This afternoon, the Pac-12 Conference released the conference schedule for the 2018-2019 basketball season. The conference season is scheduled to begin the week of January 2-6, about a week later than it had started last year.
The press release also mentions that the Pac-12 Conference Tournament will again take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, this year taking place from March 13-16.
Here is the schedule for the UCLA Bruins this coming year (not including non-conference):
UCLA Pac-12 Conference Slate 2018-2019
|Jan. 9-13||@ Oregon/Oregon State|
|Jan. 16-20||@ USC|
|Jan. 23-27||Arizona/Arizona State|
|Jan. 30 - Feb. 3||@ Washington/Washington State|
|Feb. 13-17||@ California/Stanford|
|Feb. 20-24||Oregon/Oregon State|
|Feb. 27 - Mar. 3||USC|
|Mar. 6-9||@ Colorado/Utah|
There are a few things that stand out when looking over this schedule, so let’s get to the biggest one first: UCLA and the Arizona Wildcats only play each other once this year. For the second year in a row. I’m not sure how the Pac-12 continually screws up having their two marquee programs face each other twice in the regular season, but here we are. Fact is, no matter how good or bad the Bruins or Wildcats are in a given year, the matchups between the two programs are always destination viewing on a national level, and having these two programs only play once in a given year is just leaving money on the table, while also underserving the best basketball rivalry in the conference by far.
Beyond that, UCLA is scheduled to play the Oregon Ducks twice this year. The Ducks are the only other team in the conference that appears to be a consensus preseason top-25 team (and even UCLA is on the bubble in that regard), so getting two matchups will be important for the Bruins in their tournament hopes.
It’s also nice that UCLA will have a virtual bye before the Rocky Mountain road trip this year. Yes, UCLA plays USC the week prior, but only having one game (especially at home) will help the Bruins get rest before what is easily the toughest road trip in the conference, and should help a young Bruins team late in the season.
Overall, this schedule feels rather forgiving for the Bruins. The early road trip to Oregon will be a challenge, especially coming off a non-conference slate where the Bruins will have played games against Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and some combination of Michigan State, North Carolina, and Texas at the Las Vegas Invitational. But beyond that, there really isn’t a stretch where UCLA plays a group of tough opponents in a row - if anything, UCLA was really protected by this schedule.