Jayhawks visit to Pinnacle Bank Arena highlights Nebraska’s nonconference schedule

Jayhawks visit to Pinnacle Bank Arena highlights Nebraska’s nonconference schedule
World-Herald News Service

LINCOLN — Nebraska revealed the more mundane part of its 2017-18 men’s basketball schedule Wednesday, adding home games against Eastern Illinois, North Texas, North Dakota, Texas-San Antonio, Delaware State and Stetson.

The Huskers — who finished 12-19 last season — need some games in which they will be big favorites because a handful of the nonconference games previously announced are testers. Among them:

> Kansas, which reached the Elite Eight last season in going 31-5, comes to Pinnacle Bank Arena on Dec. 16. The 13-time Big 12 champions will be a preseason top five pick this season.

>> Central Florida, an NIT semifinalist which won 24 games, is NU’s opening foe in the Thanksgiving weekend Advocare Invitational in Orlando, Florida — UCF’s home city. UCF returns 7-foot-6 center Tacko Fall and has three incoming transfers who will be eligible.

>> Also on Nebraska’s side of the bracket is West Virginia (28-9), which played in the Sweet Sixteen in March.

>> Creighton will host the Huskers Dec. 9 at CenturyLink Center. The Bluejays, 25-10 last season, lost their NCAA opener and saw 7-0 center Justin Patton leave for the NBA.

“Our nonconference schedule is very strong again this season,’’ said NU coach Tim Miles, whose slate last season was among the five stiffest in the country, in a press release. “We design our schedule with the idea that we want to earn a berth in the NCAA tournament.’’

Besides Kansas, UCF and Creighton, the only other foe that played in the postseason last year was North Dakota, the Big Sky Conference champion.

You’ll notice an empty week in early December on the schedule.

Two Big Ten games will fit in that week. Each league member will play two games that week — one home, one away — because of a compressed schedule necessary to complete play before the Big Ten tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York, played one week earlier than usual.

Following is the final 2016-17 NCAA RPI rankings of this season’s 11 known nonconference opponents (Nebraska was 111th):

Kansas 4, Creighton 32, UCF 64, North Dakota 133, St. John’s 148, Boston College 220, UTSA 258, Eastern Illinois 265, Stetson 328, Delaware State 332, North Texas 338.

Check out the Huskers’ complete nonconference schedule below:

Sat. Nov. 11: Eastern Illinois

Mon. Nov. 13: North Texas

Thurs. Nov. 16: at St. John’s (Gavitt Tipoff Games)

Sun. Nov. 19: North Dakota

Advocare Invitational, Orlando, Fla.

>> Thurs. Nov. 23: UCF

>> Fri. Nov. 24: West Virginia or Marist

>> Sun. Nov. 26: TBA

Wed. Nov. 29: Boston College (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)

Sat. Dec. 9: at Creighton

Sat. Dec. 16: Kansas

Wed. Dec. 20: Texas-San Antonio

Fri. Dec. 22: Delaware State

Fri. Dec. 29: Stetson

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