UCLA starts its 2014-15 basketball season on Nov. 14, but the real fun doesn’t begin until two weeks later.
After a four-game homestand at Pauley Pavilion against Montana State, Coastal Carolina, Nicholls State and Long Beach State — none of which ranked top 150 in RPI last season — the Bruins head to the Bahamas for a star-studded nonconference tournament.
The Battle 4 Atlantis on Thanksgiving week is the type of heavyweight competition that second-year head coach Steve Alford has openly pined for since arriving in Los Angeles. Matchups haven’t been finalized for the three-game slate, but UCLA is in a field that includes Florida, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Georgetown, Butler, Oklahoma and Alabama-Birmingham (UAB).
The Gators and the Badgers both made the Final Four this past season, while the Tar Heels and the Hoyas are among the sports bluebloods — even if neither team has been as formidable in recent years.
But UCLA will only host one major nonconference opponent: Gonzaga, whom the Bruins last faced in 2006’s all-time Sweet Sixteen thriller. The Bulldogs visit Pauley Pavilion on Dec. 13 to start a home-and-home series.
That’s followed by a huge Dec. 20 game against national runner-up Kentucky at the United Center as part of the CBS Sports Classic.
The Bruins will open Pac-12 play with five of their first seven games on the road, starting with a trip to Utah and Colorado on the Jan. 2-4 weekend. They will travel to Arizona and Arizona State on Feb. 18-22, but will not host either due to the conference’s schedule rotation.
Nonconference single-game tickets will go on sale Wednesday at uclabruins.com/tickets, while Pac-12 single-game tickets go on sale Oct. 1.
UCLA’s full schedule below:
Oct. 31 — vs. Azusa Pacific (exhibition)
Nov. 14 — vs. Montana State
Nov. 16 — vs. Coastal Carolina
Nov. 20 — vs. Nicholls State
Nov. 23 — vs. Long Beach State
Nov. 26 — Battle 4 Atlantis ^ … Atlantis Resort (The Bahamas)
Nov. 27 — Battle 4 Atlantis ^
Nov. 28 — Battle 4 Atlantis ^
Dec. 3 — vs. Cal State Fullerton
Dec. 7 — vs. San Diego
Dec. 10 — vs. UC Riverside
Dec. 13 — vs. Gonzaga
Dec. 20 — Kentucky … United Center (Chicago, Ill.) … 12:30 p.m. PT
Dec. 28 — at Alabama … Coleman Coliseum (Tucsaloosa, Ala.)
^ Battle 4 Atlantis schedule to be finalized at a later date
Pac-12 Pairings (Dates not yet finalized)
Jan. 2-4 (at Utah, at Colorado)
Jan. 7-11 (Stanford, California)
Jan. 14-18 (at USC)
Jan. 21-25 (at Oregon, at Oregon State)
Jan. 28-Feb. 1 (Utah, Colorado)
Feb. 4-8 (at Stanford, at California)
Feb. 11-15 (Oregon State, Oregon)
Feb. 18-22 (at Arizona State, at Arizona)
Feb. 25-March 1 (Washington, Washington State)
March 4-8 (USC)