Arizona Athletics

Shut the Front Door, …

So, read what you want into the first official polls of the men’s basketball season, but Arizona is ranked, um, um, No. 5 to begin the season in the coach’s poll.

To the naked eye – and those with UA hopes and dreams – it’s surprisingly low given what preseason magazines were saying over the summer, saying Arizona was either No. 1 or No. 2 going into the season.

Michigan State is No. 2, Kansas No. 3 and Kentucky No. 4. Blue Bloods rejoice.

But with so many questions about Arizona’s future it’s understandable. And given that sophomore Rawle Alkins’ injury might have him out until mid-to-late December, the coaches might have voted on the side of caution.

My thinking is: what does it matter? Arizona fans – the team – have bigger issues to worry about on the eve of the annual Red-Blue Game. Unfortunately, those issues won’t be clear until way down the road when investigations into the program begin and end by two (likely three or four) entities. There’s the FBI one, the NCAA one and the separate attorneys for UA looking into things.

So, at the end of the day No. 5 is more than OK. Although UA fans will fret that Duke is No. 1. But also rejoice that they’ve been given the No. 1 label seven times over the year and ended up No. 1 by season’s end just once.
So, there’s that.

Burp! Or Hiccup!
What took so long the University of Arizona powers to finally make a full-fledged attempt at having liquor served at UA basketball and football games? OK, there have been talks through the years of wanting it to happen, but news broke on Wednesday night that it might become a reality sometime soon.

Emphasis on might and soon.

Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke meets John “Button” Salmon. (Photo courtesy of Rocky LaRose)

Arizona athletics director Dave Heeke said on a Phoenix radio station – 1580 The Fanatic – that UA is applying for a liquor license with the city for McKale Center. UA already sells alcohol at UA baseball games at Hi Corbett Field. The move has proven to be quite popular.

Heeke said UA has looked into do it for some time after many fans have inquired about it. To that end, it’s been discussed in certain circles for years.

“We want to kind of see what we can do, we want to do it the right way, so we’ll likely have that at some point during this season,” Heeke said on 1580.

“We want better food service, better opportunities for food and drink across the entire board. We want to have new environments for people to retreat to and enjoy the game, more than just sitting on that hard, abrasive bench at the 50-yard line and just watching the game. There’s more to the experience now, and we want to try to grow that.”

Red/Blue Sold Out, but …

If you haven’t gotten your ticket to the annual Red/Blue Game well there’s likely you know somebody who knows somebody who is selling a ticket or two … even if the game is sold out once again. The game is set for Friday at 7 p.m. The prices haven’t been that steep for a ticket.

People have tickets, having gobbled them up shortly after they went on sale this summer. It’ll be the general public’s first look at the team before the exhibition season starts. Everyone is expected to play except for the aforementioned Alkins who is out with an injury. The most intriguing player to watch will be Deandre Ayton, UA’s 7-foot-1 wonder who coach Sean Miller said has never coached someone like him.

DeAndre Ayton (Scout.com screen shot)

On Thursday afternoon, Ayton Ayton was named to the preseason Karl Malone Award list.

In signing with UA, Ayton became the school’s 23rd McDonald’s All-American in school history. He was ESPN’s No. 1 overall prospect in the nation.

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