Arizona Basketball

For UA, the Madness has already started (good luck with that)

Where oh where do these Arizona Wildcats go from here?

It’s not like I haven’t asked that question a time or two this season given the mediocre results. But, at least it’s on to Vegas where it’s better to be lucky than good. And, well, right now Arizona isn’t that good.

Heck, insert your own description here (…).

You’ve seen enough of a sample size to know that, given the Wildcats’ 20-11 overall record and 11-11 mark in the last 22 games. In fact, 2020 has been unsightly as the team has sputtered to the end of the regular season. Reminder: Arizona has lost four of its last five games.

Zeke Nnaji going for two points vs. Washington. (Photo courtesy Arizona Athletics)

Wasn’t Saturday night’s game a microcosm of the season? No energy for most of it, they’d fight back and then fade away?

Will that continue in Vegas on Wednesday against the same Washington Huskies, a team that finished at the bottom – yes, bottom – of the Pac-12 Conference? By the way, Arizona lost 69-63 on Saturday. Need I remind you in a game that was hardly memorable.

Arizona hasn’t played inspired basketball since, um, since, um, I can’t even tell you. It hasn’t been in 2020, save for moment in each of the Oregon games and a 12-minute spurt vs. Washington State.

“The bucks stops and starts with me,” Arizona coach Sean Miller told reporters on Saturday night.

Can it start up again? Not if the trend continues. Arizona has been stuck in the muck since Jan. 9 in back-to-back losses to the Oregon schools. Heck, maybe even as far back as the holiday time when Miller declared the team would have more defined roles moving forward after starting the season 10-3.

It’s a been a bizarre winding road to this point. And might just get more bizarre as the most important games of the season – yes, the regular season is a dress rehearsal for the post season – loom.

Saturday’s performance, one where Miller said his team’s performance “was poor, we weren’t ready to play, we didn’t run as fast, jump as high (and) struggled to get back defensively … we struggled to catch the ball, we struggled to dribble the ball.”

What else is there? Oh, yes, shoot and defend – and Arizona lacked in those two key areas, too.

Such is the way for Arizona basketball these days. It’s a mixed bag of mediocrity that doesn’t look good. Who would have thought that just a few months ago when the new – and improved? – recruiting class made its debut.

It’s been C-R-A-Z-Y this season. Arizona has been passive all season and lethargic.

“This is a game that you have to play from start to finish,” Miller said. “You can’t be in that deer in a

 for 20 minutes and all of sudden expect to win it. You got to take wins in college basketball. You have to go get them.

“You have to understand in March kids, teams and coaches are playing with lots at stake. You have to have that competitive fire and spirit. A lot of times that doesn’t mean you’re going to win but a lot of times that’s what’s going to allow you to compete and be in the winner’s circle.”

How many times Arizona will be in that circle is anyone’s guess. It’s been that kind of season.

Vegas will be tough, even on Wednesday against Washington. The NCAA Tournament? Arizona is in, but you’d think that if Arizona had a switch to hit, it would have been flipped a month or two ago.

But on to Vegas where it’s better to be lucky than good. So, it fits Arizona’s wheelhouse perfectly.

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