Arizona, who may be the best team in college basketball next season, released their 2017-18 non-conference schedule over the weekend.
It’s highlighted by a trip to the Battle 4 Atlantis, an event where the Wildcats could end up playing the likes of Villanova, Purdue and SMU, all three of whom could end up being preseason top 25 teams.
Arizona also deserves credit for playing just five games against mid-major competition while taking a pair of road trips to take on teams from the Mountain West — UNLV and New Mexico. The Wildcats will also host UConn and Alabama while squaring off with Texas A&M in Phoenix; as weird as this will sound to a casual basketball fan, the games against Alabama and Texas A&M will be the toughest of the bunch.
If there is a place to quibble with Arizona’s scheduling, it’s that they didn’t end up with many marquee non-conference games. Alabama and A&M both might be top 25 teams that no one cares about, while games against UNLV and UConn look better on paper than they will be as both programs are in a bit of a rut.
Here is the full schedule:
Nov. 10 Northern Arizona, (Tucson, Ariz.)
Nov. 12 UMBC, (Tucson, Ariz.)
Nov. 16 Cal State Bakersfield, (Tucson, Ariz.)
Nov. 22-24 Battle 4 Atlantis (Villanova, Purdue, N.C. State, Tennessee, SMU, Western Kentucky and Northern Iowa), Bahamas (Imperial Arena)
Nov. 29 Long Beach State, (Tucson, Ariz.)
Dec. 2 at UNLV, (Las Vegas, Nev)
Dec. 5 vs. Texas A&M, (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Dec. 9 Alabama, (Tucson, Ariz.)
Dec. 16 at New Mexico, (Albuquerque, N.M.)
Dec. 18 North Dakota State, (Tucson, Ariz.)
Dec. 21 UConn, (Tucson, Ariz.)