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May 24, 2013

Arizona releases nonconference hoops slate

After waltzing through a most of last season's nonconference slate, Arizona's OOC schedule in 2013-14 looks to be considerably more challenging.

This season's opponents won better than 60 percent of its games in 2012-13, posting a combined 185-119 record. Six teams qualified for postseason play, including national runner-up Michigan.

Nine of the 13 games will be played at McKale Center, including the first two against Big West Conference members Cal Poly (Nov. 8) and Long Beach State (Nov. 11).

"We are excited about our 2013-14 non-conference schedule," UA head coach Sean Miller said in a release. "It provides our team with numerous opportunities at McKale Center, away from home, and in the NIT Season Tip-Off that will prepare us for conference play. Additionally, this type of schedule is built to provide us the quality needed in the month of March for our postseason aspirations to be realized."

The Wildcats' first road game will be Nov. 14 at San Diego State, which will make its third consecutive appearance on the schedule. The home-and-home series started in 2011 and took a break last season, but the teams met in the Diamond Head Classic championship game.

Arizona's marquee tournament this season will follow the trip to SDSU. The 'Cats will return home for two games (TBA) and be one of the hosts for the NIT Season Tip-Off. The games will be played between Nov. 18-20.

As a possible preseason top-five team, UA is expected to advance to New York City for the semifinals to be played Nov. 27 at Madison Square Garden. A championship game or consolation contest two days later would wrap the event.

Among the teams in the field, the Wildcats could face Atlantic Coast Conference powerhouse Duke.

December will start with three consecutive home games - Texas Tech (Dec. 3), UNLV (Dec. 7) and New Mexico State (Dec. 11) - before Arizona departs for its toughest true road contest of the season.

Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III and the rest of the Wolverines will be waiting Dec. 14 in Ann Arbor.

Instead of playing through the holidays, Arizona will complete its nonconference schedule with games against Southern (Dec. 19) and Northern Arizona (Dec. 23). The Pac-12 Conference schedule will be announced at a later date.

The Wildcats, who finished 27-8 and advanced to the Sweet 16 last season, will face Augustana College in an exhibition tune-up Oct. 28 at McKale Center. Instead of playing two exhibition games, UA will play a closed scrimmage against a Division I opponent prior to the season, as allowed under NCAA rules.

A date for the annual Red-Blue intrasquad scrimmage has not been set.

Tracy McDannaldTracy McDannald
GOAZCATS.com Senior Editor

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