Cal's time at UMass.

  5. Dec. 22nd - Michigan State @ Texas: Two legitimate Final Four candidates go head-to-head. Texas is big this year, while Michigan State is going to be much more perimeter oriented than the Spartan teams you are used to seeing. But can the Longhorns young back court handle MSU's experienced and talented perimeter players

  6. Jan. 2nd - Louisville @ Kentucky: Already one of the best rivalries in the sport, this game will be taken to an entirely new level. John Calipari is the best coach the Wildcats have had since Rick Pitino, and the two don't exactly see eye-to-eye. It has been a while since excitement has been this high in Lexington, and given that the Wildcats are better than the Cardinals for the first time in a while, Big Blue Nation should be rearing to go. It should be fun to see how well UK's freshmen handle the Louisville pressure.

  7. Jan. 23rd - Texas @ UConn: This games features an interesting contrast of styles. The kinetic, up-tempo Huskies will take on the bigger, more deliberate Longhorns. The best individual match-up? Avery Bradley and Kemba Walker, two talented point guards who may be the best two defenders at the position.

  8. Jan. 1st - West Virginia @ Purdue: You like defense? you like tough, hard-nosed basketball? Well, then this is the perfect game for you. There may not be a better fundamental defensive team in the country than Purdue, but they will have their hands full with Devin Ebanks, Da'Sean Butler, and the rest of the Mountaineers. This game will be won on the glass. Purdue does not have much size inside behind JaJuan Johnson, and WVU has an endless line of strong, athletic, 6'7" forwards that go hard to the glass.

  9. Dec. 12th - Butler @ Ohio State: I love this Butler team, but Ohio State is going to be better than some people expect. Seeing Gordon Hayward and Evan Turner go at each other is going to be a pleasure to watch, but the key to this game is going to be who wins the Matt Howard-Dallas Lauderdale (assuming he is healthy) match-up down low.

  10. Jan. 10th - Kansas @ Tennessee: This game will be the final tune-up for a talented Jayhawks team before they begin their conference season. Tennessee was a bit disappointing last season, as a roster full of talented athletes struggled defensively and never found a rhythm on the offensive end. The Vols do have the pieces to give Kansas a game, especially since the game is at home.

  11. Jan. 17th - UConn @ Michigan: The Wolverines look to get revenge for a loss at the hands on the Huskies last season. Will UConn have the shooting and the defensive discipline to handle John Beilein's system?

  12. Nov. 26th - Butler vs. Minnesota (at the 76 Classic in Anaheim): In what is probably the best guaranteed match-up in the pre-season tournaments, the Bulldogs take on an underrated Golden Gophers team.

  13. Dec. 22nd - Cal @ Kansas: Cal is going ot be one of the most fun teams in the country to watch, but will they have the talent (and the size) to take on the Jayhawks?

  14. Dec. 8th - Vanderbilt @ Illinois: Vanderbilt returns everyone for a team that could be a sleeper in the SEC East, but the Illini could compete for the Big Ten crown if their young back court delivers.

  15. Dec. 19th - Michigan @ Kansas: Kansas may be the best team in America, but the Wolverines have some talent on their roster as well. If Michigan is hitting their threes, they will be able to play with anyone in the country.

  16. Dec. 19th - Duke vs. Gonzaga (at MSG): Gonzaga and Duke are both nationally recognized programs with question marks. Duke's got a great front line, but a shallow back court. The Zags have a very good back court, but not much size inside.

  17. Dec. 12th - Washington vs. Georgetown (Wooden Classic): The Hoyas, who are looking to bounce back from a disappointing season, play a very controlled, Princeton-style offense, while the Huskies are going to try and play at a frenetic pace.

  18. Nov. 17th - Gonzaga @ Michigan State: Both teams have some front court question marks, but it should be a delight to see Kalin Lucas and Demetri Goodson go at it.

  19. Nov. 19th - Dayton vs. Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets have a chance to be one of the best teams in the ACC this season, but Dayton returns basically everyone from a team that reached the second round of the tournament last year.

  20. Jan. 23rd - West Virginia @ Ohio State: The Mountaineers beat the snot out of the Buckeyes last season, but with Evan Turner and company back, OSU looks to be one of the teams that will remain near the top of the Big Ten all season.

  21. Dec. 6th - Kansas @ UCLA
  22. Dec. 10th - Florida vs. Michigan State (Legends Classic)
  23. Dec. 31st - Oklahoma vs. Gonzaga in Seattle
  24. Dec. 10th - Syracuse vs. Florida (SEC/Big East)
  25. Dec. 2nd - Florida State @ Ohio State
  26. Nov. 24th - Florida State @ Florida
  27. Dec. 8th - Georgetown vs. Butler in MSG (Jimmy V)
  28. Feb. 25th - Tulsa @ Duke
  29. Dec. 2nd - Minnesta @ Miami (ACC/Big Ten)
  30. Dec. 2nd- Siena at Georgia Tech
  31. Jan. 3rd - Xavier at Wake Forest
  32. Nov. 17th - Memphis vs. Kansas in St. Louis in Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase
  33. Dec. 5th - Wake Forest at Gonzaga
  34. Dec. 19th - UCLA @ Notre Dame
  35. Dec. 2nd - Illinois at Clemson (ACC/Big Ten)
  36. Dec. 6th - Villanova vs. Maryland at Verizon Center
  37. Dec. 13th - Cincinnati at Xavier
  38. Dec. 19th - Xavier at Butler
  39. Dec. 31st - Memphis at Tennessee
  40. Dec. 6th - South Carolina at Clemson
  41. Dec. 1st - Wake Forest at Purdue (ACC/Big Ten)
  42. Dec. 2nd - Oklahoma State at Tulsa
  43. Dec. 6th - Arizona at Oklahoma (Pac-10/Big 12)
  44. Feb. 13th - Xavier at Florida
  45. Jan. 2nd - Gonzaga vs. Illinois in Chicago
  46. Jan 31st - Duke at Georgetown
  47. Feb. 6th - Gonzaga at Memphis
  48. Dec. 23rd - Mississippi at West Virginia
  49. Dec. 2nd - Duke at Wisconsin (ACC/Big Ten)
  50. Dec. 30th - South Carolina at Boston College

1 comment:

Chris Denker said...

Good job and this is a great list.

You put some serious work into this one, way to go.

Keep it up!

Chris at NetScouts Basketball