Sean Miller vs. Belmont

Things could get a Thad heated in L.A.
Photo by Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

What was the best part of Arizona Basketball’s great week? Was it the two convincing wins leading to the school’s 16th Sweet 16? Was it the national exposure that comes with tournament victories, or the oh-by-the-way extra revenue?

Or maybe – just maybe – was it earning another week of TWit-Pac hoops?

Read on for the March Madness TV schedule (all times Arizona/Pacific) and – uh oh – Pac-12 baseball.

Date     Time TV
Thu Mar 28 #2 Ohio St. #6 ARIZONA 4:47 PM TBS
Fri Mar 29 #1 Louisville #12 Oregon 4:15 PM CBS

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WEST

#2 Ohio State (28-7) vs. #6 ARIZONA (27-7)
Thad Matta is in his fourth straight Sweet 16 at Ohio State. He’s trying to advance to his second consecutive Final Four and third in seven years. Not a bad guy for Sean Miller to emulate.

If they win they play…
#9 Wichita State / #13 La Salle winner. La Salle could become the first 13-seed to ever make the Elite Eight and no one’s talking about them because of that team from Fort Myers. It’s all about marketing, Explorers.

MIDWEST

#1 Louisville (31-5) vs. #12 Oregon (28-8)
In Oregon’s last seven games the Ducks are 5-0 when they hold their opponent to fewer than 70 points and 0-2 when they don’t. That’s bad news against a team averaging 76 points in its last six games. Bonus note: Louisville hasn’t lost in fewer than five overtimes since January.

If they win they play…
#2 Duke / #3 Michigan State winner. If the Ducks somehow pull this off they should get to hang two Final Four banners.

* * *

It isn’t four straight years like Matta but Sean Miller is starting to make a habit of reaching the Sweet 16. Going back to his Xavier days Miller has made it to the second weekend the last four times he’s coached in this tournament. Lasting into weekend number three is still an unreached goal.

If you’re an Arizona fan do not apologize for beating two double-digit seeds to get here. Never ever talk about being lucky. San Diego State got a break in playing a 15-seed in the round of 32. How’d that work out for them?

Do North Carolina fans feel better because they played two name teams in Villanova and Kansas? No, they feel eliminated.

Sometimes upsets happen in front of you. And sometimes you’re Oklahoma State and St. Louis and you think you’re getting a regular 12-seed but instead you’re getting a top-25 BCS cash machine that won its major-conference tournament. You play the hand you’re dealt and you stack your chips every time you win.

Now the Cats are at the high-roller table.

Ohio State is undefeated in March, having won 10 straight dating back to Feb. 20. The Wildcats, on the other hand, still haven’t beaten a ranked team this calendar year.

As well as Mark Lyons played last week you wish the next round would’ve started on Monday. The UA guard shot a dominant 63% from the field, his best two-game stretch the entire season. Solomon Hill filled it up at a 58% clip so the two Arizona closers certainly earned their coffee in Salt Lake City.

Sometimes it’s that simple. You can talk about matchups and schemes but I think the Cats need someone to make three or four 3-pointers to open things up a little. Iowa State had Korie Lucious (5-of-7) and Tyrus McGee (3-of-5) on from the outside and the Cyclones took OSU to the wire.

If Miller wants to get to his third career Elite Eight he needs to keep Matta from getting to his fourth.

* * *

Did the BasketCats take all the athletic department’s magic dust when the tournament started? The second week of the Pac-12 season didn’t go any better for the UA baseball team than the first.

Here are the updated polls:

BA CB NC PG USA Avg
OSU 2 2 3 5 3 3.0
UCLA 7 8 6 4 7 6.4
Oregon 12 10 8 11 9 10.0
Stanford 23 24 25.0
ASU 24 25.6

BA = Baseball America
CB = Collegiate Baseball
NC = National Collegiate Baseball Writers
PG = Perfect Game
USA = USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll

How tough has it been for the teams from the Grand Canyon State? The Sun Devils had a freshman pitcher throw a no-hitter at Oregon State and they still lost the series.

On to this week’s games. All the series are Thursday through Saturday due to Easter.

Utah (12-10 / 2-4) at ARIZONA (15-11 / 0-6)
Game times at Hi Corbett Field: Thursday and Friday at 6, Saturday at noon.

UCLA (17-4 / 5-1) at ASU (13-7 / 2-4)

Washington (6-16 / 2-4) at Oregon (19-6 / 5-1)

Stanford (11-8 / 1-2) at WSU (15-8 / 2-1)

USC (9-15 / 2-4) at Cal (15-10 / 2-4)

OSU (21-2 / 5-1) at San Diego (16-9)

You knew there would be a learning curve for the young Wildcats after losing so much experience from last year but no one expected the worst Pac-12 start in program history. The previous bottom was an 0-5 start to conference play in 1994.

But it’s not like the Cats are getting blown out, even against two of the three top-10 teams in the Pac-12. Half of the six losses have been by one run. A couple more two-out hits here or a few more big pitches with men on base there and things look a lot of different.

The problem is if you dig too big a hole you run out of time to come back even if you put the right pieces together. Getting into the NCAA tournament is dicey if you end up with a losing conference record and Arizona now needs to go 15-9 the rest of the way to break even.

The UA doesn’t play the third top-10 team in the league (UCLA) until the second week in May so if this thing’s going to get turned around it has to start this week at home.

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Scott Terrell wouldn’t mind another week of multiple sports. Double up on Twitter and Facebook.