Mar 29, 2014 12:11 AM by Sam Salzwedel

Tucson prepares for Arizona Wildcats basketball game

TUCSON - Businesses and police are getting ready for a busy Saturday night with the Arizona Wildcats basketball team playing in the Elite 8.

Thursday, an excited crowd filled University Boulevard causing Tucson Police to close Main Gate Square. A few fights started and officers arrested 1 student.

TPD Chief Roberto Villasenor said his department has been planning for similar celebrations but was surprised it happened so early in the tournament.

"If you allow the crowd to build, at first it's all just exuberance and excitement about the victory," Villasenor said. "But then they want to keep on going. And they want to keep going and things start happening."

Police had to manage riots in 1997 and 2001 after Wildcat basketball games.

Lara Mossberg is one of many bar managers facing the challenge of extra large crowds. She works at Gentle Ben's, where high lime prices are just one of her many issues.

"It's hard to prepare because we don't know where it's going," Mossberg said. "Of course we want them to be number one. And that's what we're hoping it's leading to, but we just make sure we have enough stuff in case they are."

On campus, the Student Affairs department is preparing dozens of locations to screen the game. Students can even get free food as they cheer together.

If the Wildcats go to the National Championship, the McKale Center will show the game on its big screen.


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