EVANSTON, Ill. -- A challenging nonconference slate awaits Chris Collins in his first season as head coach of the Northwestern men's basketball team in 2013-14.
The schedule features as many as five games against major conference opponents, a renewal of the series with DePaul -- among four games against in-state teams -- and an appearance in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational.
Following a home exhibition game against Lewis University on Nov. 6, Collins guides the 'Cats into in the regular season Nov. 9 as Eastern Illinois comes to Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Five days later, the Wildcats venture to Stanford for a return game following last year's contest in Evanston. The head coaches in the game are a pair of Duke alums as Collins and his team goes up against Johnny Dawkins and his squad.
Another rematch is on tap for Nov. 17 as NU comes back to Evanston to take on Illinois State. Last season, Northwestern defeated the Redbirds 72-69 in overtime in the championship game of the South Padre Island Invitational. Chris Collins' father, Doug, starred at Illinois State in the early 1970s and the court at Redbird Arena in Normal is named in his honor.
Yet another in-state matchup is on tap for Nov. 20 as the Wildcats make the short trip to UIC to take on the Flames. The last time Northwestern played at the UIC Pavilion was Nov. 27 and 28 of 2009 when the 'Cats defeated Notre Dame and Iowa State to win the Chicago Invitational Challenge.
NU then begins its involvement in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational. The Wildcats will play home games on Nov. 22 and 25 before competing at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Thanksgiving Day as well as the following day. Opponents for all Invitational games will be announced at a later day. Northwestern's field for the games in Las Vegas include UCLA, Missouri and Nevada.
Northwestern remains on the road Dec. 4 as it travels to NC State for a matchup in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
The Wildcats are back home Dec. 7 as they welcome Western Michigan to Welsh-Ryan Arena. The Broncos are the have been a common nonconference opponent for NU over the years as the squads have met up 26 times with 23 of the meetings coming between 1941 and 1964. In the last meeting between the teams, Northwestern posted a 65-63 win Dec. 8, 2007 in Kalamazoo.
Following a break for final exams, the 'Cats are back in action Dec. 16 at home against Mississippi Valley State before continuing a recent tradition of a home game right before the holidays as they face Brown on Dec. 22.
The nonconference slate wraps up with the return of DePaul to the Wildcats' schedule. The teams will meet up Dec. 27 at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The Blue Demons are Northwestern second-most often played nonconference foe all-time, but the Chicagoland schools haven't squared off since a 63-36 win by the 'Cats on Dec. 6, 2008.
Game times and television designations will be announced at a later date, as will the Wildcats' Big Ten schedule. Northwestern does know that it will host Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin this season.
Deposits for season tickets for the upcoming 2013-14 Northwestern men's basketball season are currently being accepted online at NUsports.com or by calling 888-GO-PURPLE.