Just one year removed from coming up two points short of a Final Four appearance, the Arizona Wildcats are a No. 1 seed ... in the NIT. There will be no last-minute heroics against Memphis or Texas, no complete and total domination of Duke in 2012. Instead, the UA will get to send out their seniors with a few extra home games and will be playing for the chance to play at Madison Square Garden to capture an NIT championship.
Their first opponents will be the Bucknell Bison on Wednesday evening. Tipoff from Tucson is set for 7 p.m. Fans can find the game being broadcast live on ESPN2, with former-Wildcat Miles Simon serving as the analyst.
The Bison finished the 2011-2012 season with an impressive record of 24-9, including a 12-2 mark in Patriot League play. Mike Muscala, a 6-foot-11, 240 pound junior forward will likely give Arizona fits with his size and soft touch around the rim. He averaged nearly 17 points and nine rebounds this past season. Joe Willman, Cameron Ayers and Bryson Johnson are all capable scorers and must all play well for Bucknell to win against the 'Cats.
For Arizona, this game is about sending their seniors out with a few extra wins and to give their young players some needed seasoning. Josiah Turner will not play due to his suspension, so look for Jordin Mayes and Nick Johnson to play heavy point guard minutes. Do not be surprised if freshman big man Angelo Chol plays extended minutes in the NIT, seeing as he will likely be the only returning post player to the team next season.
Tickets are still available for the game, although the Athletic Department announced that 5,000 tickets had already sold as of Monday evening. Contact the ticket box office to remaining seats. Reserved seats are going for $25, while general admission to the end zone and upper deck seats are $15. Students can get in for $5.
For more on the Wildcats, visit Arizona Desert Swarm.