Three New York games, trip to Michigan State highlight Duke’s nonconference schedule

The ACC expanding its regular-season men’s basketball schedule by two games beginning this season squeezes two non-conference games off teams’ schedules.

That didn’t stop Duke from adding two non-conference teams who are NCAA tournament regulars in recent years, to its schedule.

Wofford and Winthrop, nearby schools who have made frequent NCAA appearances this decade, will both make rare visits to Cameron Indoor Stadium this year.

Duke will face Winthrop, from the Big South Conference, on Nov. 29 and Wofford, out of the Southern Conference, on Dec. 19.

They are part of Duke’s non-conference schedule which begins on Nov. 5 against Kansas at New York’s Madison Square Garden in the Champions Classic. The Jayhawks are one of four teams on Duke’s nonconference schedule that played in last spring’s NCAA tournament, joining Michigan State, Wofford and Georgia State.

The ACC’s first 20-game basketball schedule includes league games during opening week, with three games on Nov. 5 and four more on Nov. 6. Four of those games, including Georgia Tech at N.C. State on Nov. 5 and Notre Dame at North Carolina on Nov. 6, will be televised by the new ACC Network.

But because Duke annually plays in the season-opening Champions Classic, it is the only ACC team not playing a league game that first week.

Other than those seven early games, the ACC has not yet finalized the schedule of league games. But the expectation is all teams will play at least two conference games during November and December.

Duke’s first ACC game won’t come until after Thanksgiving. Its opening month includes eight non-conference games over the season’s first 25 days.

Duke’s ACC opponents have been set, including home-and-home sets with Big Four rivals UNC, N.C. State and Wake Forest. Duke’s other ACC home games will be against Virginia Tech, Miami, Boston College, Louisville, Florida State, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh.

In addition to UNC, Wake and NC State, the Blue Devils’ league road games will be at Virginia Tech, Miami, Boston College, Virginia, Syracuse, Clemson and Georgia Tech.

Duke’s first regular-season home game is Nov. 8 against Colorado State. That’s part of a big sports weekend on campus as Notre Dame visits Wallace Wade Stadium for the first time since 1961 to play Duke in football the following day.

Duke’s in-season tournament, the Empire Classic, means two more games in New York prior to Thanksgiving. The Blue Devils start the tournament at home against Central Arkansas on Nov. 12 and Georgia State on Nov. 15. Duke will return to Madison Square Garden for the tournament semifinal against California on Nov. 21. The Blue Devils then face either Georgetown or Texas on Nov. 22.

The following week, Stephen F. Austin makes its first trip to Cameron to face the Blue Devils on Nov. 26. Winthrop plays its first game in the famed arena three days later.

Duke and Winthrop have only met once previously, in the 2002 NCAA tournament in Greenville, S.C., where the top-seeded Blue Devils won 84-37.

Winthrop has been in 11 of the last 21 NCAA tournaments, most recently in 2017

Duke’s ACC-Big Ten Challenge game is at Michigan State on Dec. 3. The Spartans eliminated the Blue Devils from last season’s NCAA tournament, beating Duke 68-67 in the East Regional final at Washington, D.C.

The Blue Devils are likely to have two ACC games in December, and they have only two other non-conference games scheduled that month.

Wofford’s second-ever game at Cameron is Dec. 19 as the Blue Devils end their break for final exams.

The only other time Duke and Wofford met was on Dec. 31, 2014, when the Blue Devils won 84-55 at home. Wofford has played six of the last 10 NCAA tournaments, including last March when the Terriers were a No. 7 seed.

After playing the Terriers, the Blue Devils take a Christmas break before playing Brown, from the Ivy League, on Dec. 28.

From that point on, the Blue Devils will play nothing but ACC games the rest of the regular season.

Prior to playing Kansas on Nov. 5, Duke plays exhibition games with Northwest Missouri State (Oct. 26) and Fort Valley State (Oct. 30) at Cameron. Duke’s Countdown to Craziness open scrimmage is Oct. 18 at Cameron.

Duke’s game with Kansas at Madison Square Garden will be televised by ESPN as will its game at Michigan State. The Nov. 21 game with California at the Garden will tip at 9 p.m. on ESPN2 while the Nov. 22 game against either Texas or Georgetown in New York will be on either ESPN2 or ESPNU.

Television information and tip times for all other games have yet to be finalized.

Duke 2019-20 nonconference schedule

Oct. 26 -- Northwest Missouri State (exhibition)

Oct. 30 -- Fort Valley State (exhibition)

Nov. 5 -- Kansas*

Nov. 8 -- Colorado State

Nov. 12 -- Central Arkansas

Nov. 15 -- Georgia State

Nov. 21 -- California+

Nov. 22 -- Georgetown or Texas+

Nov. 26 -- Stephen F. Austin

Nov. 29 -- Winthrop

Dec. 3 -- at Michigan State

Dec. 19 -- Wofford

Dec. 28 -- Brown

* -- Champions Classic, Madison Square Garden, New York

+ -- Empire Classic, Madison Square Garden, New York

An Illinois native, Steve Wiseman has covered Duke athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald-Sun and Raleigh News & Observer. Prior to his arrival in Durham, he worked for newspapers in Columbia and Spartanburg, S.C., Biloxi, Miss., and Charlotte covering beats including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of South Carolina athletics and the S.C. General Assembly.