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Arizona unlikely to play Gonzaga in 2021-22 after hiring Tommy Lloyd

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 29 Dixie State at Gonzaga Photo by Robert Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

At his introductory press conference, new Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd choked up every time he talked about Gonzaga and his relationship with Mark Few. The two worked together for over 20 years, building the Bulldog program into a national powerhouse.

Having to coach against each other in their first year apart would be emotional, so Lloyd said the Arizona-Gonzaga game that is scheduled for 2021-22 in Spokane will likely be pushed back “a few years down the road.”

“I think coach Few and I both thought, ‘You know, maybe this first year, it’s probably best for both programs to push [the rivalry] back a little bit just to give us a little space,’” Lloyd told Christopher Boan of Patch.com.

The game was originally scheduled for 2020-21, but was postponed a year due to COVID-19. It’s the return game of a home-home series. The Bulldogs beat the Wildcats 84-80 in McKale in 2019-20.

Lloyd has been busy recruiting, filling out his coaching staff and adjusting to Tucson, so he said he actually hasn’t had much time to catch up with Few since being hired by Arizona on April 14.

They will eventually.

“Well, we have a great relationship. I mean, we worked together for 22 years,” Lloyd told Boan. “Our wives are best friends, our kids are more like cousins than friends. So obviously, we’re close. And we’ll touch base a few times. But this time of year in college basketball, you’re not usually doing a bunch of talking to other other schools, because everybody’s so busy.

“I mean, everybody has spots to fill or potential transfers on their own roster. Or scheduling all this stuff. So I think once things settle down the next few weeks, we’ll definitely be in touch more often.”