2015-16 Countdown

Arizona Wildcats hoops countdown: We’re at 45 days and counting to tipoff


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The marquee Arizona-Gonzaga non-conference game in Spokane on Dec. 5 is on the minds of many national writers.

Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports rates the game as the best non-conference matchup among Pac-12 teams although Kentucky visits UCLA and Gonzaga also hosts the Bruins. Steve Alford’s team is also scheduled for a game against North Carolina at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

“Two of the West Coast’s premier programs will meet for the third straight season, this time in Spokane,” Eisenberg writes of the Arizona-Gonzaga matchup. “Arizona routed Gonzaga in the NCAA tournament two years ago and edged the Zags in Tucson last season, but the Wildcats may have a hard time extending that streak this season after the loss of four starters to graduation or the NBA draft.”

Utah is making it to the big time with its non-conference scheduling taking on Duke at Madison Square Garden. Cal plays UNLV in a Las Vegas tournament in late November.

The game between Gonzaga and Arizona also tops the list of Pac-12 non-conference games for Terrence Payne of NBCSports.com. He ranks the game at No. 9 nationally among non-conference matchups.

One other game involving Pac-12 teams is ranked at No. 11 — Cal at Virginia on Dec. 22. The Kentucky-UCLA game on Dec. 3, Wichita State-Utah matchup on Dec. 12 and a potential matchup between Arizona and Michigan State at the Wooden Legacy tournament are also mentioned.

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Site founder and award-winning sports journalist Javier Morales has published his first e-book, “The Highest Form of Living”, a fiction piece about a young man who overcomes a troubled upbringing without his lost father and wayward mother through basketball and hope. His hope is realized through the sport he loves. Basketball enables him to get past his fears. His experience on the court indirectly brings him closer to his parents in a unique, heartfelt way. Please order it at Amazon (for only $4.99) by clicking on the photo:
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