The Arizona Wildcats are Pac-10 champions!
Sean Miller and his team do not have to feel ashamed about the league being down. Conference RPIs aren’t listed on championship banners. A coach’s bio never says, “He won his conference 12 times (but a couple of them were against some really crummy teams).” There is absolutely no reason to apologize.
The Cats will, however, have to apologize if they think their work is done.
A Pac-10 co-championship would be a solid accomplishment just two years removed from the Old Lute/KO/ASU Radio Guy era. But why settle for solid? Get as much density as you can.
You want the outright championship. Nine of Lute Olson’s 11 Pac-10 championships were of the solo variety. They taste better.
You want the 14-4 record. The UA has never won this league with a record worse than that. 13-5 has only been good enough to win the Pac-10 twice: 1985 (Lute’s second year) and last season.
You want the undefeated home season. You can’t get back to being elite unless you dominate at home. Send the message that the days of coming into McKale and walking out with easy wins are over.
You want the momentum to build. The time to start playing your best basketball is right now and the Cats are not. The Oregon State contest made it three straight games with subpar outside shooting. A strong performance against Oregon would be a boost heading into tournament season.
You want to build the resume. If it’s true that Arizona’s seed range for the NCAA tournament is 6-7-8 then go out and earn that 6-seed. The Wildcats have been seeded 8, 9 or 10 seven times. Those seven tournament appearances produced one total win.
There is still a lot to play for on Saturday. Even for the Pac-10 champions.
(I mean, the Pac-10 champions!)
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The Arizona baseball team got its first taste of real competition with mixed results. Top-25 Rice came to town and knocked around UA pitching for 19 runs in splitting the two-game series.
As in the previous six games starting pitching wasn’t the problem. The lead was 3-0 when Kurt Heyer left the game on Tuesday and 3-1 when Kyle Simon exited on Wednesday.
All told the bullpen yielded 17 earned runs in 12.1 innings for an unpleasant ERA of 12.41. Take out Bryce Bandilla’s 2.2 innings without being charged with a run and it jumps up to 15.82.
So the Wildcat relievers need some work. The good news is work is available.
None of the three remaining nonconference weekend opponents will scare anyone so the real tests will be the midweek games. The UA travels to play 8-2 UNLV next week and 7-1 Wichita State the following week.
It would be a good idea to get the pen some innings this weekend against Utah Valley so they have more confidence heading to Vegas.
The start of the Pac-10 season (and the ASU series) is only three weeks away.
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