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Northwestern 2016 non-conference basketball schedule released

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It's certainly a major step up from last year.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern has released its 2016 non-conference schedule Wednesday, and it is a step up from last year's slate that featured several opponents residing in the bottom of all of Division I basketball. While there is some better competition, there are still several games against teams that should be easily beatable. While NU did go 12-1 in non-conference play last year, the lack of quality wins — Virginia Tech or DePaul being arguably the best — led to the Wildcats missing the NIT.

Here is the schedule. Tip-off times have not been announced.

Nov. 4 -- vs. University of Illinois Springfield (Exhibition)

Nov. 11 -- vs. Mississippi Valley St.

Nov. 14 -- TBD (part of Legends Classic)

Nov. 16 -- at Butler

Nov. 21 -- TBD (Legends Classic in Brooklyn)

Nov. 22 -- TBD (Legends Classic in Brooklyn)

Nov. 25 -- TBD (part of Legends Classic)

Nov. 28 -- vs. Wake Forest

Dec. 3 -- vs. DePaul

Dec. 11 -- vs. New Orleans

Dec. 14 -- vs. Chicago St.

Dec. 17 -- vs. Dayton (at the United Center, part of the State Farm Chicago Legends)

Dec. 20 -- vs. IUPUI

Dec. 22 -- vs. Houston Baptist

Northwestern's opponents in the Legends Classic in Brooklyn remain TBD. The Wildcats will get two of the following: Notre Dame, Texas and Colorado. They will also face Bryant as one of the "part of the Legends Classic" games. Bryant ranked 344 out of 351 teams in Kenpom standings last year.

After being skipped out on last year, Northwestern was selected for the Gavitt Games and drew Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse, one of the toughest places in America to play. It will be a very stern test for Chris Collins's team.

Northwestern, per usual, is in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Wake Forest will pay a visit to Welsh-Ryan as part of the annual Challenge. Wake was not very good last year and is losing arguably its best two players from that squad.

The Wildcats will also get the Dayton Flyers at the United Center as part of the State Farm Chicago Legends.