We may not have a reason to dance this year. Wildcat fans, I have 3 letters for you. N.I.T.
N. I. T. stands for the Not Invited Tournament. Today the Arizona Wildcats secured their place in the N.I.T. The only way the Wildcats get into the NCAA Tournament this year is to win the entire Pac-12 Tournament. The Wildcats lost but didn’t lay the proverbial egg today in Tempe.
Arizona lost a tough one in Tempe today to the in-state rivals. This was a dangerous game because the Sun Devils had nothing to lose and the Wildcats had everything to lose. Today it was a true team effort by the Wildcats but it wasn’t enough. The big three as they can be affectionately called (Jesse Perry, Kyle Fogg, and Solomon Hill) showed up in a crucial game. The Cats chose a bad time to let an unknown freshman (Jonathan Gilling) have the game of his life, scoring 21 points. Trent Lockett and Carrick Felix also pitched in with 21 points each.
With the loss the Wildcats need to focus and try to win three games in the Pac-12 Tournament. The Arizona crew needs to do something they haven’t done all year, win consecutively on the road. More than likely, the Cats will face a UCLA Bruins team with something to prove, for the third time this season. It’s been a tough week for UCLA with the Sports Illustrated article and controversy surrounding the program. Facing the Bruins is the reward for an Arizona team that won a bunch of games down the stretch but lost two crucial matchups (Washington, ASU) when it mattered the most.
The third year of the Sean Miller era can be classified as a mixed review. On one hand, the Wildcats over-achieved with three freshmen getting significant minutes, the last of the Lute Olson recruits, and a program trying to remain solid in what could be considered a rebuilding year. If all else fails the Wildcats can look forward to one of the best recruiting classes in the country coming in next year. As much as we may not want to admit it Wildcat fans, we may need to look forward to next year for Arizona Basketball.