Monday, March 3, 2008

Cats Roar No More?

Sunday’s loss to UCLA may have put a damper on Arizona’s tournament run. Unless the Wildcats can roar their way to the finish, picking up big wins in the Pac 10 conference tournament, their 24 year streak of consecutive NCAA tournament appearances will come to an end. It may have also ended any doubts over who is the dominant team in the Pac 10, a league owned by Arizona for many years. The Bruins have firmly planted themselves back on the throne.

The Wildcats are 17-12 overall, and their 7-9 conference record has them tied for sixth with Oregon. And though Oregon may need a miracle to get to the big dance, Arizona’s position is better, yet still slim. ‘Zona has the No. 1 Strength of schedule in the nation, playing Virginia, Texas A&M, Kansas, Illinois, and Memphis out of conference, and going 2-3 against that field. Couple that with the 6 games played against the Pac 10 powers of UCLA, Washington State, and Stanford, and the Cats submit a fairly good tournament resume. But a Pac 10 team with 9 wins in conference has never made the NCAA tournament field, and Arizona is sitting on 7. The last two regular season games, and at least a couple of conference tournament wins are a must, before throwing themselves at the mercy of the selection committee.


Cornell is the first school to punch a ticket to the Big Dance, as the Ivy League champion. Do you care? I think we need to shrink the tournament field. It’s grown to 65 teams, with one having a “play-in” game. That play-in game has meant nothing, except showing America the winner, and who will be routed by the No. 1 overall tournament seed in the following game.

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