College Basketball Preview
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Weekly lineup
 Wednesday, November 3
Top 25 games to watch
By Howie Schwab

 The Top 25 usually generates excitement at the start of the season. Of course, that's a poll and fans love to know where their team is ranked.

Fans can look forward to great action all season. Projecting the top regular-season games is never easy, though college basketball has so many great intersectional rivalries generating interest. There is also the pride factor of seeing how each of the major conferences fare in head-to-head challenges.

So here it goes, the top 25 non-league games of the regular season, including a few projected matchups from tournaments:

November 11
Duke vs. Stanford (Coaches vs. Cancer, Madison Square Garden)
These two teams have a lot of new faces. It is still a great way to open the season.

November 12
Duke/Stanford winner vs. Connecticut (Coaches vs. Cancer, Madison Square Garden)
If the Blue Devils and Huskies meet, it's a national championship game rematch on the second day of the season! Of course, should Iowa shock the defending champs the night before, this could change.

November 24
Florida vs. North Carolina (potential Maui Invitational final)
This is a battle of youth vs. experience. Ed Cota and the Tar Heels want to quiet the talented Gators. It's also a great contrast of coaches, both young (Billy Donovan) and older (Bill Guthridge).

November 26
Kentucky vs. Ohio State/Arizona winner (projected preseason NIT final)
There is no lock that these teams will make it to the final. The field is pretty solid, so the championship should feature two quality opponents no matter what.

November 27
Auburn vs. Stanford (John Wooden Classic, Anaheim, Ca.)
Chris Porter vs. Mark Madsen. This is Auburn's toughest non-league test. The Tigers want to prove the 1998-99 season wasn't a fluke; the potential for success is there.

November 30
Duke vs. Illinois (ACC/Big Ten Challenge, in Chicago)
This is important for Mike Krzyzewski since he's from Chicago and he'll have friends and family rooting his team on. It's a great challenge to see how far Lon Kruger's team has improved.

December 1
Michigan State at North Carolina
This would have been something special if Mateen Cleaves was healthy. A Cleaves-Cota showdown would have been exciting. This will still be a war on the boards. The Spartans want to beat a high-profile ACC team after losing to Duke twice last year.

December 4
DePaul at Duke
Quentin Richardson and company get to see what life at Cameron Indoor Stadium is like. There is also a revenge factor after the Blue Demons were blown out by the Blue Devils last season.

December 4
Gonzaga vs. Cincinnati (Rock and Roll Shootout in Cleveland)
Gonzaga has upgraded its non-league schedule, and this is one of the toughest tests. We'll see how Matt Santangelo and his teammates fare against the physical Bearcats.

December 7
Michigan State vs. Kansas (Great Eight in Chicago)
How many people remember the 1986 Sweet 16 battle between these teams? The clock broke and Kansas ended up prevailing in OT. Tom Izzo vs. Roy Williams figures to be a chess match.

December 7
Arizona vs. Connecticut (Great Eight in Chicago)
Two of the last three national champions clash. Pac-10 vs. Big East ... not your every-day showdown. It should still be an intense game.

December 8
Cincinnati vs. North Carolina (Great Eight in Chicago)
These teams have met in the NCAA tournament in the recent past. This should be fierce.

December 11
Michigan State at Arizona
The Spartans have a tough road test. Can Michigan State stop Loren Woods inside?

December 14
St. John's at DePaul
This is more than Chicago vs. New York. Pat Kennedy has a history vs. St. John's from his days as Iona's head coach.

December 16
Ohio State at Kansas
Big Ten vs. Big 12. Can the Buckeyes contain Eric Chenowith? Can Kansas slow down the backcourt tandem of Penn and Redd?

December 18
Louisville at Kentucky
No matter how good these teams are, this is a war. You'll see plenty of fans clad in red and in blue as this is arguably the greatest non-conference rivalry in the sport.

December 18
DePaul at UCLA
Brings back memories of Ray Meyer and John Wooden.

December 18
Illinois vs. Kansas (at the United Center)
A midwest battle which should bring back memories for Kruger. Remember, he used to coach the Jayhawks' rival, Kansas State.

December 23
Michigan State at Kentucky
We will find out how far Tubby Smith's team has come.

January 15
UCLA at North Carolina
The last time these teams met was at the 1997 Great Alaska Shootout. North Carolina won that game by 41 points. Do you think Steve Lavin may remind his team about that debacle?

January 22
Ohio State at St. John's
A rematch of an Elite Eight showdown, the guard matchup of Penn vs. Erick Barkley is as good as it gets.

January 26
Florida at DePaul
Mike Miller vs. Quentin Richardson ... not bad.

February 5
Connecticut at Michigan State
If Cleaves is healthy, the backcourt matchup vs. Khalid El-Amin should be exciting. The Spartans would love to avenge last year's loss to the Huskies.

February 13
UCLA at Syracuse
Since the Orangemen recruit a lot of players in LA, this game has added significance. Syracuse would like to get revenge after being blasted at Pauley Pavilion last year.

February 20
Temple at Cincinnati
These teams have met several times this decade. This could be the most intense coaching matchup as Bobby Huggins and John Chaney do battle.
America East
Atlantic 10
Big East
Big Sky
Big South
Big Ten
Big 12
Big West
Conference USA
Ivy League
Mid-Eastern Athletic
Missouri Valley
Mountain West
Ohio Valley
Sun Belt
West Coast