Arizona Wildcats Basketball: It’s Not Time to Panic


The Arizona Wildcats basketball team faces their first tournament loss in the semifinal game and takes third place. Fans: It’s not the time to panic.

The Wildcats basketball team has a Top-25 matchup this weekend against Gonzaga but first let’s look back at the weekend that was. We didn’t get to see the matchup we all were waiting for against Michigan State in the DirecTV Wooden Legacy Classic. The Wildcats were pushed to overtime vs. Santa Clara, lost to Providence, and were played close again by Boise State but came out with the victory.

Providence is now ranked No. 23 in poll. They also may have one of the best players in the nation in junior guard Kris Dunn. They gave No. 3 Michigan State a run for their money in the Championship game, but that didn’t change the Spartans ranking.

The dust has settled, and we have lost Kaleb Tarczewski for 4-6 weeks to a leg injury. Time to panic right? Well, not quite yet. It’s not the time for everyone to start hitting the panic button or over-reacting to the one four-point loss we took.

More from Wildcats Basketball

One reason not to panic is that the Wildcats are only seven games into the season. There is plenty of work to do but let’s not forget this year’s squad is not only learning to play against top competition in the country, but they are also still learning how to play with each other.

Arizona has a whole new starting five, Kaleb would be the only returning starter. It is a new experience for the guys as well, jumping from packed high school gyms to arenas with 17,000 plus in the sold-out McKale Center. On top of that, they had to readjust, learn new positions and be ready to be called on right from the start of the season.

The biggest weakness that needs fixing, and this has been the death of the team especially late in the Providence game, is turnovers. As a team, the Wildcats have allowed 99 total Turnovers. Yes, 99!! That’s an average of 14 turnovers a game that puts them on pace to have 435 turnovers all season if they keep this up.

This HAS to be fixed. It may just have been nerves and the fact that the team lost their big man in the middle and had to adjust. Also, the Wildcats played against zone defenses most of the tournament. 

Man, we miss T.J. McConnell now, his ball handling’s at its best (see video above). Like him or not, one thing we could count on is that the ball was not going to be thrown away when McConnell was at the helm. Sean Miller will fix the problem and yes the guys will get those turnovers down over time because it’s one of our huge weaknesses.

Our defense has been soft to say the least. The Wildcats gave up 44 points to Jared Brownridge of Santa Clara. Then with the game close late against Providence it was as if Kris Dunn could get any shot he wanted at the end of the game. This is something new for a Miller coached team that usually plays a tight defense.

Every year it seems we have had a shutdown defender, or we’ve played defense by committee. It doesn’t look as if ‘that’ player has emerged yet. Again, if one thing’s for sure, Miller will right the ship and is probably running defensive drills all week. One positive so far is that the Wildcats as a team are giving up 62.9 points which currently ranks No. 29 overall in the NCAA ( 

Next: Arizona Wildcats: T.J. McConnell Takes on Kobe Bryant

So the Wildcats are not where we hoped they would be at this point, but don’t forget it’s early in the season, and they have plenty of games left to play. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from past seasons, it’s that we need to believe in head coach Sean Miller and his process. I’m sure he will have us dancing by the time March comes around. For now, we should just make sure we’re supporting our team. 

BEARDOWN for the big game this Saturday!