First, we've heard that UCLA, under head coach Steve Alford, has plans to play more high-caliber opponents as time goes on, but much of the 2013-14 schedule was already set under Ben Howland and it was difficult to change many of the features of the schedule.
Second, in regard to the obvious change, we've heard that it was Alford's desire for the game that helped provide the impetus for scheduling Duke in Madison Square Garden. One could anticipate that those kinds of marquee matchups, both home and away, will be a bigger part of future schedules.
UCLA Announces Schedule for 2013-14 Men's Basketball Season
Games against Alabama (at Pauley Pavilion) and Duke (at Madison Square Garden) Highlight Non-Conference Slate for the Bruins
The 2013-14 UCLA men's basketball schedule released today includes 19 home games, highlighted by the only matchup of the season between UCLA and Pac-12 Conference rival Arizona, a visit from defending Pac-12 Tournament champion Oregon, and a non-conference game against Alabama of the SEC.
In addition, UCLA will face ACC power Duke in the CARQUEST Auto Parts Classic on Thursday, Dec. 19 at Madison Square Garden in New York. The matchup will pit two storied programs that have won a total of 15 national championships, 11 for UCLA and four for Duke.
In all, UCLA will play non-conference games against four teams that finished the 2012-13 regular season with an RPI of better than 80, Duke (1), Missouri (42), Alabama (64) and Weber State (78). RPI is a tool used by the NCAA to rank teams based upon a combination of wins and losses and strength of schedule.
"All of us in the program have been working tirelessly this spring and summer to prepare for the upcoming season," said first-year UCLA Head Coach Steve Alford. "We are excited to get in front of our fans and represent UCLA."
The Bruins will open their second regular season in renovated Pauley Pavilion, and first under Alford's tutelage, on Friday, November 8 against the Drexel Dragons. The following week, UCLA hosts Oakland (Nov. 12), before welcoming Sacramento State to Westwood on Monday, Nov. 18.
As previously announced, UCLA will host two regional round games in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational at Pauley on Friday, November 22 and Sunday, November 24. The Bruins will then compete in the final two rounds of the event at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Thursday, November 28(Thanksgiving) and the following day. Though UCLA's opponents for each of those four games will be announced by tournament organizers in the near future, the remaining three teams in the Las Vegas portion of the event will be Missouri, Nevada and Northwestern.
UCLA returns home after the holiday weekend to face UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday, Dec. 3. The Bruins then travel to Missouri for their first road game of the season on Dec. 7, a Saturday, in a re-match of UCLA's thrilling, 97-94 overtime victory in Pauley during the 2012-13 season. UCLA hosts Prairie View A&M on Saturday, Dec. 14.
A cross-country trip then awaits the Bruins as they tussle with the Blue Devils at "The World's Most Famous Arena." The game marks the second time in the last three seasons that UCLA has played at The Garden. The St. Johns Red Storm hosted the Bruins there on Saturday, February 12, 2012.
UCLA's non-conference slate concludes with a home game against Weber State (Sunday, Dec. 22) and the aforementioned contest against Alabama six days later (Saturday, Dec. 28) in Pauley Pavilion.
UCLA opens conference play on Jan. 4, 2014 with a home contest against crosstown rival USC, followed by Arizona on Jan. 9 and Arizona State on Jan. 11. This year's home conference slate also includes welcomes visits from Stanford (Jan. 23), Cal (Jan. 25), Utah (Feb. 13), Colorado (Feb. 15) and Oregon (Feb. 26), before concluding with the Bruins and the Beavers on March 1. The Pac-12 Tournament, featuring all 12 teams, will be held at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas (March 12-15, 2014) for the second consecutive season.
In 2012-13, UCLA finished with a 25-10 overall record and won the Pac-12 Conference regular-season title (13-5) and finished second to Oregon in the conference tournament. The Bruins lost to Minnesota in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Season tickets for the 2013-14 UCLA Men's Basketball campaign are on sale now. For more information or to purchase season tickets, please visit UCLABruins.com or call 310-UCLA-WIN.
The schedule is tentative and subject to change due to television.
Tentative 2013-14 UCLA Men's Basketball Schedule
Fri, Nov. 8 Drexel
Tue., Nov. 12 Oakland
Mon., Nov. 18 Sacramento State
Fri., Nov. 22 Las Vegas Invitational Regional
Sun., Nov. 24 Las Vegas Invitational Regional
Thu., Nov. 28 @ Las Vegas Invitational (Orleans Arena)
Fri., Nov. 29 @ Las Vegas Invitational Finals (Orleans Arena)
Tue., Dec. 3 UC Santa Barbara
Sat., Dec. 7 @ Missouri
Sat., Dec. 14 Prairie View A&M
Thu., Dec. 19 Duke @ Madison Square Garden
Sun., Dec. 22 Weber State
Sat., Dec. 28 Alabama
Sat., Jan. 4 USC
Thu., Jan. 9 Arizona
Sat., Jan. 11 Arizona State
Thu., Jan. 16 @ Colorado
Sat., Jan. 18 @ Utah
Thu., Jan. 23 Stanford
Sat., Jan. 25 California
Thu., Jan. 30 @ Oregon State
Sat., Feb. 1 @ Oregon
Sat., Feb. 8 @ USC
Thu., Feb. 13 Utah
Sat., Feb. 15 Colorado
Thu., Feb. 20 @ California
Sat., Feb. 22 @ Stanford
Wed., Feb. 26 Oregon
Sat., Mar. 1 Oregon State
Thu., Mar. 6 @ Washington State
Sat., Mar. 8 @ Washington
Mar. 12 - Mar. 15 Pac-12 Tournament @ MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV
Mar. 18 – Mar. 19 NCAA First Round
Mar. 20 - Mar. 23 NCAA Second and Third Round
Mar. 27 - Mar. 30 NCAA Regional
Apr. 5 & Apr. 7 NCAA Final Four @ Dallas Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX