Arizona State's men's basketball team released its full nonconference schedule today, and it is clear that first year head coach Bobby Hurley appreciates a good strength of schedule. The Sun Devils will face two teams that played in last March's NCAA Tournament, with a possibility of three more in the Legends Classic.
The season will start on Friday, November 13 with a home game against Sacramento State, a team that set a program record for wins last season. After that comes the Regional round of the Legends Classic, where they will play two games in Wells Fargo Arena from November 15-19.
The possible opponents for that week are Belmont (a team that has gone dancing four out of the last five years), South Alabama, IUPUI, and Kennesaw State. Who exactly the maroon and gold will face should be announced in early August.
Arizona State will then fly to New York for the two "Championship round" games of the tournament, to be played the Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. Possible opponents there include NC State and LSU (who played each other in the opening round of last year's NCAA Tournament) and Marquette, a team that beat the Sun Devils last December in Milwaukee.
The bracket for the final round will be revealed on ESPN.com later this summer, and both games the team plays at the Barclays Center will be televised on the ESPN family of networks.
A busy stretch of three games in six days awaits the Sun Devils after their trip home. They will face UC Santa Barbara on Sunday, November 29, then go to Omaha to play Creighton for the start of a home-and-home series on the following Wednesday. The week wraps up with a return trip from Texas A&M after the team went to College Station last season.
After a week of finals, Arizona State will take their most anticipated road trip of the year. A meet with consensus preseason top five Kentucky is on tap on December 12 to open the swing, a game that will be televised nationally on CBS according to Hurley.
They will also face the Wildcats in 2016 in the Bahamas. The trip will end four days later in Las Vegas as the Sun Devils meet UNLV for the third consecutive season.
The maroon and gold will be back on the Strip six days later to face a St. John's team that made it to the Big Dance last season. This game, however, will be played at the MGM Grand Garden Arena instead of the Thomas & Mack Center. In between trips to Sin City will be a home game against Houston Baptist on December 19.
The 13 game non-conference slate will come to an end on Monday, December 28 against Cal State Bakersfield. The game should serve as a final tuneup before Pac-12 play starts later that week.
The league should announce that portion of the schedule next month, but television and game-time arrangements for all 31 contests will not be known until September.
ASU Non-Conference Schedule:
November 13th - Sacramento State
November 15th-19th - Legends Classic Opening Round (Two games in Tempe)
November 23rd - Legends Classic at Barclays Center (Team TBA)
November 24th - Legends Classic at Barclays Center (Team TBA)
November 29th - UC Santa Barbara
December 2nd - @ Creighton
December 5th - Texas A&M
December 12th - @ Kentucky
December 16th - @ UNLV
December 19th - Houston Baptist
December 22nd - St. John's (Las Vegas)
December 28th - Cal State Bakersfield