Arizona Wildcats 1996-1997 Away

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  • Hardwood History

      Lute Olson's 1996-1997 Arizona Wildcats team was loaded with 5 future NBA players.  The biggest addition to the U of A program was freshman phenom, Mike Bibby.  Bibby teamed with Miles Simon to give Arizona the best 1-2 backcourt punch in the nation.  Add Jason Terry, Michael Dickerson and AJ Bramlett to the mix and you start to understand why expectations were high in Tucson.

      A win over #7 UNC to start the season and another win over #3 Utah was a sign of things to come.  However, the Wildcats lost their last two regular season games to finish 11-7 in the Pac 10, good for 5th place.  Not the kind of momentum Olson wanted heading into the NCAA Tournament.

      Arizona was given the #4 seed in the Southeast Region where they took care of South Alabama before pulling out a tough, 73-69 win against College of Charleston to make the Sweet 16.  Waiting for them was the #1 overall seed Kansas Jayhawks and their star Paul Pierce. 

      While U of A had no answers for "The Truth", Kansas had no answer for Zona's 3 headed monster of Simon, Bibby and Dickerson who proved to be too much for the Jayhawks, 85-82.

      A 30 point effort from Miles Simon led Arizona over a God Shammgod led Providence team in OT to put the Wildcats in the Final Four.  In the Final Four North Carolina became the second #1 seed to fall to Arizona, 66-58.

      Lute Olson was now one win away from his first and the schools first National Championship.  The only thing standing in their way was another #1 seed and college basketball blue blood Kentucky.

      Looking to go back to back for the first time since UCLA in '70s, UK put up a good fight taking Arizona to OT before Simon and Co. were able to pull away, winning 84-79.

      "At the end of that game, I wanted to keep that ball forever.  I had it overnight.  Then when we got on the plane the next day, Coach Olson asked who had the ball and I gave it to the rightful owner which was him."

      -Miles Simon

      • Modern Standard-Length Fit - SIZE CHART 
      • Material: Double Ply 100% Pro Aero Mesh
      • Hemmed Pockets at Both Sides 
      • Elastic Waistband with Drawstring 
      • Sublimated Team Graphics 
      • Officially Licensed 
      • Made in China 
      • All Designs are trademarks of 19nine, LLC.