Not very often do sports fans, especially Arizona fans, get days like tomorrow. I mean you have March Madness, the New Year’s Day bowl games, and then not much else. The excitement starts at 11am and will go, with a slight lull in the middle, for twelve hours. In other words, Arizona will have a monopoly on ESPN across the nation. (Not a bad recruiting gig, huh?)
The opportunity to expand Arizona’s brand is enormous and the chance should not be wasted.
On the football side, the Wildcats (7-5) will show how they are growing under Coach Rich Rod, as well as show off an exciting offense to people across all 50 states. Football has never been Arizona’s main attraction, but nationally televised games can attract players who have the ability to level the playing field with those who play in the McKale Center.
The game also has the chance to give the players, fans, and coaches the momentum going into the off season. One can never underestimate the feeling of winning the last game of a season, especially one many said was a rebuilding year. A win over Nevada (7-5) would be the perfect ending on a season where UA beat ranked Oklahoma State and USC, while nearly beating Stanford, at Stanford, and holding Oregon to only 13 points at the half.
Each win Rich Rod gets brings him closer to his days at West Virginia where he built a powerhouse and farther away from the debacle at Michigan. Hopefully recruits take notice and start flocking to Tucson where it was in the 70′s for the first week-plus of December.
Book-ending the night is one of the best non conference, scratch it, best regular season games in the NCAA this year. Arizona, eighth overall and undefeated, will have their biggest challenge of this short season when they tip off against number five and also undefeated Florida. The Arizona of the 90′s and early 2000′s are back and the country is finally noticing. Just yesterday, USA Today had a major article on Arizona’s rise back to prominence.
This is UA’s chance to show the basketball world and more importantly prove to the players themselves, they have what it takes to be a national power once again. They may not need this win
to appeal to recruits like their football comrades, but a win could go a long way in convincing the best of the best to take their talents to the Sonoran Desert.
Plus, a win on Saturday gives Arizona a victory few teams will be able to match when comparing resumes in March. Due to the Pac-12′s inadequacy in basketball, at least in the present, the
wins from the conference will not boost their chances at a top three seed. This is the Wildcat’s one shot till March to make themselves feared, we can only hope they pounce at the chance.
Overall, Saturday will be a great day to sleep in, watch some early football and then head over to McKale for what we can only hope will be a competitive, and memorable basketball game. This is our shot to color the nation red, let’s not miss.