Men's Hoops Conference Questions
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Category: Sports > Winter > Basketball (Men's)
How Seriously Can We Take Arizona After Its Terrible Weekend?
First, I called Arizona overrated. Then I called them undoubtedly the best team in the conference. Among my friends, I said the Wildcats were a dark horse Final Four contender. After a truly abominable set of games on the road against USC and UCLA, I just don't know what to think anymore. The Trojans held potential Player of the Year Derrick Williams to eight points. Then, UCLA annihilated the Wildcats at Pauley Pavilion, which allowed the Bruins to tie for first place in the conference.
The Wildcats still boast the type of depth that could carry them deep into the NCAA Tournament, but Saturday's uninspired effort was the ultimate red flag. The Cats have played well on the road for the majority of the season, but laid a tremendous egg in Westwood. Two home dates with the meddling Oregon schools won't exactly give them tournament quality competition, either.
Now, it's all about the Pac-10 Tournament for the Cats. With Washington's newfound struggles, Arizona needs to utilize the conference tourney to prove it can dance late into the night.
Was UCLA's Win Over Arizona Good For the Pac-10?
The Bruins didn't just defeat Arizona at Pauley Pavilion ... they absolutely mauled Sean Miller's Wildcats, who just a week ago were in the driver's seat to win the Pac-10. What does this say about the state of the conference?
On the face of it, the Pac-10's title frontrunner suffering a humbling 22-point defeat may bring back memories of last year's dismal finish - when no one in a middling conference seemed to want to capture the regular season crown.
This season looks different, however. Rather than serving as a setback, UCLA's victory should only highlight the conference's increased talent and depth since 2009-10. The Bruins, whose victories over BYU and St. John's just keep on getting more and more impressive, can now claim a third signature victory to all but wrap up an at-large bid.
Along with Arizona, the conference boasts a pair of virtual locks for the Big Dance; even a third NCAA team is possible if Washington finishes the regular season strong or wins the conference tournament (which it did last year).
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