It was “UofA Day” on ESPN Monday morning. Considering the Wildcats were not invited to the postseason, the Cats were getting a lot of run on radio, TV and print.
It started on the radio’s top of the hour SportsCenter. After a discussion of the top seeds in the NCAA Tournament the segment ended with the stat that the last time Arizona, North Carolina and UCLA all missed the NCAA Tournament was 1966.
Later in the day the Cats made frequent appearances on Sports Nation, though not all of them were good. While the main theme of the show was the best NCAA Tournament buzzer beaters, the program did several lists before and after commercial breaks.
The Cats were featured in the “Cheers”, “Jeers” and “Tears” portions of the show, each with its own theme.
The “Cheers” portion did not have Wildcat fans cheering at all. The theme was biggest tourney upsets, and the Santa Clara upset of the Wildcats checked in at No. 4.
The “Jeers” portion also did not go the Cats’ way. Here Michael Wright’s stepping over the endline on an in-bounds play in the 1999 NCAA Tournament made the list at No. 3. Of course Georgetown’s Freddie Brown passing the ball to North Carolina’s James Worthy was No. 2 and the Chris Webber timeout call against UNC was No. 1.
However, the “Tears” portion was a game and result that Wildcat fans would enjoy. The “Tears” was for Gonzaga and Blake Stepp’s missed shot in the second overtime of the classic 2003 game.
The Wildcat attention carried over the newest copy of ESPN the Magazine. Although it came in the mail the other day, I just opened mine up on Monday night.
On page 30 Sean Miller’s wife Amy was the subject of “6 Things You Should Know” feature. This time, obviously, the subject was 6 Things You Should Know About Being The Wife Of A D1 Coach.
In the feature Miller admits she does not travel to many of the away games Miller asks for her insights on the parents of the recruits who visit the house.
Later in the issue former Wildcat signee Brandon Jennings was the subject of the “My Life As A Movie” feature. The ever-humble Jennings named the fictional character based on his life “Nick Legend”.
The final page of the magazine saw columnist Rick Reilly write a very unflattering piece on Yates High School coach Greg Wise, the father of Nic Wise. According to Reilly, Wise’s teams have beaten opponents by 135, 115 and 99 – twice. It is a damning portrayal of a coach who has buried his opponent’s all season long.
The final mention of Arizona came on ESPNU’s exhaustive NCAA Tournament coverage. One of the show’s hosts was former Duke guard Jason Williams. Williams was reflecting on the 2001 national title the Blue Devils won. While he gave great praise to the Wildcat team Duke beat in the national championship game, he spent the segment talking about how it was a dream come true. Of course, he failed to mention the referees swallowing their whistles late in the first half when he was still playing with three fouls and was using Jason Gardner as a hammock.
So the Cats tournament streak may be gone, but apparently they are not forgotten.