For two schools that haven't played each other since 2005, Arizona and Saint Mary's know each other quite well.
The teams have participated in a pre-season scrimmage in recent years. Friday, Arizona and St. Mary's will play for real in a game in which the winner will advance to the Sweet 16.
"I think that we decided to scrimmage each other based on mutual respect," said Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller. "For us, being able to be in a quiet gym, to play a team that's disciplined and sets as many ball screens as they do, it teaches our team what we want to become, and how hard college basketball really is."
The Wildcats are coming off around one win in which they defeated North Dakota, 100-82. It was the most points the Wildcats have scored all season. Freshmen Lauri Marrkanen and Rawle Alkins each scored twenty.
The Gaels are coached by Randy Bennett. They defeated VCU, 85-77, in the first round.Center Jock Landale finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
"They just did what they've been doing all year," said Arizona senior guard Kadeem Allen. "They step up and make big plays."
Just like Arizona, Saint Mary's lost just four times this season. Three of the Gales' losses were to Gonzaga, who also beat Arizona. The Zags are the number one seed in the west.
Tomorrow's game is scheduled to tip off at approximately 4:45 pm Tucson time.