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B1G's Top Ten Non-Conference Games

We all know the best games, and the only ones that really matter are B1G conference games. However, we all need something to watch until they start, here are the top 10 non-conference games for this season, including in-state rivalries, annual events and games from the Challenge.

Maryland's first time on the B1G side of the Challenge will be against rival Virginia
Maryland's first time on the B1G side of the Challenge will be against rival Virginia
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Pairing down the schedules of the now 14-team B1G conference to just ten match-ups is not a particularly easy task, but it is certainly an enjoyable and informative one. This list considers all non-conference games, with the exception of early season tournament games. These are all single games with no risk of a team saving themselves for the next round or being worn out from playing an overtime game the night before.

10a & 10b. Crossroads Classic (Purdue vs. Notre Dame, Indiana vs. Butler) 12/20

Basketball means more in Indiana than any other place in the world, and last season was only the second time since 1973 that the Hoosier state failed to earn a single NCAA bid. This yearly event has been showcasing the four biggest programs in the state since 2011, and none of the four are locks for the tournament this season, a few stumbles could leave the state's hopes with the likes of IPFW and Valpo. If Purdue and/or IU are going to make the big dance a win here will be just about essential.

9. Creighton @ Nebraska 12/07

Nebraska goes into this season looking to have their best season in recent history, but any accomplishments achieved by this year's team will feel incomplete without a victory over the Bluejays. The great Doug McDermott is gone, but you can be confident his father Greg will have Creighton ready to compete with their in-state rival.

8. Louisville vs. Minnesota 11/14

If you like jokes about fathers and sons playing basketball in the driveway, then this game is for you. Richard Pitino will take on his famous father in the Armed Forces Classic, taking place in Puerto Rico on a Coast Guard air station. This could be the hardest test of the season for the Golden Gophers and it comes in game number one. This is a great game to watch to start the season, especially with the added bonus of camo uniforms.

7. Illinois vs. Villanova 12/09

The Jimmy V Classic is always a popular event, and this year it features a B1G team in both games. IU plays Louisville and the Illini get a shot at Big East favorite Villanova. The Wildcats return four starters from last season's Big East championship team and have been picked to repeat by just about everyone. If John Groce can win in MSG, it'll be huge for his team and a feather in the cap of the conference for the rest of the season.

6. Michigan State vs. Duke 11/18

The Champions Classic is in Indianapolis this year and looks to be an exciting event yet again in its fourth year. The Spartans get a chance to prove themselves against the highly regarded Blue Devils, but unfortunately with two preseason top five teams in the other game this might get a bit overshadowed by the UK-KU match-up.

5. Iowa State @ Iowa 12/14

One of, if not the best non-conference rivalries involving a B1G team, the annual game between the two biggest schools in the state of Iowa has been decided by 10 points or less each of the last five seasons. This year should feature two ranked teams battling for bragging rights and prove they're ready to compete for the championship in their respective conferences. This game will reveal a lot about just how good these teams will be this season.

4. Michigan @ Arizona 12/13

The Wildcats are a trendy pick to win the National Championship this season, and in mid-December a reloaded Wolverines squad will head to Tucson with hopes of upsetting the Pac-12's darlings. Can Caris LeVert lead his team to victory in their first true road test of the season? This is another big chance for the conference to prove just how strong they are top to bottom.

3. Virginia @ Maryland 12/03

Virginia headed into College Park last season with the ACC regular season title already wrapped up and looking to send the Terps off to their new conference with a loss, but Maryland took the game in overtime and trotted off to greener pastures with their heads held high and their chests puffed out. Now, on the B1G side of the challenge for the first time, Maryland will welcome Cavaliers into their house for a rematch. This may not be the best match-up of the Challenge, but it should easily be the most volatile (probably a good thing that it is not in Virginia).

2. Ohio State vs. North Carolina 12/20

CBS Sports Classic, essentially an alternate version of the Champions Classic, will host its inaugural doubleheader in the United Center this season. One match-up features UK and UCLA, while the other will pit the Buckeyes against the Tar Heels. Both teams brought in top five recruiting classes for this season, with UNC having the slightest edge, but OSU has experienced senior Shannon Scott ready to step into a bigger leadership role for Thad Matta. Should be the nest ACC vs. B1G game this side of the challenge.

1. Duke @ Wisconsin 12/03

Two teams ranked in the top five are playing in the final game of the 2014 B1G-ACC Challenge, that should be all you need to know to want to watch this game.