The Arizona Wildcats got swept this weekend in Los Angeles, losing three days in a row to a more talented UCLA Bruin team. Arizona has lost five of its last six Pac 12 games, and with only two series left against Arizona State and USC, their hopes for a repeat of the conference crown are over. The title will come down to the wire between Oregon and Oregon State.
At 29-20 (10-13 in the Pac) in a very powerful conference this season, it is hard to imagine that Arizona will not make the NCAA Tournament, though it is by no means a shoe in–their series against USC and ASU will be very important. Another trip to the College World Series, however, is highly unlikely. For one thing, if Arizona gets a bid, their hill will be a much steeper climb; they will not be hosting any playoff games like they did last year and will be likely be considered underdogs from the get go. Additionally, Arizona has not yet proven that they can do well as an underdog. The Wildcats have now gone 2-12 against Pac-12 teams ahead of them (Oregon State, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State, Stanford), including all out sweeps by the top 3 Pac-12 schools (Oregon State, Oregon, UCLA), and have in fact been embarrassed at home by subpar Washington.
The problem? With the departures of likes of Heyer, Refsnyder, Mejias, Mejias-Brean and Rickard, this new looking and young team have not yet been able to fill such large shoes. Konner Wade is struggling in his role as Arizona’s ace, the “it” factor is missing, and though the bats are good, they are currently not good enough for a very competitive Pac this year.