The Pac-12 women’s basketball schedule has finally been released—and what a doozy it is. The league features six teams in the Associated Press Top 25 and three more receiving votes. Two of those teams—UCLA and Utah—are ranked in the top five. The Arizona Wildcats, who received one vote in the AP poll, will face a gauntlet in the final season of the conference with the Pac-12 featuring more ranked teams than any other league.
Despite being unranked, the UA is among the teams listed by DraftKings Sportsbook with odds to win the NCAA title. The Wildcats are +20000, which is tied for 39th-best in the country.
The league will feature 130 games televised on the Pac-12 Networks and five more on the ESPN networks. Arizona will play one of the ESPN games when it faces USC in the Galen Center on ESPN2 Monday, Feb. 12, 2024. The television information for the Dec. 20 game against Gonzaga at the Footprint Center in Phoenix is still unknown.
The Wildcats’ first appearance on the Pac-12 Network will be on Wednesday, Dec. 13 when they finally host No. 13 Texas. That game is part of a home-and-home deal between Arizona and the Longhorns made under UT’s previous head coach. The first game was played in Austin on Nov. 17, 2019. UA blew out then-No. 22 Texas 83-58 behind 44 points from Aari McDonald. The return game has been postponed due to various pandemic-related complications since then.
The nonconference game against the Longhorns will be the first of 18 Arizona games televised on the Pac-12 Networks. Those include all conference games except the USC game that will be aired on ESPN2.
Conference play will kick off between the Texas and Gonzaga games. Arizona will travel to Tempe to take on Arizona State on Sunday, Dec. 17 before returning to nonconference play for the rest of the month.
The meat of the conference season starts with a tough pair of games in McKale Center at the beginning of the new year. Arizona will face No. 20 Colorado on Friday, Jan. 5 and No. 5 Utah on Sunday, Jan. 7. Fortunately for the Wildcats, this will be their only meeting with the Buffaloes and the Utes, and they get to face both ranked opponents at home.
The second full week of league play means a trip to the state of Oregon. While both the Beavers and the Ducks have questions coming into the season, they both defeated Arizona at home last year. Like Arizona, Oregon is young and has a lot of new faces. They also received one vote in the AP poll. It is the only meeting between the Arizona schools and the Oregon schools this season.
The Wildcats stay on the road the next week and have another ranked opponent. UA will go to Seattle on Friday, Jan. 19 to face a Washington team that received votes in the preseason media poll. Two days later, it’s on to Pullman to play 24th-ranked Washington State.
Getting back to McKale doesn’t necessarily mean things get easier. While the California game on Friday, Jan. 26 should be one that Arizona can handle, things are tougher two days later. Stanford comes in as the 15th-ranked team in the nation. That’s low for the Cardinal, but it’s indicative of how tough the Pac-12 will be this season.
The Wildcats wrap up their rivalry series on Feb. 4 when ASU visits Tucson. The only team picked to finish lower than Cal in the Pac-12 was the Sun Devils.
Arizona doesn’t see No. 4 UCLA and No. 21 USC for the first time until the weekend of Feb. 9. The Wildcats go to Westwood on Friday and then face the Women of Troy on Monday in a national broadcast.
The end of the schedule is jam-packed because the Wildcats play the Los Angeles schools twice in less than a month. After going to LA, Arizona will host No. 24 WSU, travel to No. 15 Stanford, and host No. 4 UCLA and No. 21 USC to close things out. Only the games against UW and Cal feature unranked opponents, and the Huskies received more points in the AP poll than Arizona did.
Arizona has its first exhibition game on Oct. 25 against West Texas A&M. Its final exhibition will be against Point Loma on Nov. 1 before getting into the regular season against New Mexico State in Las Cruces on Nov. 6.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.