Mike Krzyzewski's final non-conference schedule sure is a tough one. Frankly, I have no idea how the Blue Devils are going to make it through such a gauntlet of powerhouse programs leading up to the ACC schedule.
We already knew of Duke's three event-specific matchups, with the program taking on Kentucky in the Champions Classic to open the season on Nov. 9, Gonzaga in the Continental Tire Challenge on Nov. 26 and Ohio State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Nov. 30. Three teams expected to be ranked in the preseason polls.
And then today, Duke released the remainder of its non-conference schedule, with the remaining eight regular season matchups being quite - for lack of a better word - underwhelming.
Check out the full slate:
- Winston-Salem State (Exhibition) - Oct. 30
- Kentucky - Nov. 9
- Army West Point - Nov. 12
- Campbell - Nov. 13
- Gardner-Webb - Nov. 16
- Lafayette - Nov. 19
- The Citadel - Nov. 22
- Gonzaga - Nov. 26
- at Ohio State - Nov. 30
- South Carolina State - Dec. 14
- Appalachian State - Dec. 16
- Cleveland State - Dec. 18
Mind you, Kentucky is set to take on Duke, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Louisville and Kansas in its non-conference schedule to go with the likes of Robert Morris, Central Michigan, Ohio, Mount St. Mary's, Albany and North Florida. All six non-power programs have played in the NCAA Tournament since 2000, with Robert Morris, Ohio, Mount St. Mary's and Albany all having at least three appearances during the John Calipari era in Lexington.
Here's the NCAA Tournament list for Duke's non-power foes since the year 2000:
- Gardner-Webb (2019)
- Lafayette (2000, 2015)
- South Carolina State (2000, 2003)
- Appalachian State (2000, 2021)
- Cleveland State (2009, 2021)
Really hope the Blue Devils are able to power through without taking too much of a beating. I've heard The Citadel is still feeling hot coming off its *checks notes* 2009 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament appearance.
November 9 can't get here fast enough.