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Northwestern basketball to host Valparaiso in 2017-18 non-conference schedule

We’re starting to get some sense of what the non-con will look like.

NCAA Basketball: Valparaiso at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern will host Valparaiso in the non-conference portion of its 2017-18 schedule, Jon Rothstein announced Sunday morning.

The Crusaders were a top-100 team in Kenpom for the vast majority of this past season, finishing at 104 after crashing out of both the Horizon League Tournament and the NIT. That collapse came after losing star senior Alec Peters to injury. Peters won’t be back next season, so second-year coach Matt Lottich may have somewhat of a rebuilding year ahead.

Still, Valparaiso has been a generally pretty solid team under Bryce Drew and now Lottich this decade, and this certainly won’t be a cakewalk at Allstate Arena. This is the type of game that, while it wouldn’t be a big win for Northwestern, helps shape a Tournament resume.

This is the third piece of news regarding the upcoming non-conference slate. The Wildcats will play Oklahoma in Norman and will participate in a rather underwhelming early tournament, the 2017 Hall of Fame Tip Off. Northwestern should be the favorite to win that tournament, which includes Texas Tech, Boston College and La Salle. Northwestern will play two of Sacred Heart, Maine, South Alabama and St. Peter’s in the preliminary rounds.

The Wildcats will, as always, have an ACC/Big Ten Challenge game, and if the narrative gods have their way, the opponent could be Duke. Virginia, Syracuse and Miami seem like other potential candidates. That game will likely be on the road, as Northwestern hosted Wake Forest last season after playing at Virginia Tech the year before.

We don’t know whether or not Northwestern will receive another Gavitt Tipoff Games matchup, but it seems likely. The Wildcats will play in the Big Ten/Big East series a minimum of three more times in the next six years.