UCLA released their non-conference schedule over the weekend, and the Bruins put together a schedule that is about as good as you can expect from a team of their caliber.
Steve Alford’s club will kick off the season in China, taking on Georgia Tech in Shanghai on Nov. 10th. After a pair of buy games at home, they’ll head to Kansas City for the Hall of Fame Classic, where they will play two games against Baylor, Creighton or Wisconsin. After another four buy games, the Bruins make a return trip to Ann Arbor to take on a Michigan team that will be pretty good before hosting a Cincinnati team that should be a top 20 team and, eventually, heading to New Orleans to play Kentucky in the CBS Sports Classic.
Is this a great non-conference schedule?
I’d love for them to avoid playing four of their six games against high-major opponents on neutral floors, and I would love even more for UCLA to avoid playing seven buy games.
That said, this is what teams have to do in order to meet the bottom-line asked of them by athletic directors. The Bruins play six high-major opponents, and all six could end up being in the mix for an NCAA tournament bid on Selection Sunday; Kentucky, Michigan, Cincinnati and Baylor could all end up being preseason top 25 teams.
This is about par for the course, and par isn’t bad.
Here is the full schedule:
Nov. 10 vs. Georgia Tech, Shanghai, China
Nov. 15 Central Arkansas, Pauley Pavilion
Nov. 17 South Carolina State, Pauley Pavilion
Nov. 20-21 at Hall of Fame Classic (Baylor, Creighton, Wisconsin), Kansas City, Mo. (Sprint Center)
Nov. 26 UC Irvine, Pauley Pavilion
Nov. 29 CSU Bakersfield, Pauley Pavilion
Dec. 3 Detroit Mercy, Pauley Pavilion
Dec. 6 Montana, Pauley Pavilion
Dec. 9 at Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Dec. 16 Cincinnati, Pauley Pavilion
Dec. 19 South Dakota, Pauley Pavilion
Dec. 23 Kentucky, New Orleans, La. (Smoothie King Center)