Five Questions with Jeff Goodman

We check back in with national college basketball writer Jeff Goodman to talk about Arizona's NCAA tournament run.

With Arizona advancing into the Sweet 16, we catch back up with national college basketball writer Jeff Goodman to get his thoughts on the Wildcats' win over Texas and Thursday's game against Duke. You probably weren't expecting to be doing another interview with me this season.

Jeff Goodman: I'm shocked that we're doing this one. So, what were your thoughts on the Texas game?

Jeff Goodman: The thing I was most surprised about, to be honest, was that Texas called the timeout up two with the ball. I know they had Tristan Thompson on the floor and they didn't want him to get the ball in his hands so Arizona could foul him but Arizona had to foul at that point, so get the ball in someone's hands, you hit two shots and the game is over.

The five second call was debatable and could have gone either way; I don't have a problem with it either way. You could have called it; you could have not called it. The majority of refs would have not called it; they would have waited for five and a half or six. In general, this has to be considered a completely improbable run when you think about what Arizona's expectations were at the beginning of the season.

Jeff Goodman: Are you kidding me? Amazing. I would have lost a lot of money if I were a betting man betting on that Arizona/Texas game. It's truly amazing. To me, the job Sean Miller has done is probably as good as anybody in the country.

You look at Notre Dame and Mike Brey did a good job this season, but you see that the Big East may not have been as powerful as everybody thought. Some other coaches have done really good jobs, but I think when you look at Arizona's roster, what Sean inherited, most of these guys are not his players.

Usually when you inherit a team that's not made up of your players, they're good players, sometimes really good players. He inherited Nic Wise, Jamelle Horne, Alex Jacobson, Kyle Fogg, Brendon Lavender, Garland Judkins and D.J. Shumpert. What are the odds against Duke?

Jeff Goodman: I guess there's always a chance when you have the combination of Derrick Williams and Sean Miller. I would never say never. And you know what, I just saw Duke, and they're not overpowering, especially with Kyrie Irving being far less than 100%. If Kyrie Irving looks like he did the other day, they could have a shot.

They've got to make Duke shoot threes like they do and hope that Duke's just not on. You've got to find a way to control Nolan Smith and those two things are easier said than done.

If Duke has a poor shooting night and Derrick Williams can make a big impact, like he should – I don't think they're going to have an answer for him – then they have a chance.

If I'm going with someone here, I'm going with Duke, but I thought Texas was going to beat Duke, so what does that say? Arizona beat Texas. I think Texas is as if not more talented than Duke today, so why can't they beat Duke if they beat Texas? Is there anything to be said for playing in Anaheim, with all the Arizona fans there and of course the San Diego State fans and others rooting against Duke?

Jeff Goodman: Absolutely. I absolutely think that the crowd helps in this situation. Duke, as we know, unless they're in a Charlotte or something like that, they have a lot of people rooting against them. I even think a lot of other Pac-10 fans will buy tickets and might root against Duke.

I don't know, it will be interesting, but it can't hurt. I've said it all year, Duke without Kyrie Irving isn't that powerful and Duke with a 75% Kyrie Irving, which is what I put him at right now, he can hurt them more than he helps them, to some extent. Do you think that the National Player of the Year and National Coach of the Year should be voted on maybe after the tournament, rather than before, due to situations like Derrick Williams and Sean Miller right now?

Jeff Goodman: I've always said that, but people have made the case to me that it's not done in any other sport. But I would love to see the postseason factored in. They have a Most Outstanding Player in the tournament, but those are two separate awards.

I would love to see the whole body of work and the postseason factored in to the National Player of the Year award. The biggest games of the year are in the postseason. It should mean something; it should mean more than a game back in November and December.

Look at Kemba Walker and what he did in the Big East Tournament. If you had a revote after the Big East Tournament, I'm not sure Kemba Walker doesn't win National Player of the Year if you voted right then.

If I'm doing first team All-American again and I'm deciding between Jordan Taylor and Derrick Williams, I would certainly have Derrick on that first team.

Wildcat Authority Top Stories