Over the next few days I thought it would be fun to write about my favorite and my least favorite Arizona basketball and Arizona football memories. First up is “Nate’s Worst Arizona Men’s Basketball Memories.” One rule, I have to remember it. There a lot of games, like the 1988 Final Four game I just don't. I hope you like it and I hope it does not bring you to tears.
10. Arizona swept by ASU in the ’08 season Need I say anything more.
9. 1995 Arizona losses to Miami of Ohio in the first round of the tournament I don’t remember a lot about this game. I do remember watching this game in junior high school. One of the worst moments for an Arizona fan, just a year removed from the Final Four.
8. 1994 Final Four game loss to Arkansas President Bill Clinton was at this game. Anything worst then losing in front of the president? I was camping with my dad during this game, but I remember listening to Brian Jeffries call of the game. At least Arkansas won it all, right?
7. Arizona’s loss to Kansas in the 2003 elight eight Another year Arizona fans thought for sure they would be in the Final Four. I guess not. Kansas destroyed Arizona’s fun, just as Arizona had done to them in 1997. Jason Gardner had a chance to hit a last second shot that would have won it, but Kansas’s Kirk Hinrich blocked it. There went Arizona’s hope for a Final Four. And there almost went my beer mug at Maloney’s, across the room and at the TV. Lucky for me all the cops around the building stopped me. I just cried in my hot wings. Ugh.
6. Lute Olson leave of absence during the 2007-08 Lute Olson calls it off for a year for what he said was a person health issue. While he was gone Kevin O’Neil takes over and all hell breaks out. It wasn’t a great season, true. But what made it bad for me was hearing Wildcat fans pointing fingers and arguing about all kinds of things. Who undercut whom. The media wants to know too much, the media isn’t digging deep enough. It was bad and it was not fun at all.
5. Arizona losses to Stanford on buzzer beater in 2004 Stanford was undefeated, going into the game. Arizona looked like they would hand Stanford the first loss of the season. Then just when you were ready to breath out, Nick Robinson hit a 32-foot game winner. The fans, including golfer and graduate Tiger Woods stormed the court and Arizona fans had nothing else to do but be heart broken.
4. Arizona get blown out by Utah in 1998 elight eight Who didn’t think Arizona was the best team in the country that year? After going 18-1 in Pac-10 play Arizona was on their way to winning their second title in row. Remember the ‘Dos’ shirts? I wounder if I still have one? Anyway long story short, Utah put Arizona threw the ringer and it was over before it really started. I seem to remember throwing my shoe at the TV at one point. Arizona could have, should have won two in a row. But they didn’t. So it goes I guess.
3. Arizona blows big lead it Illinois in 2005 elight eight The game was in Chicago. All but a home game for the Illini. Yet halfway threw the second half Arizona fans were ready to by the Final Four tickets, shirts, hats and DVDs. Then it all feel apart. We can blame the refs for this one if we want to. But I’m not going to. I remember being, really, really pissed off. I don’t think I talked for hours. I just sat on the stair case outside my apartment with my head in my lap. That one still hurts.
2. The Death of Bobbi Olson in 2001 That wasn’t a game of course, but truly it was the saddest moment in men’s basketball history, for sure. Almost out of respect to Miss. O’ I couldn’t put this a the worst moment. I don’t think she would want that. But truth be told, Arizona basketball hasn’t been the same since then, mostly because Lute Olson has never been the same. She is missed very much by all of us in Wildcat land.
1. Arizona losses to Duke in the 2001 National Championship Game Just months after Olson lost his wife. This is a no brainier as far as I am concerned, who didn’t cry after this one? Who didn’t cry for the player and Olson, who really wanted this one. If the refs had it in for the Cats and loved the Blue Devils will always be debated. To be honest I think Arizona did have some bad breaks in that game, but hey you have to over come them. Anyone who has cheered for a team that lost a championship game knows how much it hurts. It make you wounder if you would have rather lost in the first round. I remember watching that game at the McKale Center and just having tear streaming down my face. Now that really, really, really suck. Just saying……
Now debate with yourself. But don’t worry, you’ll feel better when I put up my best Wildcat memories.