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Arizona men's, women's basketball teams begin preseason practice

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The temperatures are starting to dip in Tucson, so you know what that means.

(No, it does not mean it's time to crank up the heat and break out the parkas. What are you going to do when it actually gets cold?)

The turn of the calendar to fall means it's almost college basketball season, and on Tuesday Arizona's men's and women's squads began preseason practice.

The Arizona men's team is entering a new era as Tommy Lloyd takes over for Sean Miller after 12 seasons. Lloyd, a longtime assistant at Gonzaga, inherits a program still waiting to learn its fate (and punishment) from an NCAA investigation into various recruiting allegations.

The Wildcats, who went 17-9 in 2020-21 and missed the NCAA Tournament after self-imposing a postseason ban, only return five scholarship players from a year ago. They open the 2021-22 campaign Nov. 9 at McKale Center against NAU.

There's far more stability on the women's side, as Adia Barnes enters her sixth season armed with a hefty new contract and a roster full of returning contributors from last season’s magical run to the NCAA championship game. However, the Wildcats do have a huge hole to fill in the form of Pac-12 Player of the Year Aari McDonald, who recently finished her rookie campaign in the WNBA and is set to play overseas this fall.

The Arizona women’s team has yet to release its nonconference schedule.

Check back to AZ Desert Swarm throughout the week as both the men (Wednesday) and women (Friday) will be holding their annual Media Day activities, and the men’s squad is set to hold their annual Red-Blue Scrimmage at 3 p.m. Saturday.