Mount Up

December 24, 2007

(UA 52, at UNLV 49)
(at UA 74, SDSU 58)


It's time to upgrade Jordan Hill to Jordan Mountain.

You saw all the rebounds, and the dunks, and you didn’t see the fouls. We might only have one big-time post player but he’s becoming bigger-time really fast.

The UNLV game had all the markings of your typical early-season ambush. The Cats were on the road and the home crowd was fired up (I was wondering why the local fans were chanting “air-ball” before the game even started but it turns out they were saying “Re-bels” which means they were fired up). The visiting favorite got off to a slow start while an unheralded player sparked the home team. This week’s season-high was brought to you by UNLV’s Wink Adams. Wink entered the game shooting 37% from the field and 26% from the behind the arc so naturally he lit up the Cats for 10 quick points. He must have opened both eyes.

On the broadcast they said that due to a recent visit from the rodeo, the gym stunk. Our offensive production didn’t help any. The UA only scored 28 points in the first half, and the second half was even worse, but 52 was enough to stack the deck with a Wildcat victory.

It certainly wasn’t easy. Some late-game bumbling gave the Rebels two chances to tie but both of Curtis Terry’s three-point attempts failed to connect. They said Terry is our Jason Terry’s half-brother, which would explain the same uniform number and high socks. But it doesn’t explain the complete lack of physical resemblance. Is there such a thing as a quarter-brother? I look more like JT than Curtis does.

But I look nothing like Jordan Hill – beg your pardon – Mountain and his manly manliness. UNLV only scored 19 points in the second half and Jordan had 9 rebounds in the second half. I’m not sure this is a real stat but I think a 0.47 Personal Rebounds To Team Points Allowed ratio is pretty good.

(Random aside: I was very happy to see John Prince Prince playing well for Tennessee over the weekend. I know he transferred out of Arizona, but any time the phrase “induced coma” is associated with your name it’s hard to hold a grudge.)

The San Diego State game was a little easier on the nerves. We got off to only a semi-slow start this time which allowed us to maintain a small lead most of the game instead of trying to chip away at a deficit. I vote to try this new way again soon.

If the Mountain was the team’s player of the week then Jawann McClellan would’ve been the first runner-up. In the two games Jawann produced 19 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocks, 2 new haircuts, 1 massive hip bruise and a dagger. Where’s that pear tree?

The big negative is I have to take back my pet anti-peeve remark. Budinger, Hill and Wise are a combined 13-27 (48%) from the line since I complimented them. That’s not nice.

With but one game left in the pre-Pac-10 portion of the schedule it’s a good time to take inventory. The season thus far can be broken down into three categories: the three made-for-TV showdowns with ranked teams (Kansas, Texas A&M, Memphis), two sneaky-tough road games (Illinois and UNLV), and seven regular home games. By going 2-0 and 6-1 in those latter two categories we have more than enough room for a 1-2 record in the hardest games.

Even if we don’t pull off the upset against the #2 Tigers this Saturday we’ll still sit at 9-3. That means in order to get to 20 wins we just need to go 11-8 during the conference season. (With the game at Houston coming in between trips to ASU and Stanford, it may as well be a Pac-10 game.) The nonconference mission has certainly been accomplished, and that’s before what is essentially a free game this week.

So relax, enjoy the holiday week with people you like (or at least try to find some people you don’t not like) and enjoy the thought of an exciting college basketball game on Saturday. If we win it’s great, but if we lose there’s no reason to cry over spilt eggnog.

It’s a chance to be a stress-free Arizona fan for a change, which is enough to make one downright merry.

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I know I should just leave it at merry, but you know how it goes.

Did you notice the New Mexico Lobos won their first bowl game in 46 years? Told you so. This “Play Arizona, Make History” thing is getting out of hand. Let’s recap:

2003 – LSU goes from a five-loss season to their first national championship in 45 years

2004 – Utah goes 12-0 and plays in a BCS bowl for the only time in school history

2006 – BYU goes from 6-6 to 11-2 with a 10-game winning streak to end the year (and they didn’t even beat us)

2007 – New Mexico wins their first bowl game since 1961. 1961! JFK was shot in 1963. The Beatles came to the U.S. in 1964. The moon landing was 1969. An American university hadn’t won a postseason football game since before each of these events, and all they had to do to break the streak was schedule a game with the Arizona Wildcats.

Some may say we’re unlucky. I say we’re very lucky…for the other team.

Florida Atlantic also ended a long bowl victory drought. When the Owls beat Memphis to win the New Orleans Bowl it was their first bowl victory since…the beginning of time. FAU established its football program in 2001 and didn’t join Division I-A until 2005. In other words, bowls are now being won by teams that didn’t even exist the last time Arizona went to a bowl.

Thank goodness for the Mountain. Otherwise we might be jumping off a cliff.



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