Earlier today we found out that UCLA will play Texas at Reliant Stadium next season and now we have another piece of the Bruins' 2012-2013 basketball schedule. According to Eric Blumberg, from KOMU in Columbia, Missouri, UCLA will play host to Missouri this season and will return the trip the following season.
Missouri had one of their best seasons ever last year, hovering near the top of the polls all season before being upset in the first round of the tournament. They lost a couple guys from last year's team, but they have some talented young guys are still in most people's way-too-early top 25. They are certain to provide the Bruins with a really good test and should have the UCLA all over national TV for the game, and what will probably be the national media's first up-close look at new Pauley Pavilion.
And the best part about playing Missouri? They're sure to flash back to this:
With the Pac-12 expected to be down again this (although not as bad as it was last season because it couldn't possibly be that bad again) it is important for UCLA to schedule tough if it wants to make noise nationally. This is both a matter of remaining relevant and in the minds of people, and also about boosting that RPI and resume for what has to be a protected seed out west for the Bruins in the NCAA Tournament.
So far, the Bruins have a home contest against Missouri, a neutral court game against Texas and a neutral court game against San Diego St. in the Wooden Classic on their schedule. The Tigers give the Bruins a marquee home game at new Pauley, Texas is a high-profile game in a notable venue and the Aztecs is a tough game with Coach's name attached to it. On top of that, all three are projected top 25 teams so the schedule is looking stout.
UCLA also has the Legends Classic lined up for next year. Assuming the Bruins win their opening two games against cupcakes at Pauley (and they better), they will go to brand new Barclays Center with Georgetown, Indiana and Georgia for two games on ESPN. Those are two more great games for the Bruins.
Right now, the scheduling is shaping up nicely. It is set up to boost the RPI, keep the Bruins relevant and provide some good tests for the young team. If they can win some games and take care of business, they will be sitting pretty. The only concern right now is the absence of a true road game prior to Pac-12 play, meaning that the Bruin freshmen won't play a real road game until they are in conference, which is scary. That aside, all is looking good. Win games and the Bruins will be fine, plus, we'll have fun watching these games so it's a win-win, assuming Howland and Co. can churn out the wins, of course.