The University at Buffalo men’s basketball team will have a marquee non-conference schedule for the second straight year.
UB will visit national power Iowa State on Dec. 7, just two days after it visits defending national champion Duke. Iowa State is projected to be a top-five ranked team to open the 2015-16 season and released its non-conference slate this week.
The Bulls also will visit perennial Atlantic 10 Conference power Virginia Commonwealth on Dec. 22.
Iowa State, which went 25-9 last season, might be ranked higher than Duke to open the season. The Cyclones spent all of last season in the top 20 and finished second in the Big 12 Conference. They return two potential All-America players in 6-foot-8 forward Georges Niang and point guard Monte Morris. They ranked 14th in the nation in scoring last season, averaging 78.4 ppg.
New UB coach Nate Oats has a relationship with Fred Hoiberg, who coached Iowa State the past five years. Hoiberg was named new head coach of the Chicago Bulls on June 2 and was replaced by Steve Prohm, formerly of Murray State.
UB last season used a strong non-conference schedule to bolster its Ratings Percentage Index standing and toughen its squad for Mid-American Conference play. UB's coaches thought those games helped the players during the stretch run to the MAC title. UB played at Kentucky and Wisconsin, the national finalists, last season. The Bulls are expected to be strong again this season.
Three players on Duke’s roster were picked in the first round of the NBA Draft Thursday. But Duke (35-4) could contend for another national title thanks to two McDonald’s All-America recruits – 6-11 center Chase Jeter and 6-6 shooting guard Luke Kennard. They also added one of the top high school point guards in the nation in Derryck Thornton.
UB hasn't released its full non-conference schedule yet. One of its home games will be against Binghamton on Dec. 12.