Beat reporters remember Arizona basketball's 1997 national title

Anthony Gimino

CBS showed Arizona's 1997 national championship victory over Kentucky on Sunday afternoon, much to the delight of Wildcats' fans.

The stroll down memory lane was well worth it to get to the final seconds of overtime, with Miles Simon clutching the basketball after scoring 30 points, and Billy Packer three magic words, "Simon says championship."

I caught up with the two main newspaper reporters from 1997 -- Javier Morales of the Arizona Daily Star and Steve Rivera of the Tucson Citizen -- after they rewatched the 84-79 win (again) and spotted a few things they forgot.

See the video above or below.

Comments (2)
No. 1-2

I was surprised by the just OK level of play - not what I remembered. Kentucky was totally gassed and Dickerson (and to a lessor extent, Bibby) not having a great game made for less than spectacular basketball. Still amazing, but not as I recalled it. I have not seen it in 10 or 15 years.

Davison may be the most under rated wildcats of all time. He did so much that did not show in the box score and was great defensively. The over all BB IQ of that team was off the charts. Bibby was a savant, Simon so refined and so excellent, Terry just total energy and intensity, Bramlett hard working and smart.

It was clear to me that Kentucky had a stronger inside game and yet did not emphasize it and the press was idiotic. Who scouted a team with Bibby, Simon, Terry and Dickerson and thought the press would be effective?! Speed+Skills+Smarts+experience = Press is not gonna work.

Steve Buchanan
Steve Buchanan


Nice recap. Pitino made a critical mistake by continuing to press, even though Arizona broke it easily the entire game. An amazing number of KY players fouled out because they were fatigued.