The Big Ten officially released its conference basketball schedule for the 2015-16 season Thursday evening, meaning Northwestern's full 31-game schedule is now complete.
The highlight is that Northwestern will play four games against teams that many preseason rankings have in the top 10 nationally. NU plays Maryland twice (home on Jan. 2, away on Jan. 19), Indiana once on Jan. 23, and North Carolina in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic in November.
Northwestern fans can also look forward to home dates with Wisconsin, Michigan State and Illinois. The four Big Ten teams that will not be making appearances at Welsh-Ryan Arena in 2015-16 will be Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Purdue.
The Wildcats will open the Big Ten portion of their schedule at Nebraska on Wednesday, Dec. 30. Their Big Ten home opener is the clash with Maryland.
Northwestern's 2015-16 Big Ten slate looks to be a bit more forgiving than last season's. In 2014-15, the Wildcats played both Wisconsin and Michigan State twice, and also had home-and-homes with Iowa, Illinois and Michigan. NU went 2-8 in those games. This year, the double-plays are Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State and Penn State.
NU's non-conference schedule was announced back in June, and it features many opponents expected to be ranked towards the bottom of Division I.
The only known game time as of this writing is for the UNC game, which will tip off at approximately 8:20 p.m. CT on Monday, Nov. 23. All other tip times will be released at a later date.
Here's the full schedule:
Northwestern basketball schedule 2015-16
|UMass-Lowell||Home||Friday, Nov. 13|
|Fairfield*||Home||Wednesday, Nov. 18|
|Columbia*||Home||Friday, Nov. 20|
|North Carolina**||Neutral||Monday, Nov. 23|
|Kansas State OR Missouri***||Neutral||Tuesday, Nov. 24|
|New Orleans||Home||Saturday, Nov. 28|
|at Virginia Tech****||Away||Tuesday, Dec. 1|
|Southern Illinois-Edwardsville||Home||Saturday, Dec. 5|
|Chicago State||Home||Sunday, Dec. 13|
|Mississippi Valley State||Home||Tuesday, Dec. 15|
|at DePaul||Away||Saturday, Dec. 19|
|Sacred Heart||Home||Monday, Dec. 21|
|Loyola (Md.)||Home||Sunday, Dec. 27|
|at Nebraska||Away||Wednesday, Dec. 30|
|Maryland||Home||Saturday, Jan. 2|
|Ohio State||Home||Wednesday, Jan. 6|
|at Minnesota||Away||Saturday, Jan. 9|
|Wisconsin||Home||Tuesday, Jan. 12|
|Penn State||Home||Saturday, Jan. 16|
|at Maryland||Away||Tuesday, Jan. 19|
|at Indiana||Away||Saturday, Jan. 23|
|Michigan State||Home||Thursday, Jan. 28|
|at Iowa||Away||Sunday, Jan. 31|
|Minnesota||Home||Thursday, Feb. 4|
|at Ohio State||Away||Tuesday, Feb. 9|
|Illinois||Home||Saturday, Feb. 13|
|at Purdue||Away||Tuesday, Feb. 16|
|at Michigan||Away||Wednesday, Feb. 24|
|Rutgers||Home||Saturday, Feb. 27|
|at Penn State||Away||Thursday, Mar. 3|
|Nebraska||Home||Sunday, Mar. 6|
Conference games in bold
*CBE Classic Preliminary Round. No matter the result, Northwestern will be participating in the four-team tournament in Kansas City, starting with its semifinal against North Carolina
**CBE Hall of Fame Classic semifinal
***CBE Hall of Fame Classic final or consolation game. Northwestern will play the winner or loser of the other semifinal, Kansas State vs. Missouri
**** Big Ten-ACC Challenge
Here's a visual look at the conference schedule: