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Arizona men’s basketball to open 2022-23 season vs. Nicholls instead of NAU, per report

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It appears that Tommy Lloyd’s aversion to playing against teams to which he has a personal connection extends beyond Gonzaga.

College basketball scheduling aggregator Rocco Miller is reporting that Arizona will open the 2022-23 season at home against Nicholls rather than NAU, as was originally planned. The Wildcats will host the Colonels on Nov. 7, the first day of the season.

Per Miller, the change is due to NAU being where Lloyd’s son, Liam, transferred to after spending two seasons at Gonzaga. The UA coach hinted at the possibility of this happening back in April, saying the “defensive gameplan” for guarding Liam “might be to push that game back.”

Arizona had faced NAU in three consecutive seasons, opening the Tommy Lloyd era last November with an 81-52 win over the Lumberjacks, and 16 times since 2002. The Wildcats are 39-0 in the all-time series.

Nicholls, from the Southland Conference, went 21-12 last season under coach Austin Claunch and played in the NIT. The Colonels are 0-1 against the UA, losing 99-60 in the first round of the 1998 NCAA Tournament.

Miller’s report indicates Arizona had previously lined up Northern Illinois to replace NAU before switching to Nicholls. The Wildcats’ full nonconference schedule is expected to be released sometime this month after contracts for its remaining home games are signed.

Below is what is believed to be early portion of the 2022-23 slate:

  • Nov. 7 vs. Nicholls
  • Nov. 11 vs. Southern
  • Nov. 14 vs. TBD
  • Nov. 17 vs. Utah Tech
  • Nov. 21 vs. Cincinnati (Maui Invitational)
  • Nov. 22 vs. Ohio State or San Diego State (Maui)
  • Nov. 23 vs. TBD (Maui)
  • Dec. 1 at Utah*
  • Dec. 4 vs. Cal*
  • Dec. 10 vs. Indiana (Las Vegas)
  • Dec. 13 vs. TBD
  • Dec. 17 vs. Tennessee
  • Dec. 20 vs. TBD

(*-Pac-12 game)