When Bobby Hurley was named the head coach at Arizona State, he made it an objective to have a challenging non-conference schedule. Next season’s schedule is no exception.
ASU announced Thursday their non-conference season as they look to build upon last season’s growth.
The Sun Devils will open the season with home games vs Portland State and Cal Poly on Nov. 11 and 13 before heading to the Puerto Rico Classic. Joining ASU in Puerto Rico will be Clemson, Davidson, Missouri, Northern Iowa, Oklahoma, Tulane and Xavier as the tournament will take place from Nov. 17-20.
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The Sun Devils will then return home to face the Citadel, before heading to the Bahamas to face Kentucky for the second straight season.
December doesn’t get any easier for the Sun Devils as they’ll host UNLV on Dec. 3 before traveling to Madison Square Garden to face Purdue in the Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 6.
Four days later, ASU will play at San Diego State, which boasts one of toughest environments to play in before closing out the non-conference schedule with home games vs. New Mexico State, Creighton and Central Arkansas.
In total, the Sun Devils could potentially face up to five teams who made the 2016 NCAA Tournament depending on who they face in the Puerto Rico Classic.
ASU will play Kentucky, UNLV and Creighton for the second straight season. Arizona State won at UNLV and Creighton, and lost at Kentucky.
This schedule will be challenging, just as it was last season, where the Sun Devils surprisingly went 10-3 in non-conference before struggling during conference play.
The Sun Devils will be a better team with the incoming freshman class, led by small forward Sam Cunliffe, power forward Romello White and center Jethro Tshisumpa to go along with transfer shooting guard Shannon Evans.
This schedule will be a strong litmus test to see how Arizona State stacks up against some of the best teams in the country.