Arizona Wildcats basketball


The Arizona Wildcats are on track to have their first sellout of the season Saturday against Florida.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Arizona had fewer than 50 tickets remaining, including a few pairs, according to Brady Orvik, UA's assistant director of ticket operations.

All remaining Florida tickets are only being sold as part of a four-game holiday pack that also includes games against Oral Roberts, Colorado and Utah. The packages start at $84.

Many Holiday Pack tickets represent unclaimed student seats that are resold to the public during UA's winter break.

"It's going to be fuller, but it will be a little different atmosphere," Orvik said.

The eighth-ranked Wildcats haven't sold out the 14,538-seat McKale Center yet in five home games but have come close: UA drew 14,503 for its opener against Charleston Southern on Nov. 11 and has averaged 13,577 fans.

During an ESPNU podcast Monday, Arizona coach Sean Miller praised UA fans for their support.

"We have incredible tradition," Miller said. "We when we have a home game, there's 14,500 people there, whether it's Long Beach State in the third game of the season or if we're playing Florida on Saturday.

"If you look around college basketball, it's amazing how so many high major programs who have good traditions or good teams don't have that (crowd) game-in and game-out. Tucson is one of those special places to be in. They care a lot about college basketball. I'm lucky to be here, and I hope we can continue to grow and be better."

NCAA honors Wildcats

Former Arizona basketball standouts Miles Simon and Sean Elliott, plus the entire 1997 Wildcats team, were honored Monday as part of the 75th anniversary celebration of the NCAA basketball tournament.

Simon and Elliott were named among the top 75 players in tournament history, and the 1997 national champions were named one of the top 25 tourney teams.

Their credentials are familiar to Wildcat fans: Elliott led the Wildcats to the 1988 Final Four and was the 32nd-top scorer in NCAA history, Simon was named Most Outstanding Player at the 1997 Final Four, and the Wildcats beat three No. 1 seeds en route to the 1997 championship.

Fans will be able to vote on their choices among the finalists starting in January at the NCAA's March Madness website. The top 15 players, along with the top team and top moment, will be announced during the Final Four.

Olson honored

Former UA coach Lute Olson was named the 2012 Naismith Outstanding Contributor on Tuesday, an award given yearly to a basketball figure for contributions and impact on the game.

Olson will be honored along with former Tennessee coach Pat Summit, the women's award winner.

"I am sincerely honored," Olson said in a statement. "To be included in this distinguished group of men is humbling. Coaching has always been my passion, an extension of who I am. Coaching never felt like work, so to be honored with this award is especially gratifying."

Rim shots

• The Wildcats took Sunday and Tuesday off from basketball but will resume full practices today until Saturday's game with the Gators.

• Former UA standout Chase Budinger of the Minnesota Timberwolves is spending a week in Tucson, continuing to rehabilitate a torn meniscus in his left knee suffered last month.

On StarNet: Follow the Cats as they approach the Pac-12 season on Bruce Pascoe's blog at

Up next

• Who: No. 5 Florida (7-0) at No. 8 Arizona (7-0)

• When: 8 p.m. Saturday


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