Wildcat fans: the time has come. The Arizona crew gets to stay home but they also get to keep playing ball. After you swallow the bitter pill of the Cats not making that “other” tournament, get excited. Sean Miller’s crew will search for a small piece of redemption. I don’t want to sound over-confident but Arizona must at least take care of their business at home. It won’t be easy, but I believe that the Wildcats, along with their other Pac-12 brethren, are the class of this NIT.
Stanford, Oregon and Washington all won their first round games pretty handily. No disrespect to the other conferences represented, but let’s all hope that the Pac-12 teams represent well. Don’t look now but this bracket sets up well for the Wildcats, and the other Pac teams for that matter.
If all goes according to Wildcats fans plans, Arizona will play Stanford in the round of eight. Then a win could get them a rematch with Mississippi State in the last four in none other than…Madison Square Garden. The Wildcats remember all too well the heartbreaker to the Bulldogs earlier in the season, in that same building. Sweet revenge it would be if a victory there could put the Cats up against the Washington Huskies for the NIT Title. It may not be the championship we were all hoping for, but I would argue that it’s the next best thing to a serious run in the NCAA Tournament, especially for Wildcat Seniors (Jesse Perry, Kyle Fogg, Brandon Lavender).
And, like the great Jimi once said, if the wind cries Perry, Fogg and Lavender, the Wildcats could end this less-than-stellar season with a revenge tour that ends in the Big Apple. Ok, maybe that’s not how the song goes, but here’s to hoping the Wildcats can end the season on a great run in the only tournament which they were invited to!