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Arizona Wildcats announce a challenging non-conference basketball schedule

Sean Miller

Sean Miller says the non-conference schedule can prepare his team for March. Photo by Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats announced on Thursday its non-conference basketball schedule for next season, featuring two challenging road games and potential marquee matchups in Madison Square Garden.

Duke, anyone?

After opening the season at home against Cal Poly and Long Beach State, the Wildcats play at always-tough San Diego State, which loses its top two scorers but has ample talent back from a 23-11 NCAA Tournament team. The Aztecs were 14-1 at home last season.

The rest of November is spent participating in the NIT Season Tip-Off, leading to the semifinals in New York City. The four headliners for the NIT event are Arizona, Duke, Alabama and Rutgers.

The Dec. 7 game against UNLV stands as the most intriguing home game of the non-conference schedule, with Arizona heading to Michigan a week later.

The Wolverines, coming off an appearance in the national title game and No. 10 in ESPN.com’s latest pre-preseason Top 25, will feature a pair of super sophomores — wing Glenn Robinson III and center Mitch McGary. (McGary vs. Kaleb Tarczewski … yes, please.)

Arizona is fourth in that ESPN.com ranking and likely will be in everyone’s preseason Top 10.

All in all, this is a challenging schedule with a good mix of teams, and one that should provided a few thrills before Arizona enters Pac-12 play as the presumptive favorite.

“We are excited about our 2013-14 non-conference schedule,” coach Sean Miller said in a statement.

“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.”

Save the dates: Here is Arizona’s non-conference schedule:

TBA Red-Blue Game Tucson
Oct. 28 #Augustana College Tucson
Nov. 8 Cal Poly Tucson
Nov. 11 Long Beach State Tucson
Nov. 14 at San Diego State San Diego, Calif.
Nov. 18/19 *NIT Season Tip-Off Tucson
Nov. 19/20 *NIT Season Tip-Off Tucson
Nov. 27 ^NIT Season Tip-Off New York, N.Y.
Nov. 29 ^NIT Season Tip-Off New York, N.Y.
Dec. 3 Texas Tech Tucson
Dec. 7 UNLV Tucson
Dec. 11 New Mexico State Tucson
Dec. 14 at Michigan Ann Arbor, Mich.
Dec. 19 Southern Tucson
Dec. 23 Northern Arizona Tucson

# Exhibition
* NIT Season Tip-Off, games in Tucson, Ariz. (dates to be determined)
^ NIT Season Tip-Off finals in New York, N.Y. (Madison Square Garden)

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