No. 12 Arizona knocked off Bradley on Monday night in a game that tipped off at 6:00 p.m. MT and still managed to draw 14,500 fans to the game.
That’s a sellout, if you were wondering.
Arizona head coach Sean Miller thanked those fans after the game.
“I also just want to thank our crowd,” Miller said. “I watch games like everybody and you see some of these November games and it’s like, maybe they misreported the game date on the season ticket. Watching TV and there’s like 1,000 people there. Amazing, man. 6:00 p.m. tip. Bradley, 14,000, man. We never take that for granted.”
He wasn’t done.
“I’d like to just thank everyone in our crowd tonight, on behalf of our team, to show up here on a Monday, on a quick-turn around, on a 6:00 p.m. start,” he continued. “There’s no excuses here in Tucson. We play a game, everyone knows the start time, everyone knows the game and they’re coing to watch the Wildcats. They’re not going to say traffic, this, that. There’s no excuses. It’s amazing. It’s what we all love about being here.”
If you haven’t figured it out yet, that shade Miller is throwing? It’s directed squarely at UCLA. You know who didn’t sell out their games this weekend?
UCLA. In their win over Cal Poly on Sunday night, UCLA had 6,595 fans show up. The Bruins had 6,674 tickets sold for their overtime loss to Monmouth, and it looked worse than that on TV.
There’s a reason for this that goes beyond a simply rivalry. It’s recruiting, obviously, because Arizona likes tapping into the Southern California market that the Bruins, when they’re rolling, tend to dominate. But more specifically, late last week, T.J. Leaf — a top 15 recruit from SoCal, committed to the Bruins. In August, he decommitted from Arizona.
So, no, Miller wasn’t done quite yet.
“As a young kid why would you ever want to come to a program or a place where nobody comes to the game?” he said. “That puts a lot of pressure on their recruiting. You come here, you have an opportunity to play in front of 14,500, you have the introduction, you have the Zona Zoo.”
“It feels like college basketball.”