The 2020-21 season still has a few games left in it, but bits and pieces are already known about Arizona’s 2021-22 slate.
The Wildcats are scheduled to play at both Gonzaga and Illinois, games that were supposed to be this season but got pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And now it appears the UA will be facing two other quality opponents as part of a November tournament in Las Vegas.
Taylor Eldridge of the Wichita Eagle is reporting that Arizona will join Michigan, UNLV and Wichita State in the MGM Resorts Main Event tourney. The games will be played Nov. 19 and 21 at T-Mobile Arena, the site of the Pac-12 Tournament.
Michigan, UNLV and Wichita State currently rank 3rd, 149th and 73rd in KenPom, respectively.
Arizona is 7-1 all-time at T-Mobile, where it claimed the 2017 and 2018 Pac-12 Tournament championships. The Wildcats beat Washington there in last year’s conference tournament before the pandemic halted the season.
It will be the first time Arizona plays regular season games in Vegas since December 2017 when it won 91-88 in overtime at UNLV. In November 2016, Arizona beat Santa Clara and lost to Butler in the Las Vegas Invitational at Orleans Arena.
Arizona has won three consecutive meetings against Michigan, most recently an 80-53 win at McKale Center in December 2014. The only matchup with Wichita in the last 67 years came in the first round of the 2016 NCAA tourney when the 11th-seeded Shockers upset the sixth-seeded Wildcats 65-55, though that game was more famous for Sean Miller’s sweat glands than anything else.
Two Things:— Matt Barrie (@MattBarrie) March 18, 2016
1. Sean Miller makes over 3-million a year. Under shirts aren't that expensive.
2. It's 11-mins in. pic.twitter.com/pjch5Pz5tp
The Pac-12 is slated to remain with a 20-game conference schedule in 2021-22, so that leaves Arizona with seven slots to fill on a 31-game slate. Most, if not all, of those games would likely be at McKale since prior to this COVID-impacted season the UA has never played fewer than seven non-league games at home under Miller.
Per Eldridge, the four Main Event will also play two additional games at home as part of the tournament against non-bracketed opponents. Those games are to be held between Nov. 12-16.
Arizona is also scheduled to play road games at Illinois and Gonzaga, which were supposed to take place in 2020-21 but were pushed back a season due to the pandemic.