The Arizona Wildcats have played their way into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, and enthusiasm about the team is heating up this week. UA President Ann Weaver Hart and Greg Byrne, the University's director of athletics, are asking fans to keep their cool and not let passions boil over.
"Great college basketball teams deserve great fans," Hart and Byrne said in a joint statement endorsing the "Bear Down With Pride" campaign. "The ZonaZoo has shown us they are the most colorful, enthusiastic fans of any university and they represent us well — in the stands, with our opponents and on national television. That’s what we need from all of our fans, here at home and at the tournament. Win or lose, do not let the team down. Be respectful, safe and smart.
"The spotlight is on the University of Arizona because of the success of our men's basketball program, so let's show the nation how we Bear Down With Pride."
Last year, the Tucson Police Department sent officers to each of the cities and campuses represented in the Final Four to determine a list of best practices when working with crowds involving NCAA Tournament games.
As a result, starting with this week's games, Tucson police officers will be joined by UA police officers in regular uniform and traffic vests to present a highly visible, approachable presence in the Main Gate Square area. A similar presence will be evident in the Fourth Avenue and downtown Tucson areas.
Enforcement actions will be strategic and specific to individuals who are seen damaging property or endangering themselves or others. The goal is to allow a safe, responsible celebration while preventing dangerous behavior or incitement.
The UA will face Xavier at 7:17 p.m. Thursday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in a game to be telecast by TBS cable. The winner will play on Saturday against the winner of Wisconsin vs. North Carolina, in the West Region finals, for the right to advance to the Final Four in Indianapolis.