The McKale Center is home to an incredible student section and an excellent band making it a great place to take in a college basketball game. The Zona Zoo is one of the loudest and rowdiest student sections in the country. They give opponents hell and lift up their team with their cheers and chants. The Pride of Arizona Pep Band also is a fundamental component of the electric atmosphere found inside the McKale Center as they give cues the Zona Zoo throughout the contest.
The tributes to Arizona greats of the past around the arena also go a long way in creating a fun atmosphere. Everywhere you look, you’ll find banners honoring the best players and teams in Wildcats history. You can even stop by the Hall of Champions before the game and see tributes to legends from other sports teams as well. Arrive early, so you can soak it all in when attending a game at the McKale Center.
There are also plenty of bars and restaurants nearby the McKale Center, so you won’t go home hungry or thirsty. Dirtbags, on the east side of campus, is a must for anyone visiting Tucson and other nearby eateries like Trident and 1702 are worth checking out as well.
You’ll have a fantastic time taking in a game at the McKale Center where the Zona Zoo and the Pride of Arizona Pep Band create an incredible atmosphere that every college basketball fan should experience at least once.
Things to check out
Hall of Champions
When attending a Wildcats basketball game, make sure to stop by the Hall of Champions before the game. The Hall of Champions is a great place to learn more about the history of Arizona athletics and is home to tributes to all of the best athletes in Wildcats history.Watch video
Retired Numbers and Championship Banners
Hanging from the rafters of the McKale Center are banners honoring all of the best Wildcats players and teams from over the years. The 1997 National Championship banner takes center stage and is a must see for anyone wanting to relive the greatest moment in Arizona basketball history.
It’s included in the field design, the fight song, and many posters and t-shirts, but the traditional slogan has a deeper historical meaning. Student body president and quarterback John “Button” Salmon was in a severe auto accident in 1926. On his deathbed, he told coach Pop McKale, “Tell them… tell the team to bear down.” The slogan continues today as a great way to meet and connect with fellow Wildcat fans.Watch video
The Zona Zoo remains one of the most raucous student sections in college basketball, and will spend the majority of the game standing and cheering their lungs out. Enjoy the pride and passion of the Zona Zoo when attending a Wildcats basketball game.Watch video
The Pride of Arizona Pep Band
The Pride of Arizona Pep Band does an excellent job of setting the tone at an Arizona basketball game. The band kicks things off by playing “Bear Down Arizona” and saying hello to the fans before the game. After their introduction you can hear the band riling up the crowd with throughout the game, so listen to the band and join in on the cheers.Watch video
White Out Game
Every year Arizona will hold one game where everyone dresses in white. White out games give the Wildcats an even greater home court advantage and are a lot of fun to take part in, so make sure to wear white when attending a white out at the McKale Center.Watch video
Wilbur and Wilma
Wilbur and Wilma are the Arizona mascots, and they do a fantastic job of entertaining the crowd. The pair get into a lot of shenanigans and lead a variety of cheers, so keep an eye out for them at the game.Watch video
The “Ooh-Aah” Man has been a big part of Arizona basketball games since the 1980s and leads the crowd in the spelling of “A-R-I-Z-O-N-A.” Following that chant, he then directs the fans in the chanting of “U of A.” Join in on the chants to give the Wildcats as much support as possible.Watch video
Bear Down ArizonaBear Down, Arizona
Bear Down, red and Blue
Bear Down, ArizonaHit ’em hard, let ’em know who’s who;
Bear Down, Arizona
Bear Down, Red and Blue
Go, go, Wildcats, go;
Arizona, Bear Down
All Hail, Arizona
Arizona’s alma mater sung after the game
All hail, Arizona! Thy colors Red and Blue
Stand as a symbol – of our love for you.
All hail, Arizona! To thee we’ll be true
We’ll watch o’er and keep you, All hail! All hail!
Fight Wildcats, Fight!
Hail Arizona Wildcats
Fighting for old UA.
A raging team of Wildcats
Growling for the fray
There’s not a team can stop them
When the ball goes into play
So Fight! Team!
Fight with all your might
And win today.
Fight Wildcats, Fight for
We’re with you ever staunch
This day we hail you and we
They can’t defeat the Red
Circle the ends and crash
Hit hard and gain on ev’ry play
Fight! Fight! Fight!
We’ll win today!
After an opponent commits a foul the Zona Zoo chants, “ You! You! You! You! You! You! You! You! You! On you, that's who!” and if it’s a shooting foul they chant “Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! No no no no! No no no no! No no no no! No no no no! Don't touch me!” Join in the chant to get into the opponents’ heads and propel the Wildcats to victory.
You! You! You! You! You! You! You! You! You! On you, that’s who!
Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! No no no no! No no no no! No no no no! No no no no! Don’t touch me!
When an opposing player fouls out, the band plays Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” followed by the yell,"Hey! We're gonna get you too!" and chants of, “left, right...” until the player sits down and they yell, “Sit down!”
Another One Bites the Dust
Hey! We’re gonna get you too!
End of Game Chants
When the Wildcats are blowing out opponents fans tell the opposing to “Warm up the Bus.” If an opponent manages to make a play, then members of the Zona Zoo will let them know that “It just doesn’t matter!”
Warm up the Bus
It just doesn’t matter!