Arizona’s 2013-14 non-conference schedule will be the most difficult of the Sean Miller era, especially if the Wildcats manage to face Duke in the NIT Tip-Off Classic in New York in late November.
The Wildcats can play the Blue Devils at Madison Square Garden if they win two preliminary round games — most likely at McKale Center — and get matched with Mike Krzyzewski’s team either in the semifinals, finals or consolation game in New York City.
Arizona has two of the most difficult true road games it has played in the non-conference slate, dating back to 2008-09 when interim coach Russ Pennell had to coach on the road against Texas A&M and UNLV. The Wildcats play at formidable San Diego State, which has three starters returning, on Nov. 14, and at Michigan, which lost in the national championship game to Louisville, on Dec. 14.
With the addition of New Mexico State to the schedule yesterday, Arizona will face at least four teams (UNLV, San Diego State, and Michigan the others) that qualified for the NCAA tournament in March. If the Wildcats play Duke the number will be five.
Two other programs — Long Beach State (NIT) and Cal Poly (CollegeInsider.com) — played in the postseason. Alabama, a potential opponent in the NIT Tip-Off Classic, also participated in the postseason NIT in March.