For the first time in over 15 years, both the Arizona men's and women's basketball teams are going to the NCAA tournament.
While some people will make the trek to San Diego to see the men take on Wright State University on Friday, March 18, most of us will be watching from home or our favorite watering holes.
Seeing the women when they face University of Nevada, Las Vegas on Saturday, March 19, is an easier call; they have home-court advantage at McKale Center for the opening round, although there aren’t a ton of tickets left.
There are several places on and off-campus where you can watch the Wildcats playing in the most important basketball tournament in college basketball. So, gather your friends—21 and older, of course—and come out with your Wildcat spirit to our top five picks for students to catch the games.
865 E. University Blvd.
This bar/restaurant, located in the heart of University Boulevard, is a popular spot for students to watch games. If you want to celebrate the games with your friends and probably hundreds more people, Gentle Ben’s is the place to go.
Gentle Ben's encourages its employees and customers to wear Arizona gear on game days to support the Wildcats. By wearing Arizona gear, it shows solidarity with the university, said manager Jacques Bouchard.
There are TVs scattered throughout the property inside and out, including on the expansive wrap-around terrace and downstairs where fans can grab drinks or order food. A jumbotron is displayed on the terrace with additional seating.
If you are a student, the terrace is the place where you want to be to see the games and people-watch along Main Gate. Friendly advice: get there early since it gets jam-packed quickly.
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876 E. University Blvd.
If Gentle Ben’s is too packed, Illegal Pete’s across the street is an excellent alternative. During game days, happy hour is extended from 11 a.m. to midnight.
Marcos Gallegos, a bartender at Illegal Pete’s, says they are supporting the basketball teams in everything because they are winning, and people love watching the Wildcats doing good.
“Oh yes, we always support the basketball teams especially since they are doing way better than the football team was doing,” Gallegos said.
Illegal Pete’s offers indoor and outdoor seating and a broad menu with Mexican-style food.
“We get every single TV in this building on those games,” Gallegos said.
Frog & Firkin
874 E. University Blvd.
Frog & Firkin is a popular university-area pub. It has a wide range of eats and drinks–the perfect combination to watch sports. It has an indoor and outdoor open-air deck and a large patio, and everywhere you turn you find a big-screen TV. They also have a shuttle board in case you want to play between commercials.
870 E. University Blvd.
Located in a renovated two-story home, No Anchovies features full bars on both floors and over 50 big-screen televisions–enough screens to watch UA basketball games from every corner. No Anchovies built its reputation on pizza, and it is a hot spot for students to hang out, drink and eat.
On game days, the upper level is open for more capacity. TVs with full sound systems will be transmitting the games, said employee Sydney Vincent.
Your best bet is to get there for happy hour, which runs from 3 to 6 p.m. on weekdays and game days.
Here are some places off-campus where you can catch the games on TV:
Brother John’s Beer Bourbon & BBQ
1801 N. Stone Ave.
Located in the historic and legendary Wildcat House, this family-owned bar/restaurant preserved all the history of its predecessor including Arizona banners, said Diana Surridge, Brother John’s sales manager.
For all of March Madness, Brother John’s will host watch parties, where customers can eat and drink while watching the games on multiple TVs around the place. Additionally, during Arizona games, employees are required to wear UA gear.
2033 E. Speedway Blvd.
If you want a chill environment without that much of a crowd, Trident Grill has your back. Located on the northeast edge of the campus, this place is a more relaxed spot for Arizona fans to watch games.
Trident also has locations on the east side, central Tucson and the northwest side, as well as its Trident Pizza Pub at 446 N. Campbell Ave., just down the street from McKale Center.
TV and Radio
For the Arizona men's first round against Wright State on March 18, at 4:27 p.m., you can watch on TruTV or listen by tuning into 1290-AM or 107.5 FM.
For the Arizona women's first round against UNLV on March 19, at 7 p.m., you can watch on ESPN2 or listen by tuning into 1400-AM.
*El Inde Arizona is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.
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