An NCAA basketball team’s best chance to impress the selection committee is by playing and beating quality opponents outside of its own conference. Some contenders take that lesson to heart while others play as few challenging nonconference games as possible.
One program that’s squarely in the former camp is New Mexico, which faces a brutal December under new coach Craig Neal. The toughest of three games against power-conference foes in that month has the Lobos traveling to Lawrence to take on Andrew Wiggins and Big 12-favorite Kansas.
Herein, a closer look at the Lobos-Jayhawks showdown and the rest of the most daunting nonconference contests on the schedule of each of the top 20 teams from our latest preseason rankings.
Note: most teams on this list are playing preseason tournaments such as the Maui Invitational. Potential later-round matchups in those tourneys are often among the best games of the nonconference season but were not included here because an upset on either side of the bracket would keep the game from happening.