SALT LAKE CITY – After the Arizona Wildcats flew into the same Salt Lake airport they visited a month ago, they checked into the same Marriott hotel they had already visited twice in the past three seasons.

On Wednesday, after eating yet another meal in the Marriott ballroom, they practiced at the same arena (Utah’s Huntsman Center), where they have practiced and played games at over the past two seasons. Then they drove down for interviews and a public scrimmage at the same arena (EnergySolutions Arena) where they faced BYU two seasons ago.

In that 87-65 loss on Dec. 11, 2010, Arizona even faced the kind of nightmarishly good shooter (Jimmer Fredette) that they just might see in Belmont’s Ian Clark during their NCAA tournament opener today at EnergySolutions.

“Hopefully there’s not a Jimmer Fredette on the floor,” forward Solomon Hill said. “If there is, I hope he’s on our side of the court.”

So it’s the same. It’s the NCAA tournament, with the exponentially higher level of importance, but for Arizona a lot is the same.

“I think it makes a big difference,” Miller said. “We’re grateful to be in Salt Lake City. The fact that Utah is in our conference’s footprint… there is familiarity and most importantly I’m glad our fans don’t have to travel across the country.”

Read more about the Cats in Thursday's Arizona Daily Star.