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Arizona basketball: Wildcats to play Grand Canyon Antelopes in 2016

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A new in-state rivalry will be fired up as soon as possible

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

With the Grand Canyon Antelopes getting closer to postseason eligibility in Division-1 sports, the Pac-12's moratorium of its teams scheduling the Lopes has been lifted.

And the Arizona Wildcats are going to take advantage of the change of policy immediately, as they will host GCU at McKale Center in 2016.

The Pac-12 had this policy in place because of a perceived issue from ASU president Michael Crow based on GCU's financial model. The Antelopes have played NAU in basketball on a couple of occasions the past couple of seasons as their lone in-state rivalry game.

Arizona has played GCU in other sports in recent years, including baseball, softball, and sand volleyball, but did not have the Phoenix school on any schedules in the 2014-15 and 15-16 academic years.

Grand Canyon has made great strides in both basketball and baseball. The Lopes were close to winning the WAC regular season championship in basketball last year, and did in fact finish atop the conference's standings in baseball. Their baseball team dominated Arizona when they came down here a couple of years ago as well.

So getting this rivalry going in multiple sports will be good for both schools.

Grand Canyon plays a ridiculous non-conference schedule next year, as Lopes head coach Dan Majerle says in the video above that Louisville and San Diego State are both coming to Phoenix, and they will play at Duke and at Arizona.

Hopefully Arizona will make a return trip to GCU Arena. Although it is smaller, the fans there have really gotten behind their team, and created a great home atmosphere in Phoenix. It's arguably as good as the Arizona atmosphere, just on a smaller scale. But that would be a great road trip for the Wildcats to make at some point in the near future.