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Ranking the Top Fourteen Big Ten Non-Conference Games

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For obvious reasons I chose fourteen, for many reasons including weak scheduling and bad teams, there will be only a little more than half the teams from the conference discussed and featured in this article. I’m not taking into account potential games from various holiday tournaments, just ones actually scheduled as of today.

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Must See TV:


Wisconsin vs. Duke, December 3rd -This could very well be the best non-conference game of the year. Okafor vs. Kaminsky will be a good matchup. Okafor was pretty much shut down by Kaminsky's high school team in the state final last year, but either way, he'll still be a millionaire at this time next year.

Ohio State vs. Louisville, Dec 2nd - Doesn't it seem Illinois native Wayne Blackshear has been at Louisville longer than Jess Settles was at Iowa?

Michigan State vs. Duke, November 18th- This game is a year too late as these were Jabari Parker's final two college choices. Michigan State seems to be trending downward.

Michigan vs. Arizona, December 13th- This looks like a good game on paper. Arizona has the best frontline in America whereas Michigan is young and inexperienced up front.

Good (at least DVR it if you won't be home):

Iowa vs. Texas, November 20th - Iowa is considered a tough out this year. Texas always seems to have talent, but Rick Barnes is still their coach. LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Durant, Tristan Thompson, and DJ Augustin are prime examples of Texas teams that had early NCAA Tourney exits.

Iowa vs. North Carolina, December 3rd - Is it me or does North Carolina seem a notch below the other bluebloods now?

Iowa vs. Iowa State, December 12th - I do have to give it to Iowa, they may have the toughest non-conference schedule in the conference. It also sickens me I just typed this complementing Iowa. Ray Kinsella wouldn't even compliment Iowa anymore. Iowa State was an injury away from the Final Four last year and has much of their roster back.

Illinois vs. Villanova, December 9th - This will be a tough game for the Illini. I won't mention the reason Groce will want this game bad, but it involves a current high school senior living in Illinois.

Intriguing (At least have on if you have company or are busy with something):

Minnesota vs. Louisville, November 14th - Father vs. Son. (This already happened, but it still warrants a mention.)

Illinois vs. Miami (FL), December 2nd- Revenge game. If Shane Larkin misses that three, that game was won in my book. Sadly, that probably was the most exciting Illini game the last three years and Illinois lost. (Some may vote for Mizzou last year but neither team made the tourney).

Maryland vs. Virginia, December 3rd - Two contrasting styles meet in an old ACC game. These two teams split the matchups last year, but Virginia hoops is slow and methodical like a root canal. Turgeon needs games like this to save his job.

Syracuse vs. Michigan, December 2nd - Rematch of the 2013 Final Four game which was downright nasty, ugly, and dirty.

Mildly Intriguing (for Unintentional Comedy's sake):

SMU vs. Indiana, November 20th - I cannot believe Larry Brown is still coaching at his age and I also cannot believe Tom Crean is still allowed to coach at his age.

Kansas State vs. Purdue, November 24th - Good god, I remember the last time these two clowns were coaching against each other. Otherwise known as the night Bruce admitted he coached to "not lose," or whatever he called it. Free Custard Cup for everybody! What a doofus.