Highlighting Duke, UNC and NC State’s non-conference basketball schedule

College Sports

Coach K vs. Tom Izzo, Chapter XV? North Carolina State getting a rematch with Auburn — who’s fresh off a Final Four run? The Tar Heels playing at Carmichael Arena for the first time in ages? The 2019 non-conference slate for our Big 3 college hoops teams is shaping up to be competitive as ever.

Here’s what fans can look forward to outside of ACC play:


The Blue Devils will open the season with exhibition contests against Northwest Missouri State (Oct. 28) and Missouri State (Oct. 30), but the real fun begins less than a week later.

Duke’s first regular-season game will pit them against the Kansas Jayhawks in a matchup of two legendary coaches and programs. What’s more? The game takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 18: Head men’s basketball coach at Duke University/ SiriusXM host Mike Krzyzewski takes part in SiriusXM’s 2019 NBA Draft preview Town Hall with Mike Krzyzewski at SiriusXM Studios on June 18, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Mike Krzyzewski and Kansas coach Bill Self have faced off four times since the coaches have been at their respective schools. The last came in 2018 as the Jayhawks beat the Blue Devils 85-81 in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

Coach K’s Blue Devils also have a key matchup against Michigan State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Spartans eliminated the Blue Devils in last season’s NCAA Tournament.

Spartans head coach Tom Izzo and Krzyzewski have faced off numerous times, with Krzyzewski holding an 11-2 record over Izzo.

Here’s Duke’s full non-conference schedule:

  • vs. Northwest Missouri State – October 28 [Exhibition]
  • vs. Missouri State – October 30 [Exhibition]
  • vs. Kansas – November 5 (Madison Square Garden) [Champions Classic]
  • vs. Colorado State – November 8
  • vs. Central Arkansas – November 12
  • vs. California – November 21 (Madison Square Garden) [Empire Classic]
  • vs. Georgetown/Texas – November 22 (Madison Square Garden) [Empire Classic]
  • vs. Stephen F. Austin – November 26
  • vs. Winthrop – November 29
  • at. Michigan State – December 3 [ACC vs. Big Ten Challenge]
  • vs. Wofford – December 19
  • vs. Brown – December 28

North Carolina

The last time the Tar Heels played a regular season game in Carmichael Arena was 1986. Present-day head coach Roy Williams was an assistant under legendary head coach Dean Smith.

North Carolina will make a return — for one game — to their former home where stars like Michael Jordan and James Worthy made their name on Dec. 15 against Wofford. UNC’s winter commencement ceremonies taking priority at the ‘Dean Dome’ on this day is the reason for the switch up.

That last Carmichael Arena game, you wonder? The Tar Heels defeated N.C. State 90-79 on Jan. 4, 1986.

Carolina will likely bring an emotional, Carmichael Arena win with them when they meet Gonzaga on Dec. 18. The Bulldogs and Heels faced off in the 2017 National Championship game with North Carolina coming out victorious.

GLENDALE, AZ – APRIL 03: Head coach Roy Williams and Joel Berry II #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels speak in a press conference after defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the 2017 NCAA Men’s Final Four National Championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium on April 3, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. The Tar Heels defeated the Bulldogs 71-65. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

A good amount of UNC’s non-conference schedule features teams from around the Carolinas including Elon, Winston-Salem State (exhibition), Gardner-Webb and UNC-Wilmington. The Heels get Ohio State in the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Here’s UNC’s full non-conference outlook:

  • Friday, Nov. 1 — vs. Winston-Salem State (EXHIBITION)
  • Friday, Nov. 8 — at UNC-Wilmington
  • Friday, Nov. 15 — vs. Gardner-Webb
  • Wednesday, Nov. 20 — vs. Elon (Battle 4 Atlantis)
  • Wednesday, Nov. 27 — Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. Team TBD
  • Thursday, Nov. 28 — Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. Team TBD
  • Friday, Nov. 29 — Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. Team TBD
  • Wednesday, Dec. 4 — vs. Ohio State (ACC-Big Ten Challenge)
  • Sunday, Dec. 15 — vs. Wofford (At Carmichael Arena)
  • Wednesday, Dec. 18 — AT Gonzaga
  • Saturday, Dec. 21 — vs. UCLA (CBS Sports Classic) (CBS)
  • Monday, Dec. 30 — vs. Yale

North Carolina State

Many believe North Carolina State’s weak non-conference schedule may have cost them a trip to the NCAA Tournament this past season. The team ranked last among all 353 Division I teams in non-conference strength of schedule.

Coach Kevin Keatts has probably heard the noise and was proactive in getting N.C. State some quality competition outside of ACC play.

PROVIDENCE, RI – MARCH 17: Head coach Kevin Keatts of the North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks reacts in the first half against the Duke Blue Devils during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Dunkin’ Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Wolfpack’s full non-conference schedule has yet to be announced, but we’re aware of a few games that could be pretty exciting to watch.

N.C. State’s motley crew of transfers and seasoned upperclassmen (six out of seven top scorers return), will face off against Memphis’ elite freshman recruiting class (consensus No. 1 in the country) in the Barclays Center Classic in Brooklyn, New York on Thanksgiving, Nov. 28. Food, fellowship, and Wolfpack basketball, how about that?

PNC Arena should be rocking as the Wolfpack will look to avenge a 79-75 loss last season against the Wisconsin Badgers on Dec. 4 in the ACC/Big Ten challenge.

Keatts signature non-conference win came last season when the Pack defeated then No. 14 Auburn 78-71 in Raleigh. The Tigers will welcome N.C. State to their place to return the favor.

UNC-Greensboro will get a visit from the Wolfpack this season. The Wolfpack may have made a wise decision in scheduling a road contest in Greensboro where the ACC Tournament will make a return this year. The game allows the team to get some good, early run at the Greensboro Coliseum.

The Spartans defeated the Wolfpack 81-76 back in 2017, Keatts’ first season.

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