There’s a throwback feel to N.C. State’s basketball schedule this season.
The Wolfpack will play a round-robin with each of the other “Big Four” schools this season in the expanded ACC schedule.
N.C. State will also play a pair of regular-season games at Reynolds Coliseum, which has happened only once since the team left its on-campus home in 1999.
Coming off of a 24-12 NIT season, the Wolfpack will play a home-and-home with Duke for the first time since 2015-16. Under the new 20-game ACC schedule, each team will get an extra, rotating home-and-home opponent. North Carolina and Wake Forest are N.C. State’s permanent partners.
The season starts with an ACC game against Georgia Tech on Nov. 5 at PNC Arena. N.C. State hasn’t opened the season with an ACC opponent since the 1979-80 season kicked off with the Big Four Tournament and the Wolfpack lost to UNC.
Rematches with Wisconsin (at PNC Arena on Dec. 4) and Auburn (on the road, Dec. 19) highlight N.C. State’s nonconference schedule with a marquee matchup with Memphis, likely a top-10 preseason team, in the Barclays Center Classic on Thanksgiving Day in Brooklyn.
Mark the calendar
Dec. 4 Wisconsin
The Wisconsin game, part of the Big Ten Challenge, should be fun. The Badgers’ controversial late rally in Madison last season, a 79-75 loss for the Wolfpack, was one of the losses that kept N.C. State out of the NCAA tournament.
Jan. 27 UNC
N.C. State hosts UNC in one of its three “Big Monday” games on the ESPN package. The Wolfpack hasn’t had a “Big Monday” game since Keatts was hired (the last one was an 84-82 win at Duke in 2017).
Dec. 22 The Citadel
The games against St. Francis (N.Y.), Arkansas-Little Rock and Alcorn State are part of the Barclays Classic. N.C. State did not have control over those games. They had to play them to get the Memphis game. Those are the kinds of trades you have to make to get good games.
But The Citadel, 12-18 a year ago and No. 257 in the KenPom rankings, probably should have been avoided.
Best road trip
Dec. 19 at Auburn
N.C. State beat Auburn 78-71 in Raleigh last season. (As former AD Debbie Yow famously reminded everyone on Twitter after the Tigers had knocked UNC out of the NCAA tournament.)
The Wolfpack will go to Auburn this time around. Bruce Pearl has lost some key parts from last year’s Final Four team but he will have another tough group.
Most difficult stretch
Feb. 19-25 (Duke, Florida State, UNC)
N.C. State doesn’t have to leave the Triangle after Feb. 16 but its final six games start with Duke at home, Florida State at home and a trip to UNC. The Wolfpack went 0-4 against those three NCAA tournament teams last season.
Jan. 4-18 (Clemson, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Miami)
N.C. State has a chance to make some hay in early January with a road game at Clemson (Jan. 4), Notre Dame at home (Jan. 8), a trip to Virginia Tech (Jan. 11) and then Miami (Jan. 15) and Clemson back in Raleigh (Jan. 18). A sweep or a 4-1 record in those five games is not out of the question before a visit with the national champions (Virginia) on Jan. 20.
ACC Network only
N.C. State has seven games set to air exclusively on the ACC Network: Georgia Tech (Nov. 5) at Wake Forest (Dec. 7), at Clemson (Jan. 4), at Miami (Feb. 5), at Boston College (Feb. 16), Pitt (Feb. 29), Wake Forest (March 6).
Three games to know
Nov. 28 vs. Memphis: The Tigers are loaded with the top recruiting class in the country. Penny Hardaway’s team is expected to make a big leap from an NIT finish last season.
Nov. 16 St. Francis (N.Y.): With a home football game against Louisville on the same day, it made sense to move this game to Reynolds Coliseum.
Feb. 29 Pittsburgh: “Leap Day” just might be “Sneaky Day” for the Panthers. Jeff Capel’s second team will be picked to finish near the bottom of the league again (3-15 last year) but the Panthers catch the Wolfpack between games at UNC and at Duke here.
N.C. State schedule
Oct. 27 Mount Olive (preseason)
Nov. 5 Georgia Tech (ACC Network)
Nov. 10 Detroit
Nov. 13 FIU
Nov. 16 xy-St. Francis, N.Y.
Nov. 19 xy-Alcorn State
Nov. 23 x-Arkansas-Little Rock
Nov. 28 xz-vs. Memphis (4 p.m., ESPN2)
Dec. 4 Wisconsin (9:15 p.m., ESPN2)
Dec. 7 at Wake Forest (ACC Network)
Dec. 15 at UNCG
Dec. 19 at Auburn
Dec. 22 The Citadel
Dec. 29 Appalachian State
Jan. 4 at Clemson (ACC Network)
Jan. 8 Notre Dame
Jan. 11 at Virginia Tech
Jan. 15 Miami
Jan. 18 Clemson
Jan. 20 at Virginia (ESPN)
Jan. 25 at Georgia Tech
Jan. 27 UNC (ESPN)
Feb. 1 Louisville
Feb. 5 at Miami (ACC Network)
Feb. 11 at Syracuse
Feb. 16 at Boston College (ACC Network)
Feb. 19 Duke
Feb. 22 Florida State
Feb. 25 at UNC
Feb. 29 Pittsburgh (ACC Network)
March 2 at Duke (ESPN)
March 6 Wake Forest (ACC Network)
Notes: x-Barclays Center Classic, y-at Reynolds Coliseum, z-at Brooklyn