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Analysis: Northwestern Releases Non-Con Schedule

The Wildcats have officially announced their full nonconference slate for the 2017-2017 season

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Salt Lake City Practice Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday morning, the Northwestern Wildcats released the non-conference portion of the program’s schedule for the upcoming season. The schedule features games that were already released, as well as a few games that were not.

Here is the schedule.

Northwestern will start off the season at their temporary home for the year, Allstate Arena, playing against Loyola Maryland.

The two teams have not played consistently the past few seasons, but the Greyhounds did play at Welsh-Ryan in the 2015-’16 season. The Greyhounds finished with a 16-17 record and lost to Coastal Carolina in the first round of the CBI last year.

Three days later, St. Peter’s will pay a visit to Allstate Arena. St Peter’s plays in the MAAC and won the CIT Championship last year.

As part of Northwestern’s participation in the Gavitt Games, they will host Creighton on November 15th. The Bluejays were a solid team last year and earned an NCAA Tournament appearance.

After a short home series, Northwestern will head to Connecticut to play in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off. First, they will face LaSalle on Saturday. Depending on the results of that game and the other games that weekend, they will either face Boston College or Texas Tech.

Northwestern will then head back to Allstate to play Sacred Heart on November 24th. Sacred Heart finished with a 13-19 record including an 8-10 record in conference play.

The Wildcats drew Georgia Tech for the eighth time in the Big Ten/ACC challenge. Northwestern will head to Georgia this year to play in the challenge, as they hosted Wake Forest at Welsh-Ryan Arena last year.

Northwestern will host Chicago State at Allstate Arena. The Cougars almost beat Northwestern at Welsh-Ryan last year. Tracy Dildy is the head coach at Chicago State and had a rough season with the Cougars last year. They only won one conference game. Tracy Dildy has recruited well and keeps the team on their toes by scheduling a tough nonconference schedule.

Valparaiso, the newest member of the Missouri Valley Conference, will visit Northwestern on December 14. Although they lost Alec Peters to graduation and will be adjusting to a new conference, it will be interesting to see how these two teams match up.

On December 16, Northwestern will enter the third year of its contract with DePaul and visit the new Wintrust Arena to face the Blue Demons. Two years ago, Northwestern barely beat DePaul in double overtime at Allstate Arena, the Blue Demons former home. Last year, the Wildcats blew DePaul out of Welsh-Ryan in the first half. How will this year go? Hopefully closer to last year than two years ago.

Northwestern will face a DII opponent this year, Lewis University, a local Illinois school on December 19.

The highlight of the nonconference schedule comes when Northwestern will travel to Oklahoma to face an Oklahoma team that missed the NCAA Tournament last year. This will be the first game of a two game home and home series against the Sooners. They will travel to the newly renovated Welsh-Ryan Arena to face the ‘Cats in the nonconference portion of the 2018 season.

Northwestern will finish their non-conference slate when they host Brown on December 30.

As per the press release, Northwestern’s non-conference schedule will be broken up when they will play two conference games in early December. This is in part due to the conference tournament being moved up because it will be played at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Overall, this schedule is an improvement from past years. While Northwestern is now an NCAA Tournament team, they are playing some quality mid-major teams. However, the margin for error is small again this year. With a good record and solid play in conference games, Northwestern should be able to make the NCAA Tournament again in 2018.