By Craig Degel
Arizona Daily Wildcat
November 20, 1997

Starting small


Nicholas Valenzuela
Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA senior guard Miles Simon (34), junior center A.J. Bramlett (42) and sophomore forward Mike Bibby huddle with their teammates during last week's exhibition game against the Melbourne Magic. Although the team is tight, it's tired of playing itself in practice and have the pleasure of facing the Bears tonight at 7:37.

How much do you know about Morgan State?

Didn't think so.

The team in the other uniforms in McKale Center tonight are somewhat of a mystery to folks in Tucson. So, for the record, here's what you need to know about the Bears that the defending champion Arizona men's basketball team opens its season against at 7:37. Morgan State is a historically black school of 6,100 students in Baltimore, Md.

The 0-3 Bears play in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, the same conference as Coppin State, which will visit McKale on Dec. 13.

They boast just one player over 6-foot-8 on their roster - 6-11 Michael Canady - and he's a freshman.

Perhaps Arizona head coach Lute Olson can explain further,

"Against them we will face a lot of quickness," Olson said. "It will be different than with the Aussies where we faced a lot of size."

The Bears are lead by Jimmy Fields, a 5-foot-10 transfer from UNC-Charlotte. He had a game-high 28 points in the Bears four-overtime loss to Iona on Saturday. On paper, this game doesn't present much of a test for the Wildcats, who are possibly looking ahead to the Maui Invitational which begins on Monday. The Bears, on the other hand, probably consider this a big game, Olson said.

"It is a game from their standpoint that will be the biggest game outside of the conference that they will play," he said.

Don't worry about a lack of focus on the part of the Wildcats, though. The players say they're ready to play tonight but looking forward to next week is inevitable.

"The games next week, you come here to play games like that," UA guard Josh Pastner said.

Under Olson, the Wildcats are 11-3 in season openers and 5-1 in openers played at home. The expected starting lineup includes sophomore Mike Bibby and senior Miles Simon at the guard spots, seniors Michael Dickerson and Bennett Davison at the forward spots and junior A.J. Bramlett at center.

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