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September 18, 2013
Since the schedule was released earlier this summer, a potential rematch of the 2011 Sweet 16 matchup between Arizona and Duke has been among the highlights of the Wildcats' schedule.
Now, a path has been carved out.
The NCAA released the pairings Tuesday for the NIT Season Tip-Off, a 16-team event in which UA and Duke are seeded Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. That means the two teams could meet in the championship game in what would likely be a star-studded showdown between top-10 programs.
To get there, each must first advance out of its respective pods. The Wildcats, who will serve as one of four host sites, will open the event Nov. 18 against Fairleigh Dickinson of the Northeast Conference. Depending on the result, UA would then face either Rhode Island or Division-II Metro State the following night at McKale Center. Both games are scheduled for 8 p.m.
Two victories would pit the Wildcats against a team from the pod featuring fourth-seeded Rutgers, which will host Canisius, Elon and Drexel in first- and second-round games in New Jersey.
The semifinal (Nov. 27), consolation and championship (Nov. 29) rounds will be played at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Tipoff times have yet to be determined.
The event will be televised on ESPN's family of networks, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3.
Duke's path to the Big Apple will include a first-round contest against UNC Asheville, followed by a contest against either East Carolina or Norfolk State.
The No. 3 seed in the event is Alabama, which will host Division-II Stillman College, Georgia State and McNeese State.
A final between the Wildcats and Blue Devils would feature two of the nation's top freshmen. In the Rivals150 for the 2013 class, UA forward Aaron Gordon was ranked No. 3, one spot ahead of Duke forward Jabari Parker.
GOAZCATS.com Senior Editor
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