Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats’ non-conference schedule from NCAA tournament selection point of view



Sean Miller's biggest task in the non-conference season in 2015-16 will be winning the Wooden Legacy and beating Gonzaga on the road (Pac-12 Networks video capture)

Sean Miller’s biggest task in the non-conference season in 2015-16 will be winning the Wooden Legacy and beating Gonzaga on the road (Pac-12 Networks video capture)

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How would a member of the NCAA tournament selection committee view the non-conference schedule released by the Arizona Wildcats today?

The following is positive-negative reaction for the Arizona Wildcats and Sean Miller as they prepare for the arduous Pac-12 season that starts in early January.

Positive for Arizona Wildcats: The most significant aspect of the non-conference schedule is the true road game at Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash., on Dec. 5. That’s what the people in the NCAA tournament selection committee call a resume builder.

Negative: The game against Gonzaga’s perennial dominant program is the only true road game for Arizona in the non-conference schedule. The NCAA tournament selection committee puts stock into programs who are bold enough to go on the road to play quality opponents. Arizona had that to its advantage in recent years playing at San Diego State and Michigan two years ago and at UTEP and UNLV last season.


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Positive: Five of Arizona’s potential non-conference opponents played in the NCAA tournament this year, including Gonzaga, Boise State, Michigan State, Providence and Cal-Irvine. The Wildcats will definitely play Gonzaga and Boise State. They have a chance to Boise State (again), Michigan State, Providence and Cal-Irvine in the DIRECTV Wooden Legacy at Fullerton, Calif.. and Anaheim, Calif. The must-hope scenario is Arizona playing Michigan State in that tournament. The other schools in the tournament are Boston College, Santa Clara and Evansville.

Negative: The three games in the Wooden Legacy and the other at Gonzaga are the only games away from McKale Center. Arizona will play nine of its 13 non-conference games in Tucson. The Wildcats, who have a 38-game winning streak at McKale Center, can ill-afford to slip up in Tucson with this being the case. Taking care of the home court will be impressive in the eyes of the NCAA tournament selection committee.


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Positive: The known and potential teams on Arizona’s non-conference schedule combined for an overall winning percentage of .548 in 2014-15, while six finished in the top 100 in last season’s final NCAA RPI.

Negative: That’s less than half of Arizona’s 13 teams on its non-conference schedule that finished in the final Top 100 NCAA RPI. Also, a .548 winning percentage in a 32-game regular season schedule equates to an average record of about 17-15. Not all that impressive.

Positive: Missouri and UNLV are traditionally good programs. Fresno State, NAU and Long Beach State are decent regional programs. NAU went to the CIT finals last season before losing to Evansville, which may face Arizona in the Wooden Legacy.

Negative: Much of Arizona’s non-conference schedule in terms of building a strong RPI depends on who it might play in the Wooden Legacy. The Wildcats must hope for programs such as Missouri and UNLV to improve its RPI. It will be difficult otherwise. publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He has also written articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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