Some marquee nonconference games for defending NCAA champion Duke are among the highlights of the ACC men's basketball schedule, which was released today.
Within a four-day span, the Blue Devils will meet two of the teams that played in the 2010 Final Four. Duke plays host to Michigan State on Dec. 1 and will play Butler on Dec. 4 in East Rutherford, N.J.
The Blue Devils, who will be among the favorites for a second straight NCAA title, also will visit Oregon on Nov. 27 and will play in the CBE Classic in Kansas City against Marquette on Nov. 22 in the semifinals and against either Kansas State or Gonzaga on Nov. 23.
Duke's games with North Carolina, which almost always are among the most highly anticipated meetings of the college basketball season, are scheduled for Feb. 9 in Durham and March 5 in Chapel Hill. The Blue Devils' most challenging section of their ACC schedule occurs in early February, when they will meet Maryland, N.C. State and North Carolina in succession.
North Carolina will count heavily on freshmen as it attempts to rebound from a disappointing 2009-10 season that ended with a loss in the NIT final. The Tar Heels and highly regarded recruits Harrison Barnes and Reggie Bullock will visit Illinois on Nov. 30 and play host to Kentucky on Dec. 4 in a couple of high-profile games.
They also will meet Texas in the Greensboro Coliseum on Dec. 18 and play three games in the Puerto Rico Classic from Nov. 18-21. The Tar Heels will be tested by what's expected to be a much-improved N.C. State team on Jan. 29 at Chapel Hill and Feb. 23 in Raleigh.
N.C. State, which will feature senior low-post scorer Tracy Smith and three highly regarded freshmen, will visit Wisconsin on Dec. 1 and Syracuse on Dec. 4 in its most difficult nonconference games.
The Wolfpack's conference schedule includes a stretch of five ACC games out of seven that will be on the road beginning with a visit to Clemson on Jan. 25. That stretch also includes games at North Carolina (on Jan. 29) and at Duke (on Feb. 5) before closing with a trip to Maryland on Feb. 20.
N.C. State will finish the schedule, though, with three of its final four ACC games at home.
Wake Forest, which is under new leadership as former Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik takes the helm, will play host to Iowa on Nov. 30, visits Xavier on Dec. 18, and plays at home against Gonzaga on Dec. 29.
In November, the Demon Deacons will play in the preseason NIT. They get a bit of a break in their ACC schedule, though, because they meet Duke and North Carolina just once each. Wake Forest plays host to Duke on Jan. 22 and visits North Carolina on Feb. 15.
Click here for links to the full schedule.