In 1891, James Naismith mounted two peach baskets on opposite walls of a gym, inventing the rudimentary version of what we know today as “shelving.” Take your basketball off this grand innovation with today’s Groupon: for $8, you get two general-admission tickets to the University of Arizona Wildcats Red-Blue game on Saturday, October 22 at 2 p.m. (up to a $20 value).
The legendary University of Arizona Wildcats basketball program, which dribbled its way into the NCAA’s Elite Eight last year, full-court presses into the 2011–12 season with 25 consecutive NCAA appearances in their rearview. An annual event designed to usher in the new season, the Red-Blue game pits the Wildcats against each other in a no-holds-barred battle for season-long bragging rights and a postgame trip to Chuck E. Cheese’s. Fans can catch their first glimpse of this year’s lineup of new and seasoned players as they brandish laminated welcome banners. A slam-dunk contest accompanies the festivities, along with a special ceremony honoring NBA newbies and former Wildcats Derek Williams and Chase Budinger.
University of Arizona Wildcats
Over the years, the University of Arizona’s athletic teams have been linked together by one phrase: “bear down.” Now the official battle cry of the Wildcats, those were the dying words of an iconic student-athlete, John “Button” Salmon, who died in 1926 after a fatal car accident. Since then, the phrase has stood behind countless milestone moments, such as when Lute Olson, in 1983, became the 11th head coach of the Wildcats men’s basketball team, setting off a string of 25 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances—including a national title in 1997. Several other national titles belong to Arizona outside of the hardwood, including four from the men’s baseball team and eight from the women’s softball program. Every fall inside Arizona Stadium, the Wildcats football team rouses up to 56,000 fans with hard-hitting Pac-12 showdowns, by far the most popular event on campus behind the linguistics department’s weekly phonetics bee.