Quality, high-end opponents against ASU, Arizona, and Grand Canyon Univ. on the basketball court. THIS is what fans want to see. If you are a “hoop-a-holic” then Saturday between 3:30-9pm, our State will be taking on some of the best in the nation.
Arizona v Gonzaga 3:30pm Staples Center, Los Angeles on ESPN
Arizona State hosting UNLV 6pm on Pac-12 Network
Grand Canyon University hosting(not a misprint) Louisville 7pm on CW6TV
The Grand Canyon matchup is the one that is the biggest. No one outside of the program is expecting the ‘Lopes to win, but the simple fact that Rick Pitino is bringing his team to Phoenix in early December to play on the GCU campus is something that should be celebrated by fans of basketball.
Looking at the basketball landscape locally, the growth of GCU basketball has in my opinion, pushed Arizona State to play a more competitive schedule. The Sun Devils are playing perhaps their toughest non-conference schedule in the 23 years that I’ve been in the Valley. They went to the Bahamas to play #1 Kentucky, have UNLV, #15 Purdue, San Diego State, New Mexico State(won the WAC last year), and #10 Creighton all in the next two weeks.
Grand Canyon has already played a top-ranked Duke team and has a home game with San Diego State and a trip to Tucson to play the Wildcats in the next two weeks.
If Arizona can play Grand Canyon, then Arizona State President Michael Crow should drop his war with GCU and play on the court. Battling over on-line enrollment numbers shouldn’t stand in the way of giving the community big time basketball. I am guessing a Arizona State v Grand Canyon University basketball game would have a bit more interest for both schools than bringing in Mississippi Valley State or Portland State as the two programs have had to do this preseason.
As for the Wildcats, Sean Millers team is going through another season of injury and lack of numbers, and yet they still find ways to win. Losing point guard Parker-Jackson Cartwright is a blow for sure. Arizona is used to playing a high-end schedule so their game v the Zags isn’t as big of a deal, but it’s still good for the game in our State…