LINCOLN — For the third time in its three years of Big Ten membership, the Nebraska men’s basketball team will start conference play with a run of powerhouse opponents.
First is a New Year’s Eve trip to NIT runner-up Iowa (25-13), touted as a sleeper pick to move into the Big Ten’s top three. Five days later is a trip to defending Big Ten tournament champion Ohio State (29-8).
Five days after that is NU’s home opener — against Michigan (31-8), national runner-up last year and a title challenger again. Then comes a game at Purdue (16-18), touted as the league’s best bounce-back candidate, followed by another game with Ohio State at home.
The schedule-makers also added some kick to the back end for Nebraska (15-18).
The Huskers’ final two regular-season games are at defending Big Ten champion Indiana (29-7) and at home with Wisconsin (23-12), which has played in the NCAA tournament for 15 straight seasons.
In a rarity, Nebraska will play more Sunday games (five) in league than Saturday (three).
As for TV, the Huskers’ opener against Michigan will be on ESPN or ESPN2. Four others are set for ESPNU.
NU will play 30 games this season: 12 nonconference and 18 conference, with 15 at home and 15 away.
The complete 2013-14 schedule:
Nov. 4: UNK (exhibition), 7 p.m.
Nov. 8: Florida Gulf Coast, TBA
Nov. 12: Western Illinois, 7 p.m.
Nov. 17: South Carolina State, 2 p.m.
» Nov. 21: vs. UMass,Charleston, S.C., 11:30 a.m.
» Nov. 22: vs. New Mexico or UAB, 11 a.m. /1:30 p.m.
» Nov. 24: TBA
Nov. 30: Northern Illinois, TBA
Dec. 4: Miami, 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 8: at Creighton, TBA
Dec. 14: Arkansas State, TBA
Dec. 21: The Citadel, TBA
Dec. 28: at Cincinnati, 3 p.m.
Dec. 31: at Iowa, 6 p.m.
Jan. 4: at Ohio State, 11 a.m.
Jan. 9: Michigan, 8 p.m.
Jan. 12: at Purdue, 11 a.m./3:30 p.m.
Jan. 20: Ohio State, 6 p.m.
Jan. 23: at Penn State, 7 p.m.
Jan. 26: Minnesota, 5 p.m.
Jan. 30: Indiana, 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 5: at Michigan, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 8: at Northwestern, Noon
Feb. 12: Illinois, 8 p.m.
Feb. 16: at Michigan State, 2 p.m.
Feb. 20: Penn State, 6 p.m.
Feb. 23: Purdue, 11 a.m./3 p.m.
Feb. 26: at Illinois, 8 p.m.
March 1: Northwestern, 4 p.m.
March 5: at Indiana, 6 p.m.
March 9: Wisconsin, 4:15/6:30 p.m.