Dead: First-round loss to UCLA kills Arizona’s NCAA tournament streakby Scott Terrell on Mar. 12, 2010, under Sports
Where’s a Niq Wise senior day rewrite when you need one?
That certainly wasn’t what we had in mind. The Cats scored the first basket on Thursday then never led again. The game looked a lot like last week’s UCLA game for the first 27 minutes but there was no McKale crowd (and Kyle Fogg 3s) to turn things around.
Our young team gave us one last memory of inconsistency. How do you get out-rebounded and fail to get back on D every other possession?
Ben Howland had his guys in the perfect defensive position all afternoon. The Bruins knew exactly where Derrick Williams would try to go with the ball when faced with a double-team. They knew which lanes to step into when an Arizona player got caught in the air or trapped on the baseline. Of course, it would help if the Cats didn’t self-trap themselves but that’s a discussion for one of our many offseason days.
And so the moment we’ve been dreading is here. Selection Sunday will come and go without any selecting of the team from Tucson. Will you be able to watch?
Personally, I don’t know what I’m going to do on Sunday. Part of me wants to watch to get some closure and see what we hope Sean Miller is building toward. But I know it’s going to hurt.
The thing is, it’s completely understandable that we don’t know how to react. The last time an Arizona fan went through missing the tournament we weren’t “Arizona.” We were coming off a season with our third coach in three years. Back then “the streak” was the UA missing the tournament seven straight years. This is brand new for all of us.
But life goes on. And so might the games. The streak is over but the season may not be. Yes, an NIT bid is possible and, yes, I want it. I hope the Cats get invited, I hope they accept, and I hope the team plays well. The more games our freshmen play the better.
How funny would it be if ASU just stole our NIT bid when they also lost in the first round of the Pac-10 tournament? Even though I hope the Wildcats’ season continues sometimes you have to give credit where credit is due. ASU and the NIT belong together.
For one sad year, Arizona hopes to join them.
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The BatCats bounced back nicely from their rough week. Arizona punctuated its 2-1 series victory over top-25 Cal State Fullerton with a 10-1 victory last Sunday. Daniel Workman went six innings without giving up an earned run to secure his first win of the year and guarantee he’ll be in the starting rotation again this weekend.
Next was the age-old college baseball tradition of warm weather teams beating up on their chilly visitors from the north. This week’s victim was St. Joseph’s as the Cats swept the two games by a combined score of 29-5.
As a result our guys are sporting some gaudy offensive numbers. Arizona is hitting a cool .334 as a team highlighted by five players above .350. The highlights of the highlights are Steve Selsky at .446 with a .492 on-base percentage, and Jett Bandy with his video game .490 average, .559 OBP and .863 slugging percentage.
On deck are the Northern Colorado Bears who sit at 3-5 on the year. The UA looks to build another three games’ worth of momentum before top-25 Wichita State pays a midweek visit.
Game times for the UNC series are 4 p.m. on Friday, 1 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday. The WSU games are Tuesday and Wednesday, both at 6 p.m.
Perhaps on Sunday you can select some baseball and let the ping of leather meeting aluminum sooth your Wildcat soul.