One down, two to go.
The first of Arizona’s three Pac-12 games that were postponed due to their opponents’ COVID-19 issues has been rescheduled, with the Wildcats set to visit No. 3 UCLA on Jan. 25. The Tuesday night game will begin at 9 p.m. MT and will be shown on ESPN.
Sixth-ranked Arizona (12-1, 2-0) was supposed to visit Pauley Pavilion on Dec. 30 before the Bruins had to pause their program. UCLA (10-1, 2-0) went nearly four weeks without a game before returning Jan. 6 for a nonconference home game against Long Beach State despite the UA being available to play on that date.
That move led to online rumors of UCLA ducking the Wildcats, as well as speculation that the Pac-12 was preventing the UA and UCLA from playing in Los Angeles during a time when the Bruins (as well as USC and Stanford) aren’t allowing fans—at least through Jan. 21—dueto enhanced local COVID restrictions, or that they couldn’t get one of their TV partners on board to broadcast the game, though Stanford and USC ended up playing a rescheduled game Tuesday at 2 p.m. local time.
“Neither one of those was was given to me as a an excuse why we didn’t play,” UA coach Tommy Lloyd said Wednesday in his press conference previewing Thursday’s game with Colorado, which will be only the second in 22 days. “I’m not aware of any gamesmanship or anything like that going on. Everybody on the outside looking in wants sit around and try to look through the haystack and find little little reasons ... like we got slighted. Listen, we haven’t been slighted. The situation’s hard for everybody.”
The Arizona/UCLA game was one of five rescheduled by the Pac-12 on Wednesday, but it still has seven more to find dates for, including the UA’s visits to USC and ASU that were originally set for Jan. 2 and Jan. 8, respectively.
“I would expect all those conference games to be made up and we’re ready to play them,” Lloyd said. “We know it’s going to create some log jams in the schedule, probably for everybody. But again, it’s an opportunity to compete and play a game against other good teams. So we’re going to welcome those opportunities when they’re presented to us.”
Going to UCLA on Jan. 25 means Arizona will play three road games in a 6-day span, facing Stanford on Jan. 20 and Cal on Jan. 23. Its next game after that is home against ASU on Jan. 29.