Cal Poly has put together one of its most ambitious men’s basketball schedules in school history as the Mustangs announced their 2013-14 schedule Saturday, highlighted by games against three Pac-12 teams.
Cal Poly will play four teams that made the 2013 NCAA Tournament, including road games at Arizona, Oregon and Pittsburgh.
Joe Callero, who will be in his fifth season as the Mustangs head coach, called the schedule “the most prestigious and geographically-challenging schedule that we’ve ever put together.”
Callero returns three starters and eight lettermen from last season’s team that went 18-14 and lost to Weber State in the opening round of the postseason CollegeInsider.com Tournament. The Mustangs were 12-6 in the Big West and went a program-record 13-1 at home in Mott Gym, including taking a 12-game home winning streak into the season.
Cal Poly opens the season Friday, Nov. 8 at Arizona, which advanced to the Sweet 16 of last year’s NCAA Tournament before dropping a close game to Ohio State. The Wildcats will be breaking in a freshmen class ranked as the fifth-best incoming class by ESPN.com
Cal Poly and Arizona have played twice before, but not since the Wildcats won by a point at home in 1957.
The Mustangs have wins the past two seasons over Pac-12 schools, having beaten USC and UCLA, respectively, in Los Angeles.
After a Tuesday, Nov. 12 home game against Nevada and a game at Fresno State, the Mustangs hit the road for the three-game Global Sports Hardwood Challenge on Nov. 29-Dec. 1 hosted by Oregon. In Oregon, the Mustangs will play North Dakota, Pacific and Oregon.
Pacific won the Big West Tournament last season to advance to the NCAA Tournament and is now in the West Coast Conference. Oregon won the Pac-12 Tournament last year and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, where it lost 77-69 to eventual national champion Louisville.
Other nonleague highlights included a Dec. 17 home game against Santa Clara (last season’s CBI postseason champ), and then road games at Pittsburgh (Dec. 21), Stanford (Dec. 29) and Delaware (Jan. 4), the first time the Mustangs will have ever played a Colonial Athletic Association team.
The three games against Pac-12 teams will be televised by the Pac-12 Network.
“Our three games at Pac-12 schools, our travel to Pittsburgh and Delaware, our continuing rivalry with Fresno State and home games against talented programs such as Nevada and Santa Clara,” Callero said in a news release, “are all early-season contests that will certainly test our emotional and physical limits.”
Pittsburgh is the fourth NCAA Tournament team from last season the Mustangs will face. The Panthers lost to eventual Final Four participant Wichita State in their NCAA Tournament opener last year.
Cal Poly opens Big West Conference play at home Jan. 9 against Hawaii, and then plays at UC Santa Barbara two days later.