Top 25 College Basketball games before 12/25
The college basketball season gets underway Friday. (I'm sure you've heard.) And this really might be the most interesting opening day we've had in a while, considering 10 of the nation's top 11 teams will be in action, thanks to a slate of games highlighted by the reigning national champs in Brooklyn and two national title-winning coaches working against each other on an aircraft carrier.
But it doesn't stop there. Next Tuesday night is also big. The week of Thanksgiving will be too. So what I've decided to do is provide a document you can print out, tape up and look at whenever you're wondering when the next big game will be played.
Seriously, just print this out.
Let's call it Top 25 before 12/25.
That means this list will get us through Christmas.
We'll just figure out the rest after Santa Claus comes and goes.
NOTE: This list only includes scheduled games, meaning it doesn't include possible second- or third-round matchups in early season tournaments. Put another way, I realize the title game of the Battle for Atlantis will be terrific regardless of who plays. But we don't know who will play. So that game between undetermined opponents isn't listed. And so on and so forth.
Lehigh at No. 19 Baylor
Can C.J. McCollum do to Scott Drew this week what he did to Mike Krzyzewski last March?
North Texas at No. 16 Creighton
Tony Mitchell vs. Doug McDermott should lure a few NBA scouts to Omaha.
No. 2 Kentucky vs. Maryland in Brooklyn
John Calipari's inexperienced Wildcats get their first test on a big stage up north.
No. 20 San Diego State vs. No. 9 Syracuse in San Diego
The season's first matchup of ranked teams will take place on an aircraft carrier.
No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 8 Duke in Atlanta
And their second test is on an even bigger stage down south.
No. 7 Kansas vs. No. 14 Michigan State in Atlanta
The undercard of the Champions Classic isn't bad, either.
No. 13 UCLA vs. Georgetown in Brooklyn
The Bruins vs. the Hoyas should be good ... with or without Shabazz Muhammad (almost certainly without).
No. 17 Memphis vs. Virginia Commonwealth in the Bahamas
Josh Pastner vs. Shaka Smart provides a matchup of two rising stars of the sport.
No. 8 Duke vs. Minnesota in the Bahamas
It'll be interesting to see if the Blue Devils can handle Trevor Mbakwe.
No. 11 North Carolina at No. 1 Indiana
James Michael McAdoo and Cody Zeller will face each other here, then again in the NBA someday.
No. 6 North Carolina State at No. 5 Michigan
Special shout-out to the ACC-Big Ten Challenge for giving us Lorenzo Brown vs. Trey Burke.
No. 4 Ohio State at No. 8 Duke
Can't wait to see what the Cameron Crazies have in store for Aaron Craft.
No. 3 Kentucky at No. 22 Notre Dame
This will be the first time the Wildcats play in a hostile environment.
No. 9 Syracuse at Arkansas
A trip to Bud Walton Arena will remind Jim Boeheim why he'd rather avoid November road games.
No. 20 San Diego State vs. No. 13 UCLA in Anaheim
Will Shabazz Muhammad be playing by the time this game rolls around? Probably not.
No. 19 Baylor at No. 3 Kentucky
Perhaps Isaiah Austin can go to Lexington and upstage UK's freshmen stars.
No. 10 Florida at No. 25 Florida State
This won't resonate like the football rivalry, but it'll still be nice.
No. 23 Wisconsin at Marquette
Bo (Ryan) and Buzz (Williams) make this one of the nation's best non-conference rivalries.
No. 2 Louisville at No. 17 Memphis
Might this be a preview of a future Big East tournament championship game?
No. 1 Indiana vs. Butler in Indianapolis
Brad Stevens vs. the Hoosiers is something I think everybody would like to see every year.
West Virginia vs. No. 5 Michigan in Brooklyn
It's John Beilein's old school against John Beilein's new school.
No. 10 Florida at No. 12 Arizona
Patric Young banging with Arizona's young bigs should be interesting.
Alabama at Virginia Commonwealth
Anthony Grant returns to Richmond, where he'll probably be an underdog.
No. 24 Cincinnati vs. Xavier in Cincinnati
No punches this time, please.
No. 7 Kansas at No. 4 Ohio State
I should be able to be in Columbus for this showdown and make it back home for Christmas, no problem.