The Arizona Wildcats released their 2018-19 non-conference schedule on Thursday, excluding the game times and broadcast information, which will be revealed at a later date.
Here it is, along with some takeaways.
- Arizona’s date and opponent for its regular season opener are still to be determined, apparently.
- Arizona’s home non-conference schedule is underwhelming. The marquee matchup is against Baylor, which ESPN projects will miss the NCAA Tournament. The second-best opponent is.....Montana? Arizona also doesn’t host USC or UCLA this year during conference play, so it’s a rough year for UA season-ticket holders.
- While the home non-conference schedule is light, the road non-conference schedule is a little tougher, with away games at Alabama and UConn. Still, neither is projected to make the tournament this year, so it’s not exactly a gauntlet.
- No matter, the Maui Invitational will put Arizona to the test. It’s one of the strongest fields the tournament has ever seen, consisting of Duke, Gonzaga, Xavier, Illinois, Iowa State, San Diego State, and Auburn. Gonzaga (1), Duke (6), Auburn (11), and San Diego State (36) were all ranked in Andy Katz’ Power 36 preseason rankings.
- A weaker non-conference schedule might not be such a bad thing for Arizona, which has a lot of question marks entering the season. It will have time to sort them out. Two years ago, having a weak non-conference schedule proved to be a blessing since the team was decimated by injuries and suspensions.
- Former Wildcat walk-on Paulo Cruz returns to McKale Center on Nov. 11 when Arizona hosts Cal Poly.
In case you missed it last week, Arizona’s Pac-12 schedule looks like this. (Our analysis can be found here.)
Week of Jan. 2-6
Colorado/Utah at Arizona
Week of Jan. 9-13
Arizona at California/Stanford
Week of Jan. 16-20
Oregon/Oregon State at Arizona
Week of Jan. 23-27
Arizona at UCLA/USC
Week of Jan. 30-Feb. 3
Arizona at Arizona State
Week of Feb. 6-10
Washington/Washington State at Arizona
Week of Feb. 13-17
Arizona at Colorado/Utah
Week of Feb. 20-24
California/Stanford at Arizona
Week of Feb. 27-March 3
Arizona at Oregon/Oregon State
Week of March 6-9
Arizona State at Arizona