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Arizona, UCLA hope to continue hoops rivalry

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Arizona, UCLA hope to continue hoops rivalry

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LAS VEGAS — As nearly all Pac-12 Conference basketball teams go their separate ways after this season, Arizona and UCLA plan to continue to play each other.

Wildcats coach Tommy Lloyd said he and UCLA coach Mick Cronin have discussed keeping the rivalry going, though details still need to be worked out.

“I’m confident it will happen,” Lloyd said Wednesday at Pac-12 media day. “We need to sit down and hammer out exactly what it’s going to look like, but there’s so much change going on. First off, I want to figure out what the Big 12 schedule is going to look like. (Cronin) probably wants to know what his Big Ten schedule will look like. What are some non-conference obligations that come with being in a new conference?”

Both teams have met in the conference tournament championship the past two seasons, with the Wildcats winning both times.

Arizona will head to the Big 12 Conference with three other Pac-12 schools after this season, and UCLA is one of four teams departing for the Big Ten Conference.

The mass defections have torn apart one of the nation’s premier and most historic basketball conferences.

“I try to not get too emotional about it,” Lloyd said. “I’m a West Coast guy, having grown up in the Northwest. I think all of us were a little bit shocked, but I also understand I have an obligation to the University of Arizona. The University of Arizona played the hand they were dealt, and now we’re in the Big 12. I welcome that challenge.”

California coach Mark Madsen’s first season in the Pac-12 also is his last. The Bears and Bay Area rival Stanford will be in the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.

“I’m incredibly sad about the breakup of the Pac-12,” Madsen said. “In the back of my mind, I hope in 20 years we’ll be able to put it back together in some way. A lot of West Coast rivalries, even in different conferences, will still try to find a way to play each other.”

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