The blueprint is out there to beat Arizona. Harass Jerryd Bayless. Beat he and Chase up and the team can't win. It doesn't work all the time. WSU harassed Bayless and shut him down in the first half but he rallied in the second half and downed a pretty good Coug team.
That win had me thinking good thoughts. I said earlier in a column that the team would get the bid at 9-9. I wanted 10-8. Unless this team stuns UCLA, 9-9 is the best they can hope for and for that you need to sweep at Oregon.
USC beat Arizona. They came out, took it to them and built up a 16-point lead. Zona showed some heart and fought back but never battled back. They never stole back the lead. They rarely made it a one possession game.
This is what they mean by arm's length.
O.J. Mayo was the best freshman on the court. If he wasn't, Davon Jefferson was. Bayless and Budinger struggled to outscore Fendi Onobun. That's right, Fendi Onobun. Onobun hit as many field goals as either Bayless or Budinger. That my friends is never a good sign.
But late in the game no one hit. McClellan went cold late. Hill couldn't consistently get the ball. Zane Johnson and Daniel Dillon did not want to shoot. Bayless and Budinger were not good enough to consistently shake two or three defenders and the Trojans pulled the win at McKale.
It wasn't the same physicality that Washington employed, but it was similar. Rough up JBay and the Cats have no choice.
Dominating the boards also helps. The Trojans outrebounded Arizona by 10, killing them on the offensive glass and there was no chance. Defense and rebounding, not a novel concept.
Arizona could not answer the USC defense and now they are back on the bubble. Can they go 8-10 and get in? Can they sweep the Oregon schools? Can they get some wins in the Pac-10 Tournament? Can they upset UCLA?
A loss to USC leads to all these questions. I still say they got to get two, but we will see.