- Cats Sink Sun Devils: The Arizona Wildcats wrapped up their regular season schedule with a dominating win over in-state rival Arizona State on Saturday. The Wildcats started
strong and never let up the gas, defeating the Sun Devils 73-58. The Wildcats finally played 40 full minutes of hard-nosed defense led by the play of sophomore Nick Johnson who did an excellent job guarding one of the best players in the conference, Jahii Carson. Johnson played with the fire and passion that Arizona will need him to play with if they hope to have success in the NCAA Tournament. He finished with 17 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 0 turnovers and my Stamp of Approval. “Nick was the best player on the team today, possibly the best player out there. He knows that. He played like he has with us this season, if he’s not energized it’s not the same team,” said coach Sean Miller after the win.
- Pac-12 Honors: On Monday afternoon, Soloman Hill and Mark Lyons were selected as first-team all-conference picks, while Nick Johnson was an honorable mention all-defensive selection and Kaleb Tarczewski was an honorable mention all-freshman honoree. Cal’s Allen Crabbe was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year. My vote for Player of the Year would have gone to UCLA point guard Larry Drew II. His team won the Pac-12 regular season championship and he led the Pac-12 with 7.71 assists per game and a 3.3 assist-to-turnover ratio. This guy is an unbelievable talent. The way he facilitates and controls the court is brilliant. He is completely unselfish and makes everyone around him a better player. As great as Shabazz Muhammad is, I strongly believe that Drew is the reason the Bruins won the season title. Other Pac-12 Awards: Coach of the Year: Oregon’s Dana Altman. Most Improved: Stanford’s Dwight Powell. Freshman of the Year: UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad and Arizona State’s Jahii Carson shared the honor.
- Solomon Shines: My Arizona Wildcats Regular Season Stamp of Approval goes to senior Soloman Hill. Hill was the leader of this team. He led the team in minutes played and was second in scoring at 13.6 points per game. The team was better when Hill was on the court and the main reason he gets this award over others like, Mark Lyons or Nick Johnson, is because of consistency. Hill’s consistent play and level head was critical for this team’s success.
- ESPN Bracketology: ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s current Bracketology lists Arizona as a No. 5 seed playing in Salt Lake City against No. 12 Bucknell. Lunardi has Arizona getting the highest seed of the Pac-12 teams (UCLA – 6 seed, Cal – 9 seed, Oregon – 9 seed and Colorado – 10 seed).
- My Pac-12 Tourney Predictions: First Round – ASU defeats Stanford, Colorado d. Oregon St, Utah d. USC, Washington d. Wash St. Quarterfinals – UCLA d. ASU, Arizona d. Colorado, Cal d. Utah, Washington d. Oregon. Semis – UCLA d. Arizona, Cal d. Washington. CHAMPIONSHIP – UCLA DEFEATS CAL.