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Arizona basketball to host UTEP instead of New Mexico State on Saturday

Another schedule change

arizona-wildcats-utep-miners-nmsu-aggies-covid19-schedule-change-replacement-basketball-mckale-2020 Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats’ nonconference schedule has undergone yet another COVID-related change, in this case replacing a replacement team with an opponent that was on the original slate.

Arizona will host UTEP on Saturday at McKale Center, taking the spot briefly held by New Mexico State.

NMSU—which was only added to the schedule last week—had to pause its program after a positive COVID-19 test within its program. The Aggies had been the replacement for UTEP, whom Arizona was supposed to host on Nov. 29 only to have the Miners also pause activity due to COVID cases.

UTEP is 2-0 but those wins have come against non-Division I schools, with the Miners set to visit Saint Mary’s on Wednesday. They are currently ranked 198th on KenPom.com, a significant downgrade from the No. 104 spot of NMSU, which has won 21 consecutive games dating back to last season. (However, the Aggies just lost the WAC Preseason Player of the Year Jabari Rice for several weeks due to a foot injury.)

To recap, here’s what Arizona’s remaining December schedule looks like (as of now):

  • Monday vs. NAU (7 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Network)
  • Wednesday vs. Cal State Bakersfield (5 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Network)
  • Saturday vs. UTEP (4 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Network)
  • Dec. 16 vs. Cal Baptist (5 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Network)
  • Dec. 19 at Stanford (time TBD, Pac-12 Network)
  • Dec. 22 vs. Montana (5 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Network)
  • Dec. 28 vs. Colorado (7:30 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Network)
  • Dec. 31 vs. Washington (time TBD, Pac-12 Network)