Arizona basketball schedule: Wildcats release 2014-15 nonconference matchups

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

The Arizona basketball team released its 2014-15 nonconference schedule.

The Arizona Wildcats released their nonconference basketball schedule for the 2014-15 season, and there have been several twists to the matchups over the first few months of the offseason. We discussed the weakening of the schedule based on what we knew before, and a lot of what happened in the Pac-12 is the case for the nonconference opponents -- transfers, coaching changes and general turnover are hurting consistency across the board.

Here are some additional notes now that we know the specifics.

DATE OPPONENT LOCATION
Sun,Nov 09 Cal Poly Pomona Tucson, AZ
Fri,Nov 14 Mount St. Mary's Tucson, AZ
Sun,Nov 16 Cal State Northridge Tucson, AZ
Wed,Nov 19 UC Irvine Tucson, AZ
Mon,Nov 24 TBD Lahaina, HI
Tue,Nov 25 TBD Lahaina, HI
Wed,Nov 26 TBD Lahaina, HI
Tue,Dec 02 Gardner-Webb Tucson, AZ
Sat,Dec 06 Gonzaga Tucson, AZ
Tue,Dec 09 Utah Valley Tucson, AZ
Sat,Dec 13 Michigan Tucson, AZ
Tue,Dec 16 Oakland Tucson, AZ
Fri,Dec 19 UTEP at El Paso, TX
Tue,Dec 23 UNLV at Las Vegas, NV

The first intriguing game

Arizona should cruise through its first four games of the year, but a November 19 matchup against UC Irvine jumps off the page. The Wildcats will face 7-foot-6, 290 pound center Mamadou Ndiaye, who averaged 8.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game as a freshman last season.

The big man has reasonable basketball skills and isn't as lumbering as you might initially believe. He'll pose an early, intriguing challenge for Kaleb Tarczewski and Arizona.

The Maui Invitational

The bracket isn't set yet, but there's likely to be drama for Arizona. It joins host Chaminade in Maui, but the field will include power conference schools Kansas State, BYU, Pitt, Missouri, Purdue and San Diego State. BYU, Kansas State and Pitt are coming off NCAA Tournament appearances, but yet another rematch with the Aztecs, who lost to Arizona in the Sweet 16, would keep the West Coast rivalry ever more alive. Former Wildcats forward Angelo Chol should be eligible for SDSU as well.

Sean Miller could also play his alma mater, Pittsburgh.

Two familiar foes

Arizona beat Gonzaga in the NCAA Tournament round of 32 quite handily last season, and that December 6 matchup could be a fun one. What might be more entertaining is a December 13 game against Michigan, which is losing Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas to the NBA. Caris LeVert returns for the Wolverines, who should still be a talented team in 2014-15.

Rising and falling

UTEP has turned things around under coach Tim Floyd and last season finished 23-11 and 12-4 in C-USA action. UNLV, meanwhile, has some holes to plug after departures of big men Roscoe Smith and Khem Birch.

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