NKU to Play Kentucky, North Carolina in Men's Basketball Next Season
In just its second season of NCAA Division I participation, the Northern Kentucky Norse are nipping at the heels of college basketball's bluest of bloods.
The men's basketball schedule, released Wednesday afternoon, features road trips to Kentucky and North Carolina.
It will mark the first time in program history Northern Kentucky has played either Kentucky or North Carolina in a regular-season game. The Norse met Kentucky in an exhibition game on Nov. 3, 2004, and the Wildcats posted a 91-73 victory in Rupp Arena.
“These are the two all-time winningest programs in college basketball history, and they are both on our schedule next season,” NKU Head Coach Dave Bezold said. “My first game as head coach was that exhibition against Kentucky back in 2004, and that crowd in Rupp Arena was deafening. And that was just for an exhibition game. This time it's for real, and (NKU assistant coach) Kevin Schappell is the one who landed all these non-conference games. He did a great job.”
Kentucky is No. 1 all-time with 2,111 victories, while North Carolina is No. 2 with 2,090 all-time wins.
Northern Kentucky begins the season Nov. 8 with a road game at Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind. Two days later, the Norse invade Rupp Arena to meet a Kentucky team that could be the nation's top-ranked squad in the preseason polls. The Wildcats welcome in a recruiting class hailed as the nation's best and return talented sophomores Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein.
The Norse open their home schedule Nov. 16, when San Diego visits The Bank of Kentucky Center. Three days later, Morehead State travels to Highland Heights to meet Northern Kentucky. It will be the first time since 1993 Morehead State and Northern Kentucky have played a regular-season game.
Northern Kentucky played San Diego last season in the Norse's first-ever Division I game. The Toreros posted a 65-61 win over the Norse in that contest, which was played in San Diego.
The Norse will also travel to Mexico in late November to play in the Puerto Vallarta Tournament.
Florida Gulf Coast, which advanced to the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament, will visit The Bank of Kentucky Center on March 1 to battle the Norse in an Atlantic Sun Conference game. The Eagles are the defending A-Sun Tournament champions.
Northern Kentucky just completed its first season as a Division I program, and the Norse are members of the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Norse posted a 9-9 record in Atlantic Sun Conference play and finished 11-16 overall against a schedule that featured Ohio State, San Francisco, Texas Tech, San Diego and Tulsa in non-conference play.
2013-14 Northern Kentucky men's basketball schedule
Friday, November 8 at Purdue
Sunday, November 10 at Kentucky
Saturday, November 16 San Diego
Tuesday, November 19 Morehead State
Sat.-Sun., Nov. 23-Dec. 1 at Puerta Vallarta Tournament
Saturday, December 7 at Tennessee-Martin
Sunday, December 15 Tennessee-Chattanooga
Wednesday, December 18 Hampton
Saturday, December 21 Navy
Friday, December 27 at North Carolina
Monday, December 30 at Florida Gulf Coast
Wednesday, January 1 at Stetson
Saturday, January 4 Jacksonville
Monday, January 6 North Florida
Thursday, January 9 at South Carolina – Upstate
Saturday, January 11 at East Tennessee State
Thursday, January 16 Mercer
Saturday, January 18 Kennesaw State
Friday, January 24 Lipscomb
Thursday, January 30 at North Florida
Saturday, February 1 at Jacksonville
Thursday, February 6 East Tennessee State
Saturday, February 8 South Carolina – Upstate
Thursday, February 13 at Kennesaw State
Saturday, February 15 at Mercer
Friday, February 21 at Lipscomb
Thursday, February 27 Stetson
Saturday, March 1 Florida Gulf Coast
University of Kentucky's non-conference schedule (also announced Wednesday)
All dates and times are subject to change. *– Exhibition Games; ^-- Doubleheader with UK Women’s Basketball