With two seniors, a National Player of the Year candidate and a Top-3 freshman class that features a potential No. 1 pick, Arizona enters the 2017-18 college basketball season with national championship aspirations. And the road to San Antonio starts on Friday night, as the Wildcats kick off the season with a matchup against intra-state rival Northern Arizona University.
Tip is scheduled for about 8 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can still watch the game online, on your phone or on another streaming device by signing up for a free trial of one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
Fubo TV: The “Fubo Premier” channel package includes the Pac-12 Network and comes with a free 7-day trial, allowing you to watch Arizona vs NAU tonight at no cost. You can watch on your computer via the Fubo TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Fubo app.
Sling TV: In order to get the Pac-12 Network through Sling TV, you’ll need to sign up for the “Sling Blue” base package and the “Sports Extra” add on. Fortunately, both are available via the service’s free 7-day trial, allowing you to watch tonight’s game for free. You can watch on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.
Last season, Arizona won 32 games, shared the Pac-12 regular season title with Oregon, won the conference tournament and earned a No. 2 seed out West, but they were upset in the Sweet 16 by six-seed Xavier, putting a disappointing end to a good season.
But even after that finish, and even after losing Lauri Markannen, Kadeem Allen and Kobi Simmons, expectations have been raised in Tuscon this year. The Wildcats are ranked third in the AP preseason poll, which is just the second time they’ve been that high during the Sean Miller Era.
There are a number of reasons for the high ranking. First and foremost, junior guard Allonzo Trier is expected to be one of the best players in the country–he was named to the AP preseason All-America team–after averaging 17.2 points per game last season.
Second, DeAndre Ayton. The 5-star recruit received a few preseason All-America team votes himself, and it’s not too difficult to see why. At 7-foot-1 and 250 pounds with a 7-foot-5 wingspan, he’s not only a force on the interior, but he also has the polished game that allows him to score away from the basket, as well. He’s a potential matchup nightmare and will almost certainly be hearing his name called among the first five draft picks next June.
Throw in some senior leadership from Dusan Ristic and Parker Jackson-Cartwright, and a handful of other good players, and this could be Miller’s most talented Arizona team. It’s certainly good enough to lead him to his first Final Four.
On the other side of this matchup, Northern Arizona finished 10th in the Big Sky after winning just nine games last year, and the Lumberjacks have been picked to finish 11th by the coaches this season. They don’t figure to offer much resistance against Arizona in the opener, as the Wildcats are heavy favorites.