Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Tuesday at the Wilburs'

Okay, okay. I should have turned off the UNC game after Hot Sauce made a fadeaway jumper then a quick steal and layup put the Cats ahead 4-0 in the first minute. I would feel a lot better about myself and our team, that's for sure. As it was, it was all downhill in Chapel Hill as the Cats took a pounding on national TV. Guess we'll be keeping our low profile a little longer.

Cats in the tourney? -- at least one report has us lacing up our dancing shoes. Hope we don't pull a Master P in LA this week.

Cats stink it up behind the line -- Lute threatens to pull players out for taking the low average 3-point shot. I can see all the collapsing defenses now, just daring any Cat to shoot. Can we resist temptation?

Today's recruiting philosophy -- "Recruiting is like shaving. If you're not doing it every day, you'll end up looking like a bum." Meet the gridiron version of the Barbasol man.

No. 4 cornerback picks Cats -- let's hope he lives up to the hype. The kid sounds awesome.

Stoops piles it on -- notice how much press he's getting with this year's recruits? He's on target to have the #2 class in the PAC10 starting with Signing Day tomorrow.

Conan the Wildcat -- "To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women."

Now, it's off to LA and the Toejams - er - Trojans and bRuins. Tell them, tell the team to Bear Down.

Friday, January 27, 2006

UNC rates AZ as #2 toughest non-conference foe

Indiana ranks number one according to this article from Chapel Hill. Nice ink about the rivalry that's developed over the years between the two powerhouse teams, with the novelty of the "Miles Simon Rule" thrown in for good measure. That reads:

"... that any player who feels slighted during their recruitment by Carolina or wanted to attend Carolina will ultimately come back to haunt the Tar Heels in some fashion."

Good thing we've got Miles sitting on our bench again for this one.

Hat tip to Wilma for tracking this story down. Thanks.

Lute shows his pride

Actually, it's the pride of ex-Wildcats in the NBA that are showing a thing or two to the league. Things like sound fundamentals, good team players, and excellent citizenship. "You can't swing a bat in the NBA without hitting a Cat." Arizona trails only (shudder) Duke and Kentucky (11) for the most current players on rosters with 10 former Wildcats taking it to the next level. North Carolina, tomorrow's opponent, also weighs in with 10 former Tar Heels in the NBA. Look for more stars-in-the-making tomorrow as both teams seek respect. Selection Sunday is only 43 days away.

Kirk the Dominator -- Lute letting him play through his mistakes? Brilliant!

Clark Kellogg's take -- some more nice press for the game and the chance for an attention-getting road win.

Name dropping -- Michael Dickerson's little sister heating it up in Seattle.

Losing irks Tempe freshman - get used to it, Jeffie. It doesn't get any better than this. Take in a few more parties, dude.

Bear Down Arizona. Kick the Heels.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Down goes Tempe. Down goes Tempe

Got to watch the UA/Tempe game last night on the big screen at Rookies in Oceanside CA. The crowd was definitely pro-Wildcats. Well, okay, there were three of us UA fans and nobody for Sparky, no sound on the TV, but it was still a gas. I can't see how Tempe has gotten any better since "Coach" Evans got there, so here's hoping the Regents grant him a contract extension, too. And I was wondering whatever happened to Dave Libby. If he was taking night classes at ref's school he should ask for a tuition reimbursement.....the guy's terrible. He goes both ways - with his bad calls, that is.
Next up - defending NCAA champ UNC for the Wildcats. Evans will be hitting the recruiting trail - flat on his face, of course.

Things can only get better -- thus spake Lute.

Where have all the powers gone? -- UA, Kansas, Kentucky, and UNC not ranked at the same time? Beam me up, Scotty.

Football adds another top recruit -- but can he study? Also recruited by USC, Texas, and Oregon, Devin Ross looks like another real deal.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sweet Sweep

AZ Basketball seems to have righted its ship, at least for now, and hung in yesterday for a win over Cal at McKale. With four straight road games looming, including one against the NC Tarheels, their team chemistry beaker can't afford a leak or spill.

Cal gave all -- they were within a three-pointer in the closing seconds to send the Cats into yet another OT game. Not this time, though. Make that 12 straight losses at McKale for the Bolden Gears.

Unbeatens no more -- Yesterday saw the last 3 remaining unbeatens going down. Fans rushing the court was the norm of the day.

Thumbs up or down? -- the Chris Rodgers saga continues. Everyone's got an opinion, even Chris, but I gotta admit the Cats have picked it up since CR's dismissal last week. Must trust Lute....must trust Lute...must trust

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Team Chemistry 101

One thing we noticed in Thursday's OT win over Stanford was a sudden spike in team chemistry and energy. Long ago I gave up wondering what Lute was going to do with his teams to improve play and togetherness. He is a Hall of Famer after all. With the subtraction of two players and addition of one this week he just might have pulled it off for this season, too. Maybe the Cats NCAA-leading streak of 21 straight tourney appearances is safe for another year after all. Baby steps become big steps today when Cal comes to town.

Teamwork -- Subtract Rodgers and McClellan, add Onobun provides winning formula

Zona's Mystery Men -- Cal must prepare differently now that UA has new look

Cal needs Perfect Storm - from the SF Follicle (thanks, Michael Savage)

More Cat bashing -- let them pounce on us (in the press) while they have the chance

Glory Road -- Kentucky faithful take offense to Rupp's portrayal as a racist. Hey, it's only a movie, folks. Check out the footnotes for mention of Lute's planned contract extention.

Softball, baseball, swimming -- Annual Jim Click Alumni Baseball Game is tomorrow. Wilma and I will be there to check out the Batcats' new pad.

Bear Down Arizona. Turn Powe into a Biff today.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Rodgers gets new number - EIGHTY-SIX

13 proved to be an unlucky jersey number for Chris Rodgers, as he was swiftly booted from the team last night. The Wildcats' "best on-ball defender we've ever had at Arizona (Olson last week)" has already earned his degree and will now pursue a pro basketball career. You remember he flirted with leaving early last year, but was told by NBA minds that he needed some fine-tuning in his game. I guess he was trying to prove that he could over-penetrate, complain to the press, play inconsistently, and shoot with a hand in his face just as well as the next guy.
Best of luck, Chris. We could sure use your defense.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Cats looking like Homer's Doh!nuts

Not only did they put up a big O'fer the Oregon trail, they also have a noticeable hole in the middle where the center should be. Kirk, Isaiah, and Mohamed contributed another zero in the total points they scored. If rebounding was a muscle memory it'd have atrophied by now as those three also combined for 2 total rebounds. Talk about taking up space. Cal and Stanford present this week with a big advantage inside - it'll look like Andre the Giant with some jobber in there. Hope Lute's got a good game plan, and the players decide to work it. Some recent signees can give us something to look forward to.....can't they?
Arizona was in good company this week outside the Top 25, as both Kansas and Kentucky were also unranked. When was the last time that happened?

Let's see what else is going on in the Wildcat Nation:

Caitlin Lowe the go-to girl -- the softball team has some big holes to plug, too, with nine players gone from last year. Are we going to endure a rebuilding year in yet another sport?

Baseball, too? -- With Trevor Crowe, Jeff Van Houton, and Nic Hundley going pro, Bryan Kervin was the top returning hitter. WAS. He's off to TCU and the Horned Frogs. Ouch.

Stoops still scooping up talent -- plenty of help is on the way, as detailed here....and here....and here...how about the new asst. coach?...here...here...you get the idea. Now get your tickets.

Here's a flash -- there are still seats left ("a limited number") to this week's games against Cal and Stanford. What the heck is going on? It's okay to criticize the guys, but don't you think they're even more disappointed than we are? If you've got a ticket, get your butt in the seat and cheer them on. Be a fan.

Bear Down Arizona.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Ay Caramba

After digging themselves into a hole too deep to recover from against the Beavers on Thursday, the Wildcats are looking at wholesale changes in today's lineup against those pesky Ducks. J-Mac could be the answer. Or maybe not. Who knows with this year's team? The Cats are desperately in need of someone to play with more intelligence and less playground mentality, or dropping out of the Top 25 is the least of their worries.
Arizona basketball is not about up-and-down performances, poor decisions, sloppy defense, or a soft inside game. Even Loren Woods would be an improvement to our big-guy rotation. Let's get back to the pressure defense, deadly shooting, and the all-around intimidation that defines our teams.
Go Cats! Kick Ass!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Cats back on track

After losing to UCLA on Thursday, the Wildcats bounced back today with a win over USC. A strong second half effort, and a much-improved game by Shakur, spurred the team to an 11-point victory. Coupled with Cal's loss to OSU today, three teams are atop the PAC10 standings - Cal, UCLA, and AZ. Washington's hanging in there close, too, with a ame tonight against Wazzu. Nice to see "Staf" have a strong game after his sub-par performance against the bRuins. Still too close to call. And how about those bRuins? After knocking UA out with 62% shooting on Thursday, their 36% today was just enough to put Tempe away today. What the hell happened, UCLA?
The coaching line for Tempe starts at the right, guys. Check here for a thoughtful article on beleagured Rob Evans.

Stoops still recruiting -- no rest for Mikey if his plans for the football team are to be realized. Git 'R' Done.

News from the Diamond -- two Wildcat players named to Pre-season All-America team. The Cats as a team are unranked in the Top 25 after losing a buttload of players from last year's record-setting team.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Cats on a roll - not hot doggin' it

Arizona finds itself in familiar territory - back in the Top 25, on top of the PAC10, and back in their fans' good graces. With Lute's legacy of always putting a spirited competitive team on the floor, year after year, it just took a little longer than usual for this team to find its identity. Much of the credit goes to Lute himself, the "What? Me retire?" Hall of Famer who worked his magic again in last weekend's Washington trip. Hassan also stepped up his game and provided leadership and an enthusiasm that infected the team. It's too early yet to be euphoric (still 16 league games to go), but the feelings around town (and this humble household) are definitely more positive. It's going to be a wild ride, so hang on and buckle up.

Vote of confidence -- back in the national polls again, unity and a little Hot Sauce go a long way.

Speaking of Hot Sauce -- kudos to the senior forward after being named the PAC10 Player of the Week for the second week in a row. Washington can grouse all they want about a snub of Brandon Roy for last week's honor, but Channing Frey knows just how he feels. Looks like to be the MVP for the week your team has to win both games. Sounds fair. Oh, and way to go to Washington for beating hapless 4-8 Cornell last night. Nice schedule, dawgs. To BE the team you have to BEAT the team. Whooooo.

Bring on the bRuins -- I always think of Steve Allen when I hear UCLA. He did a skit on the Tonight Show when he was the host where people would give him the punchline and he'd make up the joke. When the word was UCLA, he asked, "What happens when the smog lifts?" Classic. Just like Thursday night's game should be.

Don't foul -- Lute explains why he didn't have his players foul at the end of regulation and OT #1 against UDubya Saturday. I know I was wondering why we watched the dawgs put up those 3-pointers. Guess that's why I'm not a coach. Doh.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Who Let the Cats Out?

Lute....Lute..Lute..Lute. Greg Hansen nails it.