The Wolverines will play Oklahoma State and Oregon as well as two additional opponents that qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season.
After opening the season at home against IUPUI, UVU will take on three consecutive opponents that played in “March Madness” this year. The Wolverines host reigning MEAC champion North Carolina A&T Nov. 11, and then hit the road for five straight games. Among the stops are Eugene, Ore. and Stillwater, Okla. where UVU will play two schools that finished last season nationally ranked.
“We’re certainly excited to have North Carolina A&T that won a NCAA tournament game [last season],” head coach Dick Hunsaker said. “To play Oklahoma State and Oregon is exciting for everybody.”
From Oregon the Wolverines will travel to California to play Pepperdine, who lost to BYU by two points in January. UVU returns home after the five-game road trip to play Weber State in Orem on Dec. 11. The Wolverines then go north for their other in-state showdown, which pits them against Utah State on Dec.14.
“It’s certainly a difficult and stiff schedule for us,” Hunsaker said. “I’m excited that we’re not on the road all year, as we played 19 games away from our arena last year. This is kind of a return to have the games at our facility and that’s exciting. There’s some really good competition on that schedule.”
The difficult schedule continues with WAC play, which begins for UVU Jan. 4 at Bakersfield. The Wolverines meet defending WAC champion New Mexico State Feb. 1 to round out their slate of games versus teams that played in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
“The greatest thing about the schedule is the WAC,” Hunsaker said. “We’re in a league with an automatic bid and our kids – there have been a lot of guys that paid a lot of dues for this opportunity. They’ve paved the way, and it’s particularly special for my three 4-year seniors – Ben Aird, Holton [Hunsaker] and Taylor Brown.
Including Weber State, UVU plays four more teams that competed in NCAA postseason play last season. The Wildcats, along with North Dakota State and Chicago State were selected to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, and Grand Canyon made it to the NCAA Division II West Regional.
“You play it one game at a time,” Hunsaker said. “If that’s always your goal, in the next game things kind of take care of itself. That’s the way we approach it. You never want to get ahead of yourself. It’s easy to do. Speculation is almost human nature. We are just focused on our goal to be the best conditioned, the most fundamentally sound and the best prepared team possible.”
New Mexico State visits the UCCU Center Feb. 27, which begins a three-game homestand to round out the regular season play, the other two contests are against Texas-Pan American and Bakersfield.
UVU will then experience the bright lights of Las Vegas for the first time in its history when the 2014 WAC Tournament begins on March 13 at Orleans Arena.