HONOLULU -- San Diego State and Arizona will continue today what has become an almost annual series.
At first, the series was a convenient recruiting tool for Lute Olson, who was able to tell players such as Luke Walton, Chase Budinger and Jamelle Horne that they would get back to their hometown for a game. Olson also cited the large number of UA alums in San Diego who were happy to attend the game.
Now, it has become one of the marquee matchups of the region.
UA won the first five games since it was resumed in various two-year series since 2002. Then San Diego State won at Viejas Arena in Miller's first season of 2009-10 (that was the final game of an Olson-initiated series) and also won last season at McKale in the first game of a new two-year series (which was postponed this season because of the possibility of today's game happening, but will be resumed at San Diego next season)
Both UA coach Sean Miller and SDSU coach Steve Fisher have done nothing but speak respectfully of each other.
Here's Miller, on how he came to know Fisher: "He was the coach at Michigan and I was in the area and I was a young coach. He’s one of those guys who is always nice to everybody, even if you're an assistant coach, head coach, Division II, it doesn't matter. He's going to greet you the same. He also is an incredibly hard worker."
And Fisher, on SDSU and UA being among the best in the region: "Arizona has been a traditional powerhouse. Sean Miller has brought them back to where they expect to be. We've done a really good lately for a handful of years. We beat Arizona last year at Arizona and I know they will remind them of that. We have great respect for them. They have tremendous talent and they’re very well coached."
The San Diego Union-Tribune had a look at the game and Kevin Parrom's perspective on it.
Mele Kalikimaka to everyone...