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NKU Basketball Will Play Michigan, Xavier, & West Virginia

The Northern Kentucky Norse will face three traditional powers this season when basketball rolls back around.

The university announced the program's non-conference schedule on Monday, including games against Xaiver, Michigan, and West Virginia.

“I’m excited for the nonconference schedule that we’ve put together,” said first-year head coach John Brannen, who took over the program last spring after the firing of Dave Bezold. “We wanted to schedule a slate of games that would challenge our team and prepare us to enter our first season in the Horizon League.”

Brannen is familiar with big school competition. He arrived in Highland Heights after serving as an assistant at Alabama. 

In a return game from last season, Northern Kentucky will head to Morgantown on Friday, Nov. 13, to square off against the Bob Huggins-led West Virginia Mountaineers to kick off the 2015-16 season. NKU and WVU met last season at BB&T Arena, with the Mountaineers pulling away in the second half en route to a 67-42 decision.

The Norse return home for consecutive games against Tiffin on Nov. 17 and in-state foe Morehead State on Nov. 21. NKU and MSU also squared off a season ago in a tilt where Tyler White poured in 24 points en route to an 83-60 Northern Kentucky victory in Morehead, Kentucky.

A short trip across the Ohio River then awaits NKU, as the Norse will take on Xavier on Monday, Nov. 23. The matchup against the Musketeers is the first since the 1978-79 campaign.

Following a break for the Thanksgiving Holiday, Northern Kentucky remains on the road for contests at North Carolina A&T and Eastern Illinois. The Norse put away NC A&T in last year’s home opener, 68-55.

Three of the next four games on the docket will be held at BB&T Arena. The Norse will sandwich home games against Norfolk State on Dec. 13 and Southeast Missouri State on Dec. 19 around a trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for a matchup with the Michigan Wolverines. The Norse and Wolverines will play on Dec. 15. The homestand concludes on Dec. 23 when IU-Kokomo comes to Highland Heights.

The non-conference slate wraps-up with a trip to Toledo on Dec. 30.

NKU will also play an exhibition contest at BB&T Arena against Ohio Northern on Friday Nov. 7.

The 2015-16 season will be NKU's final transition year before becoming eligible for the NCAA Division I post-season. The Norse will also compete for the first time in the Horizon Leage this year after departing the Atlantic Sun at the end of last season.

-Staff report