Road to the Final Four: Nation's Top Non-Conference Battles

Jameson FlemingSenior Writer IAugust 20, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - MARCH 27:  Cole Aldrich #45 of the Kansas Jayhawks drives against Goran Suton #14 of the Michigan State Spartans during the third round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Lucas Oil Stadium on March 27, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Editor's Note) Click the logos for more information on the games. The numbered icons mean multiple games are located at that spot. Click the numbered icon for the multiple games. Bleacher Report formatting won't allow for the full map to fit in text box; moving the map around will show all points. There are 14 games highlighted on the map.

With more than 340 teams across the country, there are more than just those 14 great games. Here's a few more:

Kentucky vs. traditional rivals, at Indiana on Dec. 12 and vs. North Carolina on Dec. 5

The Wildcats are finally back in the national spotlight for the right reasons and will play their yearly games against the rebuilding Hoosiers and reloading Tar Heels.

Indiana is back on the road to respectability and a win over rival Kentucky will go a long way to putting the Hoosiers back on the map.

For North Carolina, a win against UK would make it clear the Heels are reloading, not rebuilding after losing their top four players from last year's National Championship team.

North Carolina at Texas at Cowboys Stadium, Dec. 19

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The Tar Heels love playing in NFL Stadiums (took on Michigan State at Ford Field last year) and so far are undefeated at 3-0 after dominating the Final Four.

Texas is incredibly strong in the front court which should UNC's strength, as Roy Williams returns sophomore center Ed Davis and senior Deon Thompson.

Texas at Connecticut, Jan. 23

The two schools don't know where they are playing this tilt, but both teams should be in midseason form as this contest will take place during the conference schedule.

This game would have been one for the ages if it was this year's Texas team vs. last year's UConn team that featured Hasheem Thabeet and Jeff Adrien, but this year's game will still be memorable.

Ohio State at Butler, Dec. 12

These two teams played a wrestling match of a basketball game last season in Columbus. This year, the two will tip-off in Hinkle Fieldhouse as both squads should be better than last year.

A matchup of Evan Turner vs. Gordon Hayward should have college basketball fans licking their chops.

Syracuse at Florida, Dec. 10

Last year the two teams played and it was the Jonny Flynn vs. Nick Calathes show. But both guards are gone, and the two schools will look towards incoming transfer Wes Johnson to lead the Orange, and Alex Tyus, who almost left Florida, will lead the Gators.

Duke at Georgetown, Jan. 31

Up and down the roster, the Blue Devils have more talent than the Hoyas, but Georgetown should be a much improved team on a mission to make the Georgetown faithful forget about last year's disaster.

Greg Monroe could turn into a Player of the Year candidate as he'll shine in the spotlight now that DaJuan Summers and Jessie Sapp are gone. Those two departures are almost addition by subtraction for the Hoyas.

Questions, concerns, or mistakes? Email Jameson at jamesonfleming@gmail.com. For more college basketball links and updates follow Jameson on Twitter.


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