St. John’s Mustapha Heron shoots against ASU in this year’s NCAA Tournament. UA will play St. John’s next year.

The Arizona Wildcats will cap their 2019-20 nonconference season by facing St. John’s at San Francisco’s new Chase Center on Dec. 21.

The game has not yet been officially announced by the Basketball Hall of Fame, which is organizing the event, but a copy of the game contract was obtained by the Star in response to a public-records request.

Arizona will receive $100,000 plus 250 premium-section tickets for playing the game at what will be the Golden State Warriors’ new home starting next season. It was also expected to be a homecoming of sorts for former Warriors star Chris Mullin, but Mullin resigned from St. John’s last month.

A change of opponent is allowed under the contract terms, if UA and the Hall of Fame agree on another one, but it is not expected.

The Red Storm last season finished at 21-13 after losing to Marquette in the second round of the Big East Tournament and then Arizona State in an NCAA Tournament play-in game.

UA’s marquee nonconference games next season also include previously disclosed home games against Gonzaga, Illinois and New Mexico State, plus a road game at Baylor and participation in the Wooden Legacy event at the Anaheim (Calif.) Civic Center over Thanksgiving weekend.

The Wildcats’ Dec. 7 game at Baylor will conclude a two-game contract that began last season, when the Bears beat the Wildcats 58-49 at McKale Center to snap the Wildcats’ 52-game home nonconference win streak.

Both Gonzaga and Illinois are entering new two-year deals with the Wildcats. The Gonzaga series includes a return game in Spokane, Washington, on Dec. 2, 2020, while the Wildcats will play at Illinois on Dec. 12, 2020, to conclude that series.

All three two-game series involve trading home games with no payments exchanged.

Of Arizona’s one-time “guarantee” home games — in which opponents are paid a flat fee for appearing at McKale Center — New Mexico State is expected to be the toughest. The Aggies, who will be paid $95,000 for the Nov. 17 game, went 30-5 last season and won a third straight WAC Tournament title.

For its other nonconference games at McKale Center, UA will pay NAU ($91,000), San Jose State ($90,000), South Dakota State ($95,000), Long Beach State ($90,000) and Nebraska-Omaha ($90,000).

South Dakota State has been a consistently strong mid-major program, though it will lose three senior starters, including star Mike Daum. Nebraska-Omaha finished second behind the Jackrabbits in the Summit League last season with a 13-3 mark and went 21-11 overall.

The Wildcats’ game with Long Beach State on Nov. 24 will effectively serve as an unbracketed fourth game of the Wooden Legacy event, giving the Wildcats and 49ers a chance to play four games that will only be counted as three toward the NCAA schedule maximum.

The Pac-12 schedule is expected to begin the weekend of Jan. 1-5, 2020. Weekend schedule pairs will likely be announced in July and exact dates and times in September.

Because of the Pac-12’s rotating unbalanced schedule, the Wildcats will skip the Colorado/Utah road trip and will not host Stanford or California at McKale Center next season.


Bruce is a veteran Star sports reporter who has also worked at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He graduated from Northwestern University and has an MBA from Thunderbird.