Cats Still Have Something to Prove

The Cats impressed this week, beating Cal and Stanford at home by a combined 39 points, this coming off one of the worst losses in recent years. In my book, however, they still have something to prove.

Against California, The Wildcats were coming off a loss to Washington State, who, as most people know by now, hadn't beaten the Cats in 19 years. The players held a team meeting, and knew they had something to show themselves and their fans coming out against California on Thursday. Consequently, they had no problem fending off the Golden Bears at home.

The next obstacle to come their way was Stanford, who entered the game with a 6-4 record in the Pac-10, tied for third with UCLA. The main source of motivation for this game, was the fact that the Cardinal handed Arizona its first loss in conference play. At the time, Stanford was 0-3. Again, the U of A came out gunning and took care of Stanford easily.

The real test will come next week, when Arizona visits UCLA and USC. For these next two games, the Cats will not have any major source of motivation. This has served to be a problem for this team. Just take a look at the two games they've lost so far in conference play. Against Stanford, they figured they could coast through, seeing that the Cardinal was winless at the time (Stanford reeled off 5 more in a row after beating Arizona). Against Washington State, they had just beaten the highly touted Washington Huskies, so once again, they assumed it would be a roll over. All it took was one player (Thomas Kelati) to catch fire, and the band played the "better luck next game" song before you knew it. In both cases, Arizona State had previously knocked off the team to eventually humiliate us.

Obviously, USC, being the current last place team in the conference will need to play almost flawlessly to pull off the upset. The team that has a more than valid chance to cost us the lead in the Pac is UCLA. The Bruins have a number of players who can beat us, and they've proven they can play with the big boys with a win over Washington earlier this year.

If the Wildcats get past this trip to Los Angeles unscathed, they have yet another tough week to get through, being the Oregon schools at home. Again, the Ducks and Beavers are nothing the conference should be proud to showcase, but they each have players who can rip us apart when we're not looking. The Cats simply play better in the big games. At least it bodes well for March.

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