Valentines Day, Wildcat style

Okay, we all know that Valentines Day is a creation of the greeting card industry. It's a time to make guys shell out too much money for heart-shaped boxes of chocolate. It's a time to make single people feel bad about their status. It may be a contrived holiday, but it is also a holiday that celebrates love and I am going to tell you things you should love about the Wildcats.

Lute Olson: The Wildcats' Hall-Of-Fame coach has actually taken a little heat of late. Despite a rough January, this man IS Arizona basketball. He's the one who delivered Arizona into national prominence. He's the reason there are four Final Fours, all the league championships and the retired jerseys. If you love Arizona basketball, you love Lute Olson.

The Zona Zoo: Many of you are scratching your heads about this one. I've been critical of the lack of turnout for games not involving North Carolina or ASU. That being said, the students who do show up are GREAT! Loud, enthusiastic, fun. My personal favorite is the kid who paints fake abs on his chest, dons a wrestling mask and wears big, red foam ‘Hulk Hands'. He looks like a character from Mike Tyson's punchout.

Mike Candrea: The most successful coach in terms of championships. Admit it, would you like college softball if not for the success of the Wildcats? Great sport, great coach.

Andy Lopez: Don't look now, but the baseball team is good again. They are also very young. This one is going to be a fun season.

Marcus Williams: A guy many UA fans just have not embraced, but over the last two months he has been the Wildcats' best player. While the Cats had their losing slide, Williams wasn't the reason. Improved scorer, improved passer and he's hitting the glass. Enjoy him while you can.

Mike Stoops: Another guy taking some heat, this time for his comments on signing day. While he may have cause a small uproar, at least he was honest. Dick Tomey rarely said anything, while John Mackovic chose his words carefully in public. Stoops says what's on his mind, which can be refreshing in this day and age of generic soundbites.

Wibur: C'mon, admit it, seeing the Wildcat mascot just makes you happy.

Antoine Cason: The Wildcat corner is back and he's got some "unfinished business" to take care of. Anything less than a bowl game and some post season honors is not acceptable for the senior-to-be. He's also got a successor to groom.

Mohamed Tangara: If you've met him, you have a soft spot for the hard-luck big man. Honestly, one of the most polite, nice people I have ever dealt with in this business.

The Pac-10: What an entertaining conference. Six legitimate NCAA Tourney teams with Washington making a push. No road trip is easy. Heck, even the struggling Oregon State and Arizona State have given a lot of teams fits.

This weekend: USC and UCLA are coming to town. The Trojans are very good and the Bruins can be great when it is all clicking. It is a big weekend for the Cats as they can shoot right back up into the league race and make some recruiting waves by beating two of the hot programs in a three-day span.

1290 a.m.: Okay I am biased because I am an employee, but you have to love a station that gives you 3 ½ hours of basketball pregame and another 3 ½ hours of postgame coverage, as well as Brian Jeffries' play-by-play. Even better, the first 2 ½ hours of pregame and the last 2 ½ hours of postgame are streaming free on the web. Go to 1290amthesource.com for more info.

Chase Budinger: Sure, he struggled for a bit, but it looks like the fantastic freshman is rounding back into form. He was terrific against Oregon and has garnered not one, but two references from ESPN's pop culture guru Bill Simmons in the last week.

Duke: Okay, it's not the Wildcats but you got to at least a little happy about the recent misfortunes of the Blue Devils.


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