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Arizona Basketball to open season against Michigan State

Posted at 10:54 PM, Nov 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-11 13:38:44-05

Tenth-ranked Arizona Basketball takes on twelfth ranked Michigan State, Friday, in Honolulu, as part of the Armed Forces Classic on Veterans Day.

Michigan State is the highest ranked season-opening opponent for the Wildcats in fifteen years. Arizona faced 2nd ranked Maryland to begin the 2001-02 season.

Wildcat big man Chance Comanche is expected to play after missing the Wildcats two exhibition wins. He was suspended for academic reasons. However, guard Allonzo Tier reportedly didn't make the trip due to his ongoing eligibility issues, on which the program will not comment.  This is in addition to the season-ending knee injury to Ray Smith.

"Everyone has a bigger role," said Head Coach Sean Miller, who will begin his eighth season in Tucson.

"Even the walk-ons will have a chance to get in the game for a couple of minutes to give other guys a break. We are going to have to compete and go hard when we are out there on the court and do the best we can."

Freshman Lauri Markkanen led the Wildcats with 21 points and 7 rebounds in their 78-70 exhibition win, Sunday, over Division 2 Chico State.

Arizona and Michigan State's last head-to-head meeting was ironically in Hawai'i in the 2005 Maui Invitational. The Spartans walked away with the 74-71 victory in overtime behind 20 points from Maurice Ager. Hassan Adams tallied 21 points and nine rebounds for the Wildcats in the loss.

During the last few days, the Wildcat players visited Pearl Harbor and the U.S.S. Arizona memorial. The team also held a basketball clinic for young fans. The Wildcats will wear special U.S.S. Arizona uniforms for the game, which will be televised on ESPN.