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Stanford’s non-conference schedule is strong

Jul 24, 2014, 4:15 PM EDT

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Stanford released their non-conference schedule on Thursday, and it’s better than what you are going to see out of a lot of power conference programs:

Nov. 14: vs. Wofford
Nov. 16: vs. South Dakota
Nov. 21: vs. UNLV (Coaches vs. Cancer at Barclays)
Nov. 22: vs. Duke or Temple (Coaches vs. Cancer final)
Nov. 25: vs. Delaware
Nov. 30: at DePaul
Dec. 13: vs. Denver
Dec. 17: vs. Loyola Marymount
Dec. 20: at BYU
Dec. 23: at Texas
Dec. 29: vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Jan. 17: vs. Connecticut

Wofford should be the favorite to win the Southern Conference this season, while Denver has a chance to win the Summit League and Delaware is coming off of a trip to the NCAA tournament. UNLV is always an NCAA tournament contender while Connecticut is coming off of a run to the NCAA title, although without Shabazz Napier they will be closer to a borderline top 25 team. That’s a return game from a visit the Cardinal paid to the Nutmeg State a season ago.

There are two keys to their schedule:

  • For starters, Stanford has three true road games: at DePaul, at BYU and at Texas. Texas is a top ten team that has a chance to win the Big 12 this season. BYU will have a WCC Player of the Year contender in Tyler Haws and plays in front of some 20,000 fans at the Marriott Center. DePaul is DePaul, but that’s still a post-Thanksgiving trip to Chicago.
  • Get Duke in the Coaches vs. Cancer final. The Blue Devils are a potential top five team, and getting a win against them is the kind of thing that can turn a No. 5 seed into a No. 3 seed.