Put a fork in ‘em they’re done!! This is the saying that I have been reading practically everywhere I look, after the Arizona Wildcats were swept in Los Angeles last week. I think it is a big mistake to write this team off, and will not. There is a LOT of life left in this team and we will hopefully be seeing it soon.
I will be the first to admit that the Wildcats have not looked good recently, but the college basketball season is a long process that will weed out the teams with the least amount of talent. That is the key to the Wildcats still having a chance to win in March…..TALENT!! Everyone needs to remember that the Wildcats have one of the most versatile players in the nation(Solomon Hill), one of the best on ball defenders in the country(Nick Johnson), and one of the most clutch players in the nation(Mark Lyons). Make no mistake about it, these 3 players understand college basketball and will make these Wildcats a very hard out in the NCAA tournament.
When I state that the Wildcats have a lot of talent, it only begins with Hill, Johnson, and Lyons. My bet would be that none of the 3 listed above will make the NBA, but with the way that the NCAA has changed you can be a way above average team with only one good NBA player. The Wildcats proved this theory alongside eventual champion Uconn 2 seasons ago. Derrick Williams and Kemba Walker were the 2 best players in the Nation and they each carried there teams into a great Elite 8 game, where the Huskies won by a very close margin. Not only do the Wildcats have 1 player that could make the NBA, they have 2 possibilities. Both Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski have the overall ability to not only make the NBA but also have long careers there. The issue is that both of these players are Freshmen and they have not shown the ability to dominate college basketball. But sometimes it just starts clicking for players. I highly doubt that Tarczewski will average 15 points and 10 rebounds in the tournament, while Ashley averages 16 points and 8 rebounds, but anyone could easily see one of them do it one game and then the other the next game. These types of games will come with time and who says that it couldn’t happen in the NCAA tournament.
Talent eventually takes over in the NCAA tournament, and while there are a handful of teams that are equally or more talented than this Arizona team you will only be able to count them on both your hands. Remember, this team was ranked around # 10 in the preseason rankings, those rankings are developed on pure talent. For the Arizona Wildcats to have a very successful season the team would have to put together a string of 3 straight wins versus quality opponents. This team has completed that feet a couple of times this season. If the Wildcats put together 4 straight wins, that would get them to the Final Four. Does anyone really think that this team doesn’t have a chance to win 4 games in a row, after all they won 14 in a row to start the year.