If you had asked me prior to the start of conference play what the odds of Arizona losing three straight games would be, I'd tell you that the Earth would more likely spin off its axis before the Wildcats would experience such futility.
I'd like to give a quick shout out to my new brother-in-law. My wife and I were invited to dinner with him and my sister at their place Saturday night. When we arrived the UCLA/Arizona came was freeze framed on the television. They had missed the game earlier and were watching it on TiVo. So, lucky me, I got to re-watch the last eight minutes of our loss. I won't lie – the thought of stabbing my eye with a fork crossed my mind more than once while eating.
Sorry Michael Vick. My bad.
Two weeks ago I was looking so forward to Arizona's showdown with North Carolina. Now I find myself wondering which UA football games I'm going to roadie out to. The Oregon State game in Corvallis with a side trip to Pumpkin Ridge for 36 holes of golf is topping the early list.
Despite the recent setbacks, a few positive things have come out of Arizona's losing streak. One, Daniel Dillon is now logging about 18 minutes a game and is playing well enough to stay on the floor. He had a monster two-handed slam against the Trojans, has played extremely well on defense and has been a bit of a physical force going up against opponents' combo guards. Also, Arizona has become very adept at handling final minute situations. Granted, they've been losing but the team is learning how to foul, make their opponents hit free throws, and then attempt to score in quick sets on the offensive end. They've yet to overcome a large deficit but they've been close. If Alfred Aboya (a 54 percent free throw shooter) doesn't swish two free throws with 13 seconds left in the UCLA game, Arizona's going the other way with a chance to tie the game and erase what once was a 12-point deficit. What I'm saying is when Arizona does right the ship these are the little things that may help them win a tight one in the NCAA tournament.
I would like to thank all of the east coast bias coaches who finally found a way to squeeze USC into the top 25 after sweeping the Arizona schools, losing to UCLA by one at the buzzer and beating seventh ranked Oregon. Now, if you could just talk to your buddies in the AP poll who kept the Trojans off their list there might be hope for you yet.
While we're on the subject, I'd also like to know how last week you dropped Washington State from the rankings after they suffered a buzzer beating, overtime loss to a good Stanford team (who just beat USC by 15 last night) but then put them back in the polls after they rolled a very disappointing Washington squad. Very confusing.
Terrell Owens claims yet another victim with the departure of Bill Parcells. Parcells won't say it now because he does have some class, but expect him to share the horror stories of coaching Owens some years from now when he releases his tell-all book, "The Year I Battled Cancer."
The stat line of the college basketball season belongs to Stanford's Brook Lopez. Last night against the very athletic Trojans Lopez scored 18 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked 12 shots. All were career highs. For someone who moves with the same brut stiffness of Ivan Drago I find it amazing to see if get his hands on so many shots from so many angles.
Six degrees of separation: I dislike Kobe, Kobe dislikes Shaq, Shaq dislikes Phil Jackson, Jackson dislikes Red Aeurbach, Red dislikes the Lakers and the Lakers dislike the Celtics. Does this somehow mean that I dislike my beloved Celtics?
Speaking of Shaq, is anyone else bothered that he's been voted to start in the upcoming NBA All Star game. Heck, he shouldn't even be in the game for that matter. At this point, can't we just vote to disband All Star games altogether.
Am I the only one surprised that Al Unser Jr. side swiped another vehicle while driving intoxicated last night. I know he was drunk but he's a professional driver for Pete's sake. Are you trying to tell me that Minnesota Fats can't bank in the eight ball after a couple glasses of single-malt scotch. I'm not buying it. Then again, perhaps young Al thought he was on the race track. After all, the accident did occur at 11 AM, PST and like they say in the south, "rubbin's racin'."
I love Gilbert Arenas. Always have. His latest comments about how he would drop 84' or 85' points on the Duke Blue Devils and Coach K is priceless. I swear if he had not come out of school after his sophomore season Arizona would have won the national championship the following year. There is absolutely nothing you can say to convince me otherwise so don't bother.
Is anyone else concerned about Rex Grossman heading to Miami this weekend? I mean, this is the same quarterback who after this year's Thanksgiving Day nightmare game against the Packers where I think his QB rating was lower than the temperature in Chicago that day admitted that he had not prepared much because it was a meaningless game and besides, "it's Thanksgiving." If I were Lovie Smith, I'd chain Grossman to a chair in the team's film session room and tell the reporters that he has come down with the Monkey Virus or something and won't be available until 30 seconds before kickoff. If not, while Peyton Manning is working 24/7 on scheming and preparing for the Bears, Grossman might very well be doing the Cha Cha in a Miami underground rave until five in the morning – OR WORSE.
I made it a point to go back and re-watch most of the North Carolina/Wake Forest game on Wednesday. I counted four occasions when the Tar Heels had a 4-on-1 fast break against the Demon Deacons – and that was in the second half alone. Arizona better come to play from the jump tomorrow or else things could get messy quick in McKale.
I know what I said about Grossman above but if I had a gun to my head and had to choose the Super Bowl winner right now, I'd go with the Bears. I just can't see the Colts defense getting off the field against the Bears running game. Then again anytime you have a quarterback who is capable of going 0-20 for zero yards and three interceptions, it's really hard to bet your life on it.
Please tell me you saw at least the replay of the clock debacle at Cameron Indoor last night. Enough is enough. It's one thing to have that rare situation where something falls in your favor when it shouldn't have. For Colorado, it's the "Fifth Down." For Notre Dame, it's the "Spot" against USC. For USC it's the "Reggie Push" against Notre Dame. I can go on and on. For Duke, it's like "Every Game." If you missed it, Duke made a game winning shot against Clemson last night with one-tenth of a second on the clock. The controversy came five seconds prior. With five on the clock and Duke up by three, Duke's inbound pass from underneath Clemson's basket was stolen at the top of the key. The Clemson player caught the ball, gathered himself, shot a three and made it to tie the game. Great right! Wrong. Somehow, the refs determined that after all of that happened, only six-tenths of a second came off the clock giving Duke 4.4 seconds to dribble the length of the court and make the winning basket. I'm officially filing this mysterious "Six-tenths of Second Play" right beside the JFK "Magic Bullet" folder.
While we're on Duke here's a question: Why do they call their basketball arena Cameron Indoor? Is there an Outdoor? I'm not trying to be a smart aleck. I'm just asking. If anyone knows the answer, please let me know.
For a complete list of calls gone Duke's way in the Coach K Era, including the infamous Jason Williams lunging for a steal and rolling over Jason Gardner's back at half court in the NCAA Title Game when he already had three fouls AND NOT BEING WHISTLED FOR HIS FOURTH, I hear Encyclopedia Brittanica has a special edition in production.
Yahoo Sports dropped another media bombshell regarding the Reggie Bush saga this week. How is it that there's always a tape? That's the conspiracy of all conspiracies.
Five keys for Arizona to beat North Carolina tomorrow: Mustafa Shakur, Jawann McClellan, Ivan Radenovic, Marcus Williams, Chase Budinger. Seriously, Arizona must rebound well and not turn the ball over because North Carolina has the best fast break and early-offense in college basketball. The Wildcats cannot let this game become a wide open shootout. I'm not saying we don't have the horses because we do. All I'm saying is until Arizona regains its shooting touch from earlier in the season I don't think they can outscore North Carolina if the game is played in the 90s. I think a better score for the Wildcats would be in the mid 70s.
In fact, here's a winning score for you:
Arizona 76 UNC 73