Sean Miller is adding a powerhouse opponent to the Arizona Wildcats' basketball schedule. The Wildcats will play a home-and-home series against the UConn Huskies starting in 2017-18 at McKale Center and conclude it during the 2018-19 season at UConn.
While it's hard to predict just how a matchup would look two years down the road considering the turnover on the rosters and hard-to-predict recruiting outcomes, there are a number of similarities between UConn and Arizona that suggest they will be must-watch, feature games. Start with the coaches in Miller and UConn's Kevin Ollie, both of whom are amongst the next generation of elites. Look at where both started at Arizona and UConn respectively -- they were picking up the pieces following ugly ends to their respective Hall of Fame predecessors, Lute Olson and Jim Calhoun.
There's recent history in the minds of Wildcats fans, for sure. Arizona fell to UConn, 65-63, in the 2011 Elite Eight following Jamelle Horne's infamous three-point miss.
The two Nike schools clearly have a respect for one another. Ollie was expected to become the next young NBA hire but found a perfect home at UConn, where he led the Huskies to a surprise national championship this season, their first under the coach's tenure not under an NCAA-enacted postseason ban.
It's likely Ollie and Miller have gotten to know each other on the recruiting front. Despite being on the opposite sides of the country, Miller and assistant Book Richardson haven't shied away from recruiting the New York area, one that Ollie has continued to recruit aggressively. The New England area is an easy place for UConn to search for talent, and Arizona went into that territory to nab Kaleb Tarczewski a few years ago. And because Ollie grew up in California, he's even gone into the state that most hates the Wildcats. He recently nabbed 5-star swingman Daniel Hamilton out of the Los Angeles area.
Between the familiar situations, successful pasts and filling in for Hall of Famers, Miller and Ollie have few reasons not to play one another.