Tommy Lloyd says he'd like to see Arizona continue playing UCLA after Big Ten move
Tommy Lloyd still wants to see Arizona play UCLA even after it leaves the Pac-12 and joins the Big Ten (assuming, of course, that move isn’t derailed at the 11th hour by the UC Regents).
At Pac-12 Basketball Media Day on Wednesday, the Wildcat head coach was asked about continuing games against the two Los Angeles schools once 2024 arrives and their conference allegiances change. Lloyd said he’s disappointed in the decisions of the two universities to leave the Pac-12 but respects them.
“Hopefully, I’ll be able to compete with them obviously the next couple years and then beyond,” he said. “I would love to continue to play those schools.”
But no discussions between the schools have been had on that front yet.
“Not to this point. Everything is so new, and there’s so many moving parts,” he said. “I’m just giving you my personal opinion, and so I haven’t like run that through the channels or even talked to UCLA about it.
“I’m sure in the near future we’ll sit down and have to have those conversations, and hopefully we can figure something out.”
Arizona and UCLA have faced off 95 times since first meeting in December of 1969. They’re two of the most recognizable college basketball programs in the country. The Bruins, owning an NCAA-best 11 national championships, would make for quite the impressive résumé-builder come NCAA Tournament time. From UCLA’s perspective, Arizona appears set to dominate the Pac-12 once they depart.
“I really believe and I feel strongly that the brand of Arizona basketball is strong enough to stand on its own,” Lloyd said. “So I’m just going to focus on doing the best job at Arizona, and obviously we want to do everything we can to compete for conference championships and compete for national championships. That’s still my focus.”
It would make sense to find a way to try and continue games with semi-regularity. The two met for the Pac-12 Tournament championship last season. They could do so again this year. They’re picked to finish No. 1 and No. 2 in the Pac-12 preseason poll.
They’ll meet this season at McKale Center on Jan. 21 and then at Pauley Pavilion on March 4, the final day of the regular season for both sides.