Arizona will kick off this season's schedule on Wednesday, Nov. 16, in McKale Center when it hosts the Kansas State Wildcats in the first round of the Preseason NIT Tournament. That games tips-off at 8:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2. Should Arizona win that game, it would host a second round match-up on Friday, Nov. 19, at 9:30 p.m. against the winner of the first-round Hofstra vs. New Mexico State game. That second-round contest would also be televised by ESPN2.
The semifinals and finals of the NIT, aired on ESPN, will be held on Nov. 24 & 26 in New York City at Madison Square Garden. Also competing in the 1999 Preseason NIT are Kentucky, Maryland, Utah, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Davidson, Siena, Arkansas State, Pennsylvania, San Francisco, Fordham and Tulane. Arizona has won the Preseason NIT the last two times it has played in it (1990 & 1995).
The UA's game against Connecticut will be played as part of the Great Eight in Chicago on Tuesday, Dec. 7, at
8 p.m. CST (7 p.m. in Tucson). It will be televised by ESPN. This will be the second time in the last three years that Arizona has played in the event. The last time Arizona played in the Great Eight was in the 1997-98 season, losing to Kansas, 90-87.
After that game, Arizona will return to Tucson to face Michigan State on Saturday, Dec. 11, in a CBS televised contest. The rest of the UA's non-conference schedule includes home games against Brigham Young, Indiana University-Purdue University and New Mexico, as well as the 15th annual Bank One Fiesta Bowl Classic on Dec. 28 & 30, which features Alabama, Delaware and UNC-Wilmington. The UA will open the tournament against UNC-Wilmington.
Arizona will take to the road to play at Texas on Saturday, Dec. 4, and will travel to Louisiana State on Saturday, Jan. 29. The Cats will also play in the Las Vegas Shootout for the second consecutive year, facing Nebraska at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, Dec. 18. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. PST (7:30 p.m. Tucson time).
The Wildcats will open the Pac-10 Conference schedule on the road, traveling to California and Stanford on
Jan. 6 & 8. So far, one conference game has been set for television, as the Cats' home game against UCLA on Feb. 19 will be televised by ABC.
The UA's league schedule will conclude with home games versus Stanford and California on March 9 & 11.
"This type of schedule may be a bit more difficult than we would want considering the youth of our team," Arizona head coach Lute Olson said. "But, there is no question that it will make us better prepared for the Pac-10 schedule. There will be some wins and some losses along the way, but I have always felt you only get better by playing the best."