Emphatic 3-0 start historic run for Arizona Wildcats basketballby Javier Morales on Nov. 22, 2010, under Sports
Only three other teams in Arizona’s basketball history have outscored opponents more through a 3-0 start than this year’s Wildcats.
Arizona is 3-0 under second-year coach Sean Miller after defeating Idaho State 90-42, New Mexico State 83-57 and Northern Colorado 93-70. That’s a combined 97 points better than the three outmanned opponents.
In the modern era, the only teams to score more against the opposition in a 3-0 start are the 1997-98 and 2002-03 teams. Both of those teams beat their first three victims by a total of 107 points.
The 1997-98 team, fresh off the UA’s first national title with Mike Bibby and Miles Simon leading the way, defeated Morgan State 115-53 in the opener and then routed Boston College 99-69 and Kentucky 89-74 in the Maui Invitational. The 2002-03 team — led by seniors Jason Gardner, Luke Walton and Rick Anderson — began the season by beating Western Kentucky 107-68, Northern Arizona 101-66 and Saint Louis 91-58.
One other Wildcat team outscored more opponents in a 3-0 start — 113 points — but that happened in the 1917-18 season. J.F. “Pop” McKale‘s fourth team overwhelmed Bisbee YMCA 46-27, Tucson YMCA 54-8 and the 25th Infantry 63-15. The bottom fell out after that run as McKale’s club lost its last two games against Bisbee YMCA and El Paso YMCA to finish the season 3-2.
Miller’s current team can only build on its current success. The Wildcats’ 3-0 start with a 97-point margin of victory is impressive, especially considering the state of the program after Lute Olson‘s last full season in 2006-07. The bottom line, however, is a 3-0 start is simply that — a 3-0 start. The Wildcats have 28 regular-season games (and an entire Pac-10 schedule) remaining to make their overall statement.
“I don’t want to overreact because we’ve only played three games and the 30 practices probably mean more at this point than the games,” Miller told the media, in regards to his lineup, after beating Northern Colorado.
The next agenda is beating Bethune-Cookman at McKale Center Tuesday night to improve to 4-0 before heading to Las Vegas to play Santa Clara on Friday and Kansas on Saturday.
If the Wildcats beat the Wildcats (yes, Bethune-Cookman shares the same nickname) by at least 19 points, they would have the best margin of victory for an Arizona team to start 4-0 in the modern era. The 2002-03 team started 4-0 by outscoring the four opponents by 115 points (in the fourth game the team led by Gardner, Walton and Anderson beat San Diego State 89-81).
For the record, the current Wildcats are the 40th team in school history to start 3-0. They can become the 29th to begin a season 4-0 by beating Bethune-Cookman. No real reason to celebrate there. A 4-0 start is just that — a 4-0 start.