How Sweet it is

Arizona advanced to the Sweet 16 on Sunday with a 71-57 win over Cleveland State.

Arizona advanced to the Sweet 16 on Sunday with a 71-57 win over Cleveland State.

The Wildcats were in control throughout and while many are surprised that the UA is in this position, Arizona definitely is not.

"We knew we could be here all along," Nic Wise said. "Coach Pennell, Coach Dewey, they were talking in their coaching staff meeting, and he told them that we would be in the Sweet 16, and that was five weeks ago. The locker room out there in the ASU game after our loss, I told my team I wanted to be in the National Championship game.

"That's the way we're playing. We know we can be here and we have the talent to do it. We're proving it now, and we're peaking at the right time."

The theme of Russ Pennell's thoughts is that he is simply happy to see his team be able to spend one more week together.

"First of all, I'm extremely proud of the guys and happy that the outcome of the game was in our favor," he said. "Making the Sweet 16, that's kind of a benchmark for teams, and you know, the thing I liked about our guys in the locker room, it was the same thing against Utah, they were happy. But I think they really enjoy playing together, and I was sitting up there thinking, just listening to them, the only thing that's negative about today is we're one day closer to the end of the season; that's it.

Although the team has been through a lot, Pennell says that this year has been fun.

"This has been a tight-knit bench," he said. "They've been a lot of fun to coach. They're fun to be around, and they genuinely have had a good time. And so for us to get another week of basketball, guaranteed at least one more game, that's a real blessing and we're looking forward to that. I think that's not why it's not an elaborate celebration on their part. I think they're grateful that we get a chance to practice and be around each other and play next weekend."

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