Husker men release non-conference schedule
LINCOLN - A December showdown with Kansas at Pinnacle Bank Arena, a tournament in Florida and a pair of conference challenges highlight Nebraska’s 2017-18 scheduled released Wednesday.
“Our non-conference schedule is very strong again this season,” Nebraska Coach Tim Miles said. “We design our schedule with the idea that we want to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament. We have great home games and challenging road games, but I'm excited to put our team to the test. I think it will prepare us well for conference play.”
The 13-game non-conference slate is highlighted by Kansas’ first trip to Lincoln since 2011, as the Huskers will host the Jayhawks on Saturday, Dec. 16 in the Shelter Insurance Showcase. The Jayhawks are coming off a season where they went 31-5, won the Big 12 regular-season title for the 13th straight season and reached the Elite Eight before losing to Oregon. KU’s trip to Lincoln will be the first by a Big 12 team since the Huskers joined the Big Ten in 2011-12.
Nebraska’s trip to Orlando for the Advocare Invitational includes a strong field, including first-round opponent UCF, which won 24 games and reached the semifinals of the NIT. NU could potentially run into West Virginia in the semifinals. The Mountaineers went 28-9, placed second in the Big 12 and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 2017. The other teams in the field include Missouri, Oregon State, St. John’s, Marist and Long Beach State.
As previously announced, Nebraska will travel to St. John’s for the Gavitt Tipoff Games on Thursday, Nov. 16, and will host Boston College on Wednesday, Nov. 29 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. It is the second appearance for NU in the Gavitt Games and the first since 2015-16. It is the first time NU has played either St. John’s or Boston College.
In all, four of Nebraska’s non-conference opponents (Kansas, Creighton, North Dakota and UCF) reached postseason play in 2016-17.
The Huskers will open the 2017-18 campaign with home games against Eastern Illinois on Saturday, Nov. 11, and North Texas on Monday, Nov. 13. Eastern Illinois is coached by Jay Spoonhour, the son of former Husker basketball assistant Charlie Spoonhour and returns four starters. It will mark the first meeting between the schools since 2000 and the seventh all-time matchup between the schools. The meeting with North Texas will be the first for the Huskers since the 2006-07 season, as the Mean Green is led by first-year Head Coach Grant McCasland.
After the trip to St. John’s, the Huskers return to host a North Dakota squad which won 22 games and reached the NCAA Division I Tournament for the first time in program history after winning the Big Sky Tournament. The Nov. 19 matchup is the fourth between the two programs and the first since 2010-11 campaign.
The Huskers will close November and begin December with a tough stretch, hosting Boston College before starting Big Ten play with two games. Dates and opponents for the conference matchups will be announced at a later date.
Nebraska returns to non-conference action with the annual matchup against Creighton on Dec. 9 in Omaha, as the Bluejays went 25-10 and reached the NCAA Tournament. The Bluejays return a pair of starters, including senior guard Marcus Foster. The matchup with the Bluejays begins a stretch of back-to-back games against NCAA Tournament teams, as the Huskers will host Kansas on Dec. 16 after final exams.
NU will close non-conference play with home matchups against UTSA (Dec. 20), Delaware State (Dec. 22) and Stetson (Dec. 29). The matchups with UTSA and Stetson will bring a pair of former Big Eight standouts back to Lincoln. UTSA is coached by Steve Henson, who played at Kansas State in the late 1980s, while Stetson coach Corey Williams led Oklahoma State to a pair of NCAA Sweet 16 appearances in 1991 and 1992.
Nebraska 2017-18 Non-Conference Schedule
Date, Opponent, Location
Saturday, Nov. 11 Eastern Illinois Pinnacle Bank Arena
Monday, Nov. 13 North Texas Pinnacle Bank Arena
Thursday, Nov. 16 at St. John’s (Gavitt Tipoff Games) New York, N.Y. (Carnesecca Arena)
Sunday, Nov. 19 North Dakota Pinnacle Bank Arena
Thursday, Nov. 23 vs. UCF (Advocare Invitational) Orlando, Fla. (HP Field House)
Friday, Nov. 24 vs. West Virginia/Marist (Advocare Invitational) Orlando, Fla. (HP Field House)
Sunday, Nov. 26 vs. TBA (Advocare Invitational) Orlando, Fla. (HP Field House)
Wednesday, Nov. 29 vs. Boston College (B1G/ACC Challenge) Pinnacle Bank Arena
Saturday, Dec. 9 at Creighton Omaha, Neb. (CenturyLink Center)
Saturday, Dec. 16 Kansas (Shelter Insurance Showdown) Pinnacle Bank Arena
Wednesday, Dec. 20 UTSA Pinnacle Bank Arena
Friday, Dec. 22 Delaware State Pinnacle Bank Arena
Friday, Dec. 29 Stetson Pinnacle Bank Arena