OOC schedule: A closer look

Arizona's out of conference schedule was announced on Thursday. Read on for a rundown on who Arizona is facing, the returning players, and more.

Arizona's non-conference basketball schedule was released on Thursday and here is a brief rundown of what it looks like.

Cal Poly, November 8: Cal Poly upset UCLA last season and returns the core of that team. It will be led by senior Chris Eversley, who averaged 15 points and 7 boards last season. Poly will lose its second-leading scorer in Dylan Royer, but that should only bring an increase in minutes for guard Kyle Odister, who showed glimpses last season. The only danger with this game is that it is so early in the season, but Arizona should certainly be the heavy favorite here.

Long Beach State, November 11: LBSU has been hurt by discipline problems, as Keala King, Tony Freeland, and Deng Deng are no longer on the team. However, the 49ers still have Mike Caffey and Dan Jennings and are well coached as well. Arizona did not struggle with Long Beach State last season and should not this season, especially with the recent departures and fact the game is at McKale.

San Diego State, November 14: The Aztecs will take a major hit without Jamaal Franklin and Chase Tapley, but there is still some talent there. It is easy to expect a jump from Winston Shepard and Skylar Spencer while Xavier Thames returns as well. SDSU also added Tulane transfer Josh Davis and will look to Matt Shrigley for scoring. This game will also give Arizona fans a look at Dakarai Allen, who was the subject of plenty of discussions on the Arizona message boards. The Wildcats will have a major advantage with size and it will be interesting to see how SDSU responds to the loss of its go to guys offensively. Arizona will be the favorite, but it is never easy to play San Diego State on the road.

Preseason NIT, November 18-29: Alabama, Duke, and Rutgers are the three other teams hosting the NIT, so it is likely that Arizona is going to combine with those three to make New York. Duke will be the heavy favorite to win the NIT, but there may not be a person in America that does not want to see the Wildcats face Duke. The players may have changed, but UA fans will take any opportunity they can get to play Duke. Figuring Arizona does play the Blue Devils, Duke will pose major fits with Quinn Cook, Rodney Hood, Rasheed Sulaimon, Jabari Parker, and more.

Texas Tech, December 3: Arizona easily defeated Texas Tech last season and there is not much of a change in the roster. Jaye Crockett is still the best player on the team and Jordan Tolbert is solid as well. There really is not a lot coming in for Tech and Arizona should be considered the favorite, although it will be a better coached team with Tubby Smith at the helm.

UNLV, December 7: UNLV is another team that will look very different next season, as it loses Anthony Bennett, Mike Moser, Anthony Marshall, and Justin Hawkins. The hope is that Christian Wood and Jelan Kendrick can come in and contribute right away while Khem Birch continues to improve. In addition, Katin Reinhardt will be expected to become a smarter player offensively and there should still be plenty of athleticism. UNLV is a better team at home but, unfortunately for it, the Rebels will be headed to McKale. Still, it should be a relatively tough game.

New Mexico State, December 11: NMSU loses two key players, but returns Daniel Mullings and Sim Bhullar. Arizona should be favored here, but the main thing to watch is the turnaround from this game to the one at Michigan.

Michigan, December 14: The Wolverines will lose Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., but got good news when Mitch McGary and Glen Robinson III decided to stay in school. Nik Stauskas will also bring back his shooting touch and the Wolverines add a recruiting class with three four-star players. Michigan is always going to be well-coached and a trip there in December is not going to be easy. This should be one of the better games on Arizona's schedule.

Southern, December 19: Arizona will obviously be the heavy favorite here. Southern returns Malcolm Miller, who shoots 50 percent from the field and 45 percent from three. Javan Mitchell is solid in the low post and Southern gave Gonzaga issues in the tournament. It could pose some problems with the quick turnaround, but Arizona will be the favorite at home.

Northern Arizona, December 23: The Lumberjacks will return Dewayne Russell, who is a solid player at that level. The reality of the situation is that while Jack Murphy has things on the right track, it is going to take some time. By late December, Arizona should be playing solid basketball and NAU won't have much of a chance here.

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