Duke basketball schedule keeps getting tougher with addition of another marquee matchup

Aiming to give what’s expected to be one of the nation’s top teams several chances to prove it, coach Jon Scheyer has lined up a host of high profile non-conference games next season for Duke.

That includes a game with Kansas on Nov. 26 in Las Vegas, a matchup that was officially announced Thursday.

The neutral site matchup is part of a western swing of games for the Blue Devils, who are scheduled to play at Arizona on Nov. 21 prior to traveling directly to Las Vegas to meet the Jayhawks in the Vegas Showdown at T-Mobile Arena. Both Kansas and Arizona project as not only NCAA Tournament-worthy teams for next season, but fellow top-25 preseason teams along with Duke.

In addition to playing Kansas and Arizona, Duke is also scheduled to meet Kentucky at the Champions Classic on Nov. 12 in Atlanta as well as Illinois in a neutral-site game next February at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The date for the game with Illinois has yet to be finalized.

The Blue Devils will also play a high-level opponent in the ACC-SEC challenge the week after Thanksgiving.

George Mason and Maine have also announced they’ll play nonconference games against Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium this season. Maine will play Duke on Nov. 4 in the season-opening game while George Mason will come to Durham to play on Dec. 17.

Seattle, from the Western Athletic Conference, will play at Duke on Nov. 29.

George Mason is coming off a 20-12 season while Seattle went 23-14 last season.

Scheyer has led Duke to consecutive 27-9 seasons in his first two years as Duke’s coach, following Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski’s retirement. The NCAA Tournament selection committee slotted the Blue Devils as a No. 5 regional seed in 2023 and a No. 4 seed last March.

Next season’s schedule is designed to boost Duke’s ranking in the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) and give the Blue Devils the best chance of securing a better NCAA Tournament seed.

Scheyer’s third team will included six freshmen who comprise the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class. Cooper Flagg, a 6-9 forward, is the No. 1-rated recruit and projected to be the top pick in the 2025 NBA Draft. Khaman Maluach, a 7-2 center from Africa, is also part of the class and a projected one-and-done player.

Duke returns two starting guards in 6-5 junior Tyrese Proctor and 6-5 sophomore Caleb Foster. The Blue Devils added senior guard Sion James, senior forward Mason Gillis and junior forward Maliq Brown via the transfer portal.

The 6-6 James started the past four seasons at Tulane, while the 6-5 Gillis was the Big Ten sixth man of the year with Purdue last season. Brown made the ACC’s all-defensive team, leading the league in steals, at Syracuse as a sophomore.

Four other freshmen, 6-11 center Patrick Ngongba, 6-6 forward Isaiah Evans, 6-5 forward Kon Knueppel and 6-6 forward Darren Harris, comprise the rest of the incoming recruiting class.

Cameron Sheffield, a graduate student guard, is also joining the Blue Devils as a transfer from Rice.

In addition to the nonconference games lined up, Duke is scheduled to play ACC home games against North Carolina, Wake Forest, Miami, California, Florida State, NC State, Notre Dame, Pitt, Stanford and Virginia Tech with road ACC games at Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Louisville, SMU, Syracuse, Virginia, North Carolina, Wake Forest and Miami.