New Mexico State will return to McKale Center next season as the WAC champion, joining South Dakota State, NAU, Nebraska-Omaha, San Jose State and Long Beach State as Arizona’s one-time guarantee opponents in 2019-20.
The Wildcats also set a Dec. 14 home date for the opening of their latest home-and-home series with Gonzaga, while their Nov. 10 home game with Illinois and Dec. 7 road game at Baylor have also already been in place.
Arizona will return games at Illinois and at Gonzaga in 2020-21 to complete those series, while the Baylor game in Waco is the return of a game the Bears won at McKale Center this season.
UA’s participation in the 2019-20 Wooden Legacy over Thanksgiving week was announced last November.
The Wildcats’ game with Long Beach State 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 Wooden Legacy bracket won’t be announced until this summer but UA and Long Beach State will likely be placed on opposite sides of the bracket since they are already playing each other. However, Arizona did the same with Boise State in the 2015 Wooden Legacy and still wound up playing the Broncos again.
The Wildcats have one spot left to fill on their nonconference schedule: A Dec. 21 neutral-site game that is expected to be played out of state but in the West against a high-major opponent. It may be part of a double or triple-header that has not yet been completed or announced.
The 2019-20 Pac-12 schedule is expected to begin the weekend of Jan. 1-5, 2020. The Pac-12 weekend schedule pairs will likely be announced in the summer.
Arizona will also likely schedule one exhibition game and a closed preseason scrimmage, according to Ryan Reynolds, UA’s director of basketball operations. The Wildcats typically schedule two exhibitions in seasons such as this one when they need it to fill their 18-game minimum for season-ticket packages, but next season's schedule will hit 18 after just one exhibition.
Here’s how the schedule looks as of now (with current NET rating in parentheses)
Nov. 6 NAU (286)
Nov. 10 Illinois (109)
Nov. 14 San Jose State (341)
Nov. 17 New Mexico State (40)
Nov. 21 South Dakota State (104)
Nov. 24 Long Beach State (234), Wooden Legacy add-on game
Nov. 28, 29 and Dec. 1 Wooden Legacy bracketed games, site TBA (in Orange County, Calif., possibly at Anaheim Convention Center or Cal State Fullerton)
Bracket TBA. Participating teams:
Long Beach State (234)
Wake Forest (184)
Dec. 7 at Baylor (39)
Dec. 11 Nebraska-Omaha (178)
Dec. 14 Gonzaga (2)
Dec. 21 TBD (neutral site game)
Jan. 1-5 Pac-12 season begins