The Arizona Wildcats basketball team did in fact go out Saturday afternoon and grab it all: The prestigious 14-4 league record, the perfect home season, the hot-shooting performance.
And the glorious outright conference championship.
The UA cleverly modified the pre-Oregon intro video to show Coach Sean Miller giving the updated Pac-10 title total. But why stop at 12?
The Wildcats have been winning a lot longer than that.
It’s understandable that the Pac-10 era gets the most attention. It’s a big deal that Arizona has won more conference hoops titles than anyone since the league expanded in 1978-’79 (UCLA is 2nd with 10).
It’s also impressive that the UA has now moved into a 3rd-place tie with Oregon State on the all-time Pac-10/Pacific Coast Conference list. Next up is Cal with 14 league titles. There’s a lot of pride in the fact the Cats have hit a dozen in just 33 years while the Bears’ first six came before the Great Depression and there was a 50-year gap between #13 and last year.
Brag about being great in your current conference. But don’t forget to brag about being great in your past conferences.
Don’t ignore the old days just because the games were against Arizona State Teachers College-Flagstaff and Texas Mines instead of UCLA and Stanford. The point is the UA has evolved as a university over the decades and achieved success on the basketball court every step of the way.
Twenty-five conference championships worth of success.
Here’s the complete list:
1932 – The Border Conference’s inaugural season
1946 – 1st of 6 straight, undefeated at home all 6 years (part of 81-game streak)
1951 – 1st NCAA tournament, 1st Sweet 16
1953 – Fred Enke’s 12th and final
1976 – Only WAC championship, 1st Elite Eight
1986 – 1st Pac-10 title, Lute Olson’s 1st
1988 – 1st Final Four
1991 – 4th straight, undefeated at home all 4 years (part of 71-game streak)
2005 – Lute Olson’s 11th and final
2011 – Sean Miller’s 1st
The 1960s were the only decade without a hoops title since the discovery of penicillin. And that’s why Bruce Larson is now doing TV.
Fred Snowden won the 1976 WAC title giving Arizona 13 championships from guys named Fred.
Another bit of unnecessary meekness from the video is the claim of “13 Sweet Sixteens.” Why no love for 1951? Just because there were only 16 teams in the tournament doesn’t mean it shouldn’t count. That which we call a Sixteen by any other starting size would smell as Sweet.
I’m glad Sean Miller and the Wildcats did the net-cutting and made a big deal out of winning the Pac-10 regular season title. It is a big deal and we can’t let it get old.
I love the “This is Arizona” videos. The UA should absolutely boast about its basketball accomplishments and celebrate its rich hoops history.
So why not celebrate all of it?
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