LINCOLN — The Nebraska basketball team released what coach Tim Miles called a “phenomenal” nonconference schedule on Friday.
The slate, which includes matchups with Sweet 16 teams Florida Gulf Coast and Miami, will feature at least six teams that won 20 or more games last season.
“I can’t imagine it won’t be one of the top 25 schedules in the country,” Miles said.
The Huskers play five of their 12 nonconference games on the road, highlighted by three games at the Charleston Classic. The eight-team field includes first-round opponent UMass along with NCAA qualifiers New Mexico, Temple and Davidson. NU also travels to NCAA tournament qualifiers Creighton and Cincinnati.
The Huskers’ lone exhibition will be Nov. 4, when they host the University of Nebraska at Kearney at Pinnacle Bank Arena. It will be the third time NU and UNK have played an exhibition, but the first since 2006-07.
The regular-season opener at Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for Nov. 8, when the Huskers host Florida Gulf Coast. The Eagles return four starters from the team that become the first 15 seed to advance to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament. FGCU finished the year 26-11.
On Nov. 12, NU continues a three-game homestand against a Western Illinois squad that won the Summit League regular-season title and went 22-8. WIU, which will face the Huskers for the first time since 2001-02, ranked second nationally in scoring defense last year, allowing 52.7 points per game. NU concludes the stretch Nov. 18 against South Carolina State, which returns four starters.
Nebraska opens the Charleston Classic on Nov. 21 at 11:30 a.m. against UMass, which finished 21-12 and made the NIT last season, It will be the first meeting between the programs. The Minutemen return three starters, including All-Atlantic 10 point guard Chaz Williams, who ranked third nationally with 7.3 assists per game while averaging 15.5 points.
NU will take on either UAB or New Mexico on Nov. 22, with the semifinal taking place at 1:30 p.m. on ESPN2 or ESPNU, and the consolation game at 11 a.m. on ESPNU or ESPN3. The Huskers will meet one of the remaining four teams — Clemson, Davidson Georgia or Temple — on the final day of the tournament Nov. 24.
Nebraska returns home for a matchup with Northern Illinois on Nov. 30, the first contest between the programs since 1991, before embarking on a challenging December slate.
The Huskers will face three NCAA tournament teams in December, opening with defending ACC champion Miami on Dec. 4 for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Hurricanes were 29-7 last season, winning the ACC regular-season and tournament titles for the first time in program history before falling to Marquette in the Sweet 16.
On Dec. 8, Nebraska faces Creighton at CenturyLink Center. The Huskers hold a 25-21 lead in the in-state series.
NU returns home for a pair of games sandwiched around final exams. On Dec. 14, the Huskers face Arkansas State, winners of the Sun Belt Western Division. Nebraska also hosts The Citadel on Dec. 21.
The Huskers wrap up nonconference action on the road, traveling to Cincinnati on Dec. 28, in the first game of a home-and-home series. The Bearcats are coming off three straight NCAA tournament appearances and welcome back leading scorer Sean Kilpatrick, who averaged 17.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
The start times and television information for the remainder of Nebraska’s home games will be announced later this summer.
The nonconference schedule
Nov. 4, Nebraska-Kearney
Nov. 8, Florida Gulf Coast, BTN
Nov. 12, Western Illinois
Nov. 17 South Carolina State
Nov. 21, vs. UMass, Charleston, S.C., ESPN3, 11:30 a.m.
Nov. 22, vs. New Mexico or UAB, Charleston, S.C.
Nov. 24, vs. TBA (Clemson, Davidson, Georgia, Temple), Charleston, S.C.
Nov. 30, Northern Illinois
Dec. 4, Miami
Dec. 8, at Creighton
Dec. 14, Arkansas State
Dec. 21, The Citadel
Dec. 28, at Cincinnati