What we know so far: UVU’s toughest opponents in 2017-18

Illustration by Tyler Carpenter

Through the scheduling of the past couple of years, UVU is becoming no stranger to big-name competition. The wrestling team has joined the Big 12, the men’s soccer and volleyball teams are making a habit of meeting up with top-25 teams and the men’s basketball team has played Louisville and Gonzaga in the past two seasons. With that in mind, here is a run through the 2017-18 schedules that have been released so far with an eye to the toughest must-see matchups on the Wolverines’ slate.

Men’s soccer: UVU vs Akron, Aug. 25 at 7 p.m.

After an impressive home opener last year, the difficulty has been dialed up again as the Wolverines are opening their season against one of the most iconic programs in NCAA soccer. The Zips have made their home in the top-25 rankings and haven’t missed the NCAA tournament since 2006. They won a national championship in 2010 and lost in the championship match in 2009. With nine seniors on the roster for 2017, Akron has the experience necessary to travel cross-country without missing a beat.

Volleyball: UVU vs Kansas, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m.

As part of the Wolverine Invitational, UVU will be playing host to the volleyball elite Jayhawks. Any time UVU can get a top-25 program is great, and welcoming a Kansas team into Lockhart Arena that finished last season ranked No. 4 in the country is huge. The Jayhawks made the national semifinals 2015 and haven’t missed the NCAA tournament since 2011. Having graduated only three players from 2016, don’t expect a big drop off from Kansas in the talent department.

Men’s soccer: UVU at Washington, Sep. 21 at 8 p.m.

As mentioned earlier, the men’s soccer team knocked off the Huskies playing a man down in 2016. That means a very talented Washington team will be out for revenge on the Wolverines when UVU travels to their home turf. Despite the opening-game setback, the Huskies finished last season ranked No. 12 and made it to the third round of the NCAA tournament.

Women’s soccer: UVU at BYU, Sep. 22 at 7 p.m.

Wolverine fans will have no time to rest after a big men’s soccer match against Washington because the women’s team takes on BYU in Provo the very next night. This is more than your average in-state matchup. In the world of NCAA women’s soccer, the Cougars are a perennial powerhouse. They finished last season ranked No. 9 in the country and haven’t missed the NCAA tournament since 2011.

Men’s basketball: UVU at Kentucky, Nov. 10

The men’s basketball team has played a couple of high-profile games since the arrival of head coach Mark Pope, but they’ve done nothing like what they have lined up to start the 2017 season. Kentucky finished last season ranked No. 6 and made an Elite Eight appearance. Wildcat coach John Calipari is closing in on 700 career wins and has made six Final Fours with one title in 2012.

Men’s basketball: UVU at Duke, Nov. 11

If Calipari’s resume is impressive, the Wolverines going up against Duke head coach Mike Kryzezewski the next night should be downright intimidating. Under his lead, Duke has made 12 Final Fours and won five championships, most recently in 2015. It’s safe to say this is the most storied successful program that UVU men’s hoops has ever shared the court with.

Honorable mention: Men’s soccer: UVU at UCLA Aug. 16 at 8 p.m.

This match gets an honorable mention because it’s just an exhibition. However, if the relationship between UVU and UCLA is good enough to be scheduling preseason exhibitions, the Bruins would be a huge scheduling get for the regular season in the future.

 

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