Monday, March 31, 2008

Weekend Notes

Got a chance to check out the Arizona football in there first open scrimmage of the spring on Saturday morning. The Cats defence looked good, but the offence looked poor. Willie Tuitama under threw several pass, something you never want to see from a veteran, not even this time of year.

Following the game the offence was kept on the field for at least 30 minutes, running wind spring and being chew out by several coaches in front of both the fans and members of the media. I'm looking forward to seeing if this get them to "button up the hatches" so-to-speak over the last few days of spring ball. We should have more answers after the April 12th Spring Game.

A large chunk of seats have been removed from the west end of the stadium. I'm not sure what they are doing, but I'm wondering if they are putting in new seat all around the stadium? I also have heard rumors of new HD scoreboard-but so far as I could tell Saturday morning no work has been done on that yet.


A week after winning the Women's swimming National Championship the men did the same thing this weekend. Arizona scored 500 points 99 points. Congrats to Frank Bush and the rest of the swim team, both the men and the women.

Arizona baseball went 1-2 this weekend, beating UCLA on Sunday, after losing on Friday and Saturday. That ended a six game slide for the Cats who were once ranked number one in the country.

Meanwhile, Arizona softball went 2-1 on the road in the Bay Area. The Cats beat Stanford 4-1 on Friday, Lost to Cal 1-3 in Saturday and beat Cal on Sunday 5-2.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Arizona goes dancing

The Cats are going to the big dance for the 24th strait year. They will play West Virgina in the first round Thursday night at 640 Tucson time from Washington DC.

For those of who are big cat fans, Sunday night's selection show was like waiting to have a heart attack. The Cats, who are playing in the west bracket, were one of the last teams shown. That forced Arizona fans to wait almost 45 minutes into the 60 minute selection show until Arizona came on the board.

We also knew only one more Pac-10 team was getting in, was it going to be Arizona or Arizona State? I, for one, thought for sure that the Cats goose was cooked. I started texting friends looking for someone to calm me down. The rest of the ZonaDefenders I watched the show with told me it was going to be OK. I should have listened.

Well, the good news is Arizona is in. And Arizona State is out.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It's official: Lute's Back

From the University of Arizona Athletics Press Office:

TUCSON, Ariz. — University of Arizona Athletics Director Jim Livengood today confirmed that Lute Olson would return to his position as head coach of the Wildcats basketball team at the conclusion of the current season.

Olson has been away from the program since Nov. 4, and is returning to fulfill a contract with the University that runs through 2011.

“We are delighted that Lute will be rejoining the program,” Livengood said. “He is one of the true legends of collegiate coaching, and his return is something that I know will be embraced by everyone who cares about our basketball program.”

Olson said, “I am very eager to be back doing what I love, which is coaching this team. I appreciate everyone’s support during this period and want to thank Kevin O’Neill for the great job he’s done in my absence.”

Olson noted that his leave from the team was necessitated “by a medical condition that was not life-threatening, but serious enough to require time away from my coaching responsibilities.”

“I know there has been a lot of speculation about my situation,” Olson said. “I’m glad we can clear the air, but the most important thing right now is the team. All of our effort and attention should be on these student-athletes and their efforts to advance to the NCAA Tournament.”

Livengood said O’Neill, UA’s top assistant since May 1 and the interim coach in Olson’s absence, “has handled a very difficult situation with tremendous poise, and I can’t begin to say how appreciative we are of the job he has done.”

Olson has a career record of 780-280 (.736) in 34 seasons as a collegiate head coach and 589-187 (.759) in 24 years at Arizona. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2002, and became the 16th coach in basketball history (covering all levels) to tally 1,000 career victories on Dec. 11, 2004.

During his 24-year tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have won one national championship (1997), played in the national championship game (2001), participated in four Final Fours (1988, 1994, 1997, 2001), won 11 Pac-10 Conference titles, four Pac-10 Tournament crowns (1988, ‘89, ‘90, 2002) and been to the NCAA Tournament for 23 consecutive seasons, which is the longest active and second-longest streak in NCAA history (North Carolina, 27). He also led Iowa to the 1980 Final Four.

He has the most Pac-10 wins (327) of any coach in league history and the second-best conference winning percentage (.764/327-101) and second-most league championships won (11) in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only UCLA’s John Wooden (.810/304-74/16 titles). Olson has been named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year seven times (1986, ‘88, ‘89, ‘93, ‘94, ‘98, 2003), the Big Ten Coach of the Year twice (1979 & ‘81) and directed the UA program to the nation’s third-best winning percentage over the past 20 years (519-142/.785).

In his collegiate career, Olson has produced 52 NBA Draft picks, including 31 at Arizona. He’s led UA to 20 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 29 overall in his career, making him one of only three head coaches in NCAA history to record 29 or more 20-win seasons.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Several media out lets are reporting Lute Olson will announce his return next season some time today. Stay tunned.

A very short rant

Today seems like as good a day as any to go on very short rant about why we watch sports. The reason I’m doing this is simple. I’m sick of all the people writing negative things about Arizona Basketball.

Here’s the think. At least as I see it. Sports should be fun, so why should I get super stressed out about things. I know this season is not going the way everyone would have like it to, but we can not always have the things we want. Well at least that’s what my dad always talked about.

So why do we, or why do I, cry when my team losses a close game. It’s not so much about me as much as it’s about feeling bad about the why things went for my team. It’s not about not getting what I want as much as it is about my team working hard for a common goal and not getting it. Coming up short if you will.

So I try really hard not to talk ill about my teams and my coaches. What ever happens, happens. But it is for fun. If it’s not fun, why would I do it?

Friday, March 7, 2008

A Gameday Blog

Ever wanted to know what it’s like to watch a game with you’ll know with my game day log.

6:53pm It’s about ten minutes from tip. I have my dinner, drink and I’m ready to go.

6:55pm Waiting for the game to tip, I decide to flip around and see what’s on the other great channels. Let's see we have some Seinfeld on TBS, some NBA on TNT and some Monk on USA.

7:00pm Ugh, I heard those voices, I know it was going to be them. Dave Sitton and Bob Elliot. Those guys are nice people but as for basketball play-by-play guys, they’re just not good.

7:07pm Tip time. Arizona wins and it’s Nic Wise! He’s back and better then ever.

7:08pm Arizona is the first to score.

7:11pm 17:34 left in the first half. Arizona’s shooting is driving me nuts. If you saw me right now you’d see my face turning bright, bright red now.

7:18pm 14:14 left in first half. Too many whistles. I hate these Pac-10 officials. They drive me nuts.

7:29pm 10:15 left in the first half. Just texted Rob. “If you hear someone scream, just put it in the basket, that’s me!” You see Rob and I live in the same complex. But I’d have to yell pretty loud for him to hear me all the way over where he lives. But I could do it!

7:34pm 7:17 left in the first half. OK I feel much better then I did just five minutes ago. The Cats are on a 9-0 run. It’s now 23-12 Arizona up. I don’t have to toss myself out the window anymore!

7:44pm 3:25 left in the first half. I just heard a Oregon State fan “put in Lute Olson!” That’s good stuff. Arizona is on a 22-4 run. It’s now 31-16. I think O’Neil should put Olson. He would be able to school these guys.

7:48pm 1:59 left in the first half. Have I told you yet that there is maybe, maybe 2,00 fans at this game? I think more people live in this complex then are at this game.

7:51pm Halftime. This is what I like. Arizona is up 40-18.

7:54pm Still halftime. I just turned on the Rockets Mavs NBA game. How are the Rockets doing this. They just can not loss. But without Yao I still think the Rockets are like a pile of dishes that keeps growing and growing. One of these days all the dish are going to come crashing down.

8:08pm Second half just started

8:14pm 17:03 left in game. Did I just hear Dave Sitton say let's hope Oregon State wins the PAC-10 tourney? If he did he’s dead wrong. That would be really, really bad news for Arizona. Same goes for if Oregon, Cal, and Washington. If any of those schools win, Arizona is in big trouble.

8:23pm 14:33 left in the game. Man Oregon State really sucks. It’s now 58-26. Maybe as I guessed earlier 70 will be the number Arizona scores.

8:31pm 9:26 left. The game is over. Why? Why? Why? Won’t Kevin O’Neil play Kurt Walters. I don’t get it.

8:37pm 7:23 left.. Arizona has 73. They out scored what I thought they would. But that’s not a bad thing.

8:41pm 6:35 left. OK The Arizona bench is out now. 72-34

8:43pm 5:34 left Finally Kurt Walters is in. It’s about time.

8:56pm The game is over. Arizona won 81-45. This should do it and put Arizona in the tourney.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Game Day log

Today's Game:
Arizona (17-12, 7-9) at Oregon State (6-22, 0-16)
7pm, Fox Sports Arizona, 1290am and 107.5

The Good: Arizona should be able to win this game, even with half effort. A win tonight could/should put Arizona in post season.

The Bad: The Beavs are gasping for air, they don’t want to be the first team to run the PAC-10 the table in reverse. They only have two more chances to avoid that.

The X-Factor: How many fans are going to be at this game? I don’t have the numbers, but from the handful of Beaver games I’ve seen they don’t draw a lot of fans. How Arizona will react to this is anyone guess. It should be the smallest number of people Arizona has played in front of all year. In the past we have seen Arizona teams have a hard time playing in a poor atmosphere.

Key Players
Arizona: Chase Budinger. Someone needs to backup Bayless. We’ve seen Arizona loss games when Bayless scores 30 plus points. But if Budinger puts in 20 or so Arizona should be in good shape.
Oregon State: Seth Tarver. The 6-5 sophomore guard, not unlike Budinger is one of only two players on the Beavers who scores. Look for him to have a big game……if he can.

The Crystal Ball
Arizona knows whats on the line. They are just better and the better team almost always wins. Tonight they will.
Arizona 70 Oregon State 58

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Favre era ends in Green Bay

I wanted to take a break today from Wildcat news and wish Brett Favre the best in his retirement. He called it quites today after 17 years with the Green Bay Packers. I, for one am not a Packer fan but I did love seeing him play. I’ll have to admit I was rooting for during the playoffs this past season. Without him, Sundays just aren’t going to be the same anymore. Good look Brett, hope to see on TV talking football this up coming season.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Blame someone if you want, but don't blame Kirk

OK let’s get this out of the way right now. Yesterday afternoon’s game was a heart breaker. No doubt. In case you missed it, Arizona lost to number four UCLA 68-66. Arizona had a chance to hit a winning shot in the last seconds, but rather then take a wide open shot Kirk Walters dished the ball to a triple teamed Jerryd Bayless. Bayless was unable to get a clean look.
That being said one person I don’t blame at all is Kirk Walters. Walters has taken heat over the past few years in part because he has yet to recover from a major case of mono (among other things) that caused him to miss most of the season last year. He has taken a lot of heat on the talk shows, from the message boards and just from friends at bars.
Look, he’s not that good. I’ll give you that. But he’d school me and he’d most likely school you too. But for a few reason he has not gotten any better over the years. In my mind there really is two reasons why this is the case.
Reason one: playing time. How, how, I ask you can he get his feet back under him if he’s not getting any time on the floor. Think about your job. Would you be able to get any better at your job if you only did it one hour a week? Why Kevin O’Neil won’t play him more I don’t understand.
I know people are going to tell me that he needs to be good to get playing time. I get that I really do. I think he could have been better then he turned out if he had gotten more time during the soft part of the season.
Reason two: he’s afraid. He’s taken so much heat from so many people that now he’s afraid. I’ve heard that the play in question was a planned shot for Bayless, but Walters was wide up. Really wide up. Yet, he was’t going to shoot. He wasn’t going to take the heat again. He didn't want to be the goat anymore. And sadly he ended up being the goat anyway.
So should basketball players be so soft? Should anyone be so soft that what mostly nameless, faceless people say about him effects his play? No, I guess not. But don’t forget these guys are kids. I remember when I was 21. I would let people in my head all the time. There was nothing worse then being yelled at by my boss. But what was worse was when my peers said something bad. That would get in my head every time. I know that a lot of people that are my friends now, I wanted to fight at times, based just on a few words, when I was 21.
So what can we learn from the Walters era (Sunday was his last home game with Arizona, unless the play some NIT home games-well get into that later). Why do we feel the need to get on the radio or onto the message boards and blog sites and say bad things about a kid who is playing mostly for the love the game. Let’s tone it down, just a little. Show a little love for our guys. For our team. Our family.

Tune in tomorrow for as the Wildcat world turns.