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March 2, 2009

(at WSU 69, UA 53)
(at UW 83, UA 78)

They say sometimes when you hit the road the road hits back.

The 2009 Wildcats have been hit so many times they’re going to need a restraining order.

We’ve spent all season wondering if we have a good team that is bad on the road or a bad team that is good at home. I think it’s safe to say the swing from good to bad and back again is what’s normal.

Here are some of the violent swings from just our last five games:

UW: 10 up to 4 down in 6 minutes
WSU: 11 up to 10 down in 13 minutes
ASU: 17 down to 2 up in 9 minutes
UCLA: 4 down to 13 up in 8 minutes, 25 up to 9 up 8 minutes
USC: 18 up to 8 down in 14 minutes, back to 5 up in 4 minutes

I could do without the harm coming from our least-liked foe though. Now that the UCLA losing streak is over who has the longest active winning streak against us? Well, Stanford for one, since the Cardinal beat us three times last year and the first time this year. But if we’re able to beat a 4-10 team at home on Senior Day it means the longest carryover losing streak will be the four to the Sun Devils.

If you’ve been experiencing a lot of neck pain recently, now you know why.

In-game swings lead to season-long swings, from 2-5 to 7-0 to 0-3. This team now has four streaks of three games or longer, two good and two bad.

Is there room for one more good streak?

Finishing with a 2-7 Pac-10 road record is pretty embarrassing. It’s a good thing that Euro dude missed that last-second shot at Oregon State, huh?

The geographic location of the next two games is certainly to our liking. If the McKale Magic works for us a couple more times we can avoid being swept by eight of our nine league foes (I’ll give you half a painful second to remember the ninth foe).

The real question is what we’re going to get out of Jordan Hill and his ankles. As devastating as it was to see him writhing in pain on the floor, he only added to his legend by later returning to the game and scoring our next six points.

The Mountain has had an incredible year. Even if he doesn’t collect a single rebound this week he still has enough boards to average a double-double for the entire regular season. He leads the team in scoring, shooting percentage, and blocked shots. He’s even had time to record an album, and establish a community in Scotland.

James Harden is going to win the Pac-10 Player of the Year award since he led the conference in scoring for a good team. But if the league’s coaches got to draft teams, I guarantee you the first pick would be Jordan Rockwell Hill.

(OK, that’s not his real middle name, but it’s a good one, don’t you think? I couldn’t find Jordan’s full name anywhere. I finally asked a question the internet couldn’t answer.)

The only positive to losing against Washington was keeping ASU out of first place. But then the Devils went out and lost to WSU so it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Why do they have to take the fun out of everything?

That’s not true, it was fun to see the Sunnies and Herb daggered with a Salim-esque buzzer-beater to officially eliminate them from title contention. So after failing in two attempts to knock ASU out of the Basketball Rose Bowl the Cats were finally successful…by losing.

Yes, I wanted to beat Washington. But we didn’t so we may as well enjoy the collateral damage, which includes this:

Total Pac-10 Basketball Championships (Most Recent)
28 UCLA (2008)
13 Cal (1960)
12 OSU (1990)
11 ARIZONA (2005)
11 Stan. (2004)
9 Wash. (2009)
7 USC (1985)
4 Ore. (2002)
2 WSU (1941)
2 Idaho (1923)
0 ASU (Never Ever, Neener Neener)

Washington winning the Pac-10 is a pretty big deal. For the past 23 years UCLA, Arizona and Stanford had won 21.5 of the league titles. OSU had a co-championship in 1990 and Oregon had their flash-in-the-pan title in 2002.

The Husky triumph is also significant in that it completes the semi-impressive Worst-In-Football/Best-In-Basketball combo. No school has been this athletically bipolar since…yep, us in ’02-‘03. The last Worst-In-Basketball/Best-In-Football school? USC in ’04-’05. You just don’t get that kind of worthless information anywhere else.

You know what’s not worthless? Going to 25 straight NCAA tournaments.

One more streak to continue the streak.

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