If the two teams happen to match up again in March, will Florida be able to prevail again? I severely doubt it. Both the players and the coaches will learn from the experience. It's hard enough to beat a Lute Olson team once, but it is nearly impossible to beat them twice in one season…
Don't you just love this time of year? I know I do, seeing old friends from college, military, tech schools, or wherever they might be. Christmas is just around the corner, and let's hope that this year, The University of Arizona will not have their annual pre-Christmas debacle.
This year the schedule is in Arizona's favor. This year is one of the rare occasions that the Wildcats neither go on the road, nor do they face a highly ranked opponent. This season the Cats host a reasonably weak San Diego State ball club. I'd be very surprised if the Aztecs venture into McKale Center and pull off the win.
The Cats have a loss and Isaiah Fox is injured. People are starting to worry, but let's be real here. Arizona still has a Top-10 team according to the rankings, and I believe that you put them up against ANYONE in the nation, and Arizona will cause some major havoc. Olson and crew should supply a box of Kleenex to every fan in the Pac-10, because after the Cats come to their town, they'll need to wipe the tears from their eyes.
Without Fox talk immediately turns to Chris Dunn. Whether or not Dunn comes back, I think Arizona will be all right, not as good as if they had Fox, but they are still better than most teams out there. Here is how I see it shaping up.
Saint Louis - It is away, but still should not be too tough.
Texas - The toughest game without the big man Fox in the lineup, as they will want to bang like always. If Arizona wins this game, I do not know who will beat the Cats the rest of the season!
Marquette - I have only seen them play once, but it will be a pretty good match-up. With the thin lineup they have an advantage.
St. Mary's - Once again, should not be too tough.
SDSU - They were pretty decent last year in the beginning, but I do not know about this year? They lost way too much in the offseason.
The Fiesta Bowl Tourney-No one here who can compete.
Here is how I see the minutes distributed over the non-conference season:
10-Rodgers 20-Iggy 10-Hassan
20-Hassan 10-Iggy 10-Walters
The only player that really concerns me is Walters. Lute has said his conditioning is not where it needs to be, so playing 20 minutes could be a lot for him. However, it will probably improve his game a lot more rapidly. A trial of fire of sorts. Also, Muhlbach can spell the two and possibly the three spot. That would shift the other wings to the other spots, almost like a domino effect. One last thing, during these upcoming 8-10 games, they will definitely be getting their conditioning in. With all of the running they will do, Arizona could have the best-conditioned team in the NCAA's, and by the time of the Tournament, they could possibly have added both Dunn and Fox. That could be up to nine scholarship players, seven of whom will be warriors by March. I like their chances…
This year the football team received a very early Christmas present in the form of Mike Stoops. With his hiring, Wildcat fans will have tons of fun shutting down fellow Pac-10 teams in the coming years. This time though, it was not Santa Lute, whom we have all grown accustomed to, but The University of Oklahoma who sent us a gift for the holidays. Ironically it was the Sooners, the team who Arizona from the 1988, 1999 and 2002 NCAA Tournaments. I still cringe when I watch the 2002 game. Thank you Coach Stoops for choosing The University of Arizona!!!
[Zonaballa13 is a contributor on the Cat Tracks message boards. If you'd like to try your hand at writing send us an e-mail at email@example.com]
Discuss this story on the BASKETBALL MESSAGE BOARD