After months of planning, three conference calls and an on-site walk-through with producers in December, Arizona is all but ready to host the ESPN "GameDay" crew Saturday for the first time ever in basketball.
Just about the only thing left to do is scoot the GameDay stage onto the center of Lute and Bobbi Olson Court and that can't happen until well after the Wildcats face Washington State on Thursday night.
"Their stage sets up and goes out on the court pretty quickly," said Suzy Mason, UA's associate AD for event management.
The "GameDay" bus is scheduled to arrive Friday, and it will be parked on the north McKale Center lawn in order to maximize exposure for sponsor State Farm.
Inside McKale, ESPN will handle the setup and necessary backdrops. The stage will be at center court, facing west, and sections 2-4 will be the primary seating areas for fans.
The GameDay crew will have two rooms at McKale to use for interviews and other preparation. Also, since the UA women's basketball team will be out of town, the crew will be able to rest in the women's locker room.
Arizona, which hosted "GameDay" in November 2009 for football, received the nod this time for basketball as a prelude for UA's game with Washington. There will be a morning studio show and an afternoon pregame show aired Saturday from McKale.
Here are some details:
• Admission and parking for the studio show are free. McKale will open at 6 a.m. and the studio show will run from 8-10 a.m., with the first hour on ESPNU and the second hour on ESPN.
• Five students will be awarded $20 gift cards from State Farm for showing school spirit and creativity.
• State Farm will also sponsor a halfcourt promotion, in which one randomly selected fan will be paid $1,800 just for taking a halfcourt shot - or $18,000 for making the shot.
• There will be several giveaways during the studio show, including 3,000 roll banners as well as 150 "GameDay" T-shirts, headbands and hats.
• A pregame show at McKale will be aired from 4 to 5 p.m., but the crew will be sitting on stools along the baseline while the teams warm up. Game tickets are required to see the pregame show, since McKale Center will be cleared after the studio show.
• Rece Davis will serve as the studio host, which will feature analysts Jay Bilas, Hubert Davis, Bob Knight and "Digger" Phelps.
• Bilas, Knight and play-by-play broadcaster Dan Shulman will call the Arizona-Washington game on ESPN at 5 p.m.
• Fans are being asked to wear white to the game as part of UA's second annual "whiteout" promotion. The Wildcats edged the Huskies 87-86 in the "whiteout" game last season, with Derrick Williams blocking a Darnell Gant shot before the buzzer to preserve the win.
• It is just the third time a Pac-12 school has hosted "GameDay" for basketball since the format began in January 2005, with California and Washington already having done so. UA is one of eight schools selected for a "GameDay" show this season.
The man suspected in the shooting of forward Kevin Parrom is scheduled for an arraignment Wednesday in Bronx Supreme Court.
Jason Gonzalez, 19, of the Bronx, pleaded not guilty during an arraignment in Bronx Criminal Court. He was indicted Oct. 5 by a grand jury and his arraignment in Bronx Supreme Court was postponed from Dec. 13 to Wednesday.
Gonzalez's attorney, Javier Solano, said Gonzalez, who has remained jailed, will "absolutely" plead not guilty in Bronx Supreme Court.
Parrom was shot on Sept. 24 at his father's apartment in the Bronx. Gonzalez was arrested in connection with the shooting on Sept. 30.
Arizona's RPI slips
Arizona's RPI dropped from 64 to 72 in official NCAA ratings Monday after losing to Colorado and playing low-rated Utah (242) last weekend.
The Wildcats are listed as one of the "next four"(5-8) teams left out of the NCAA tournament field in ESPN's "Bracketology" projection released Monday.
Pac-12 honors Aden
Washington State's Faisal Aden was named the Pac-12's Player of the Week after averaging 28.5 points in the Cougars' sweep of California and Stanford last weekend. The Cougars will face Arizona at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday at McKale.