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Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports is reporting Arizona, Villanova, Purdue, North Carolina State, Tennessee, SMU, Western Kentucky and Northern Iowa will participate in the 2017 Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in the Bahamas.
Official matchups for the event are still yet to be determined. The event this upcoming season will be headlined by Michigan State and Louisville. The Spartans, coached by Tom Izzo, face Arizona in the Wildcats’ season-opener at the Armed Forces Classic in Honolulu on Nov. 11.
Other significant non-conference matchups in the upcoming season include games in the Las Vegas Classic against Santa Clara and either Vanderbilt or Butler (Nov. 24 and 25); Gonzaga at the Staples Center in Los Angeles (Dec. 3); Grand Canyon (Dec. 14) and New Mexico (Dec. 20) at McKale Center; at Missouri (Dec. 10); and against Texas A&M at Houston (Dec. 17).
Playing in the Battle 4 Atlantis to start the 2017-18 season is a good way to strengthen the Wildcats’ RPI strength of schedule come NCAA tournament time. The 2016-17 non-conference schedule has drawn criticism from some media types because of a lack of marquee home games.
Arizona’s strength-of-schedule ranking in 2015-16 was a meager No. 101. Oregon State, which traditionally has played a weak out-of-conference schedule, had a strength-of-schedule ranking of No. 13, a factor in the Beavers making the tournament field as a bubble team.
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.