Monday, February 18, 2008
The AZ Wildcat Basketball Team - Making kids drink since 2001!
I went to Arizona, and the Wildcats are the only true team I follow. My heart lifts and sinks with each made or missed jumper, each failed defensive assignment or each successful alley oop.
2008 might be the hardest year to be a Wildcat fan, not just with all the Lute Olson stuff (time has come in my opinion), but the hope you have with some kids and the lack of talent with others.
As a fan of this team, you continually ask yourself things like "How can we NOT have one good big guy with a decent basketball IQ" or "when was the last time we ran a successful final play that showed even decent execution."
No matter, the loss to Stanford was pretty indicative of the season - Cats play a team with a better record but inferior perimeter players, losing the internal and bench battle and struggling to come back from the hole they dug.
This team, assuming they win two games, will make the tournament, leaning entirely on their strength of schedule and their RPI, landing in their all-too-familiar eighth or ninth spot and probably not making it out of the first round.
A once impressive program is becoming more known for letting talent go than bringing it in. Darrell Arthur is a machine at Kansas after deciding last minute to U-turn away from Tucson. Jesus Verdajo was a scorer who enjoyed shooting a lot, something Olson isn't a huge fan of, benching the guard who eventually jumped ship for USF, hitting a HUGE three against UCONN this weekend in their near upset. The last, J.P. Prince, came to Arizona with Marcus Williams as a point guard with size and vision, only needed to perfect a jump shot that had a better shot of breaking the front end of the rim than swishing a net. Prince is now at Tennessee, playing respectable and productively, something the Wildcats could REALLY use right now.
Now, our lineup has guys like Daniel Dillon and Mohamed Tangara, players that would start on the all one-dimensional team. Freshman Jerryd Bayless and sophomore Chase Budinger are counting the days until the NBA draft workouts start, when the team will be left without their only scoring options and a flock of freshman that can either blow up or deflate. The saddest part - the balloon doesn't have that much helium left in it.