Kevin Parrom helped the Cats stop being ‘dogs.
Photo by Monique Fimbres/
TucsonCitizen.com

Last week, as I wrote about Arizona Basketball moving into 1st place, I used phrases like “…we should enjoy this while it lasts” and “Get swept…and the party’s over.” A reader responded with the following comment:

The expectations you are setting are too low.

Bruce, you are absolutely right.

At the start of the year all my focus was on returning to the NCAA tournament. Get everybody some postseason experience then prepare to make some noise in 2012.

This team is plenty noisy already.

We can’t help but focus on the Pac-10 championship now after an amazing weekend for the Red and Blue. The Cats gutted out two road wins while Washington just got gutted.

What on earth happened to the Huskies? I had them pegged for 8-1 on the back nine but now they’re 0-2. Lorenzo Romar had some strange quotes after the latest loss, practically waving the white flag on the conference title and reminding people his teams are never good on the road.

So is the UA going to cancel the white-out since it’s only against the 3rd-place team?

There will be a 1st-place team at McKale on Feb. 19 but it’s going to be the home team. The Cats are in the driver’s seat! It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I was just happy to be in the car a couple weeks ago.

What’s it going to take to drive this thing home? Here’s a look at each of the three contenders’ remaining Pac-10 schedule:

UCLA (7-3)

Feb 10 Oregon
Feb 12 OSU
Feb 17 @ Stanford
Feb 20 @ Cal
Feb 24 ASU
Feb 26 ARIZONA
Mar 3 @ Washington
Mar 5 @ WSU

With trips to the Bay Area and the Washington schools it’s hard to imagine UCLA doing better than two more losses, and that’s if the Bruins can beat Arizona at Pauley Pavilion.

Washington (7-4)

Feb 10 Cal
Feb 12 Stanford
Feb 17 @ ASU
Feb 19 @ ARIZONA
Feb 27 WSU
Mar 3 UCLA
Mar 5 USC

This looks like a 6-1 finish, but after this past weekend the Huskies are going to have to reattach their wheels before I’m going to assume any wins.

ARIZONA (9-2)

Feb 13 @ ASU
Feb 17 WSU
Feb 19 Washington
Feb 24 @ USC
Feb 26 @ UCLA
Mar 3 OSU
Mar 5 Oregon

Win at ASU, beat the Oregon schools at home, split the four games between the Washington schools at home and L.A. on the road. That’s a championship.

A 14-4 record will win this conference outright. 13-5 might also do it – just like last year – and this team looks poised to get there.

Cal scored 26 points in the first ten minutes Saturday night. On the road you’re just trying to weather the storm and win it at the end (or three sessions after the end). Sure enough, the Bears only scored 12 points in the second ten minutes and the UA was able to take the lead into halftime.

Nobody was intimidated when Cal came out on fire. Nobody panicked when trailing late in regulation, or in each of overtimes I, II and III.

When you hear about the ball bouncing a team’s way it looks like this: With a little over a minute left in the 3rd overtime and the Cats down one, Jamelle Horne grabs a rebound and outlets to the wrong teammate who isn’t even looking. Instead of going out of bounds or getting intercepted the ball bounces right to MoMo Jones who drives and hits the layup that gives Arizona the lead it would not give up.

With this win the Wildcats declared themselves the team to beat in the Pac-10. Who am I to argue?

The expectations have officially been raised.

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Scott Terrell loves conference championships. Feel the affection on Twitter and Facebook!