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)

12  (1) vs. Michigan State
1 (3) vs. Providence  
6 (4) vs. ^Baylor 
14 at North Carolina 
Home games in CAPS

All dates and times are subject to change. *– Exhibition Games; ^-- Doubleheader with UK Women’s Basketball 

1–State Farm Champions Classic (United Center, Chicago, Ill.); 2-Keightley Classic (Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky.); 3-Barclays 
Center (Brooklyn, N.Y.); 4-Cowboys Stadium (Arlington, Texas)