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.
|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.