Monday, March 23, 2009

A Week of Raising Arizona

I was laughed at by some of my fellow Card fans when I told people to be careful of Siena, that they were a talented team. I really hate being right so much. Well now those fans are seeing what I saw and are sitting on slight pins and needles waiting on the Cards up coming battle in the sweet 16 with 12th seeded Arizona. I have a week to breakdown this 'Zona team, it feels weird to call Arizona a 12th seed, doesn't it? Anyway, there is no reason to "blow my load" about the Wildcats today but here are a few tidbit thoughts that popped right in my head....

- The first thing I thought of when I saw Arizona get the 12th seed was the 2002 Missouri Tigers. The Tigers that year were a very talented team that underachieved through the season, just barely slipping in as a 12 seed and most likely the last at-large team in. Sound familiar so far? The team was led by Kareem Rush, Clarence Gilbert, Athur Johnson, and Ricky Paulding. Rush, Gilbert, and Paulding giving them a loaded three guard rotation to go along with a blue coller type big man in Johnson. Missouri knocked off their first (#5 Miami (FL) ) round and second (#4 Ohio State) rounds with ease. Missouri would of course finally fall in the final 8 to Oklahoma (#2 seed). The big difference here of course for those of you that remember that tourney, the #1 seed in that bracket (Cincinnati) never made it to the sweet 16 to play Missouri, falling to the #8th seeded UCLA Bruins. Much like that Tigers team, this Wildcats team has Final Four like talent, despite their less then par performances throughout the regular season.

- Yes Arizona was in the a downward spiral like slump heading into the tournament. They had lost 5 out of 6 games, including being beat for the third time in the season by Arizona State in the first round of the Pac-10 tournament. Lets not forget though that right before that slump (which included losses to Washington, Cal, Arizona St., and Washington St.) they had won 7 in a row (wins included Washington, USC, UCLA, and Washington St.) and were one of the hottest teams in the country. This is a team that beaten Gonzaga (69-64) and Kansas (84-67) already this season.

- It's funny, this time last year I spent hours arguing with a friend of mine the fact that Arizona did not belong in last years tournament. That Arizona State was more deserving. Well I might have been right last year. 'Zona went into last years tourney with a very similar record as this season (18-13 last yr, 19-13 this yr) but last year they were one and done as a #10 seed, getting handled by West Virginia in the first round. The only deference between last year and this year (other then a year of experience added) is the loss of Jerryd Bayless. It's hard to think a team could move forward after losing a guy that put up 19 points and 4 assists a game but that's the great thing about College basketball apposed to the NBA. It's more about the "team" then the "I".

- One more thing, I know this was nothing to do with Arizona or Louisville but I can not wait to watch the Davidson / St Mary's NIT game on tonight. I know it's an NIT game and who really cares about the NIT? Well know one cares about the NIT but they and I do care about watching to great individual guards go head to head. I think Steph Curry is a wonderful college player and yes will have a good NBA career ahead of him. I don't think he is an impact pro though. I think he should stay all four years in school but he is projected as a lottery pick this season and I can't blame him for not passing on that. Curry will get maybe 10 years in the NBA but for most likely 6 teams. He is a pure shooter and there is always a team that will have a seat on their bench for a guy like that. I haven't had the chance to really watch his (Curry) counterpart tonight, Patrick Mills as much. I watched him in his "comeback" game against Gonzaga in their conference finals but it was obvious he was still suffering from his injury. He looked slow at times and was constantly have problems cutting on a dime. A far cry from the potential I and a lot of other people saw in him last year as a Freshman. This game tonight should if anything be entertaining. Of course what the hell else would you watch tonight....Heroes or Chuck on NBC? Those are reserved for even bigger losers then me.

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