February 12, 2006
(at UA 70, Oregon 68)
(at UA 80, OSU 58)
Two wins. That's all that matters. I'm not listening to any complaints about Thursday's game. We can just look at the week's combined score of 150-126 and pretend we won by 12 each night.
As for the Oregon game, there was never a doubt.
Never a doubt we'd let them back it, again and again. But, hey, it's about time someone else blew a game for a change.
Oregon's Chamberlain Oguchi proved a couple things: 3 is better than 2, and it doesn't matter if your name doesn't make any sense.
Our starting frontcourt combined for 33 points, 14 boards, 6 assists (Radenovic), and 3 blocks (Walters). I am really enjoying our high-low stuff with Ivan making the entry pass.
Tupac was back at point guard for the Cats. Shakur played 29 minutes on Thursday and had zero assists. None. How does that happen? We shot 50% from the field! I'm baffled. That kind of performance is no way to get to Thugz Mansion.
Mustafa only made one basket the entire weekend. He did show up in the Oregon game just in time to hit those clutch free throws including the game winner. Too bad he can't come in like a field goal kicker and only take foul shots.
The first half of the Oregon State game was a like a Serbian cage match. Radenovic had 18 points for the Cats and the Beavers' Cuic scored 15. It was the manliest performance ever by two guys named "Yvonne" and "Sasha".
Ivan finished with a career-high 26 points against the Beavers. That came on the heels of Kirk's career-best 18 vs. the Ducks. Their combined 36 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks brought their week line to 69-24-8-5. Throw in Bret Brielmaier's 8 boards and it was quite the nice week for Arizona's big slow white guys.
In other statistical news Hassan had 15 total assists in the two games, including a career-high 9 against the Beavers. It's like he realizes he won't make the rebounding top-ten list so he's trying to make a run at Russell Brown.
We need more scoring from #21 however. No offense to the Aussie, but if Daniel Dillon is outscoring you, you need to pick it up at bit.
I really like running the clear-out for Williams at the top of the key to end halves. We finally have the ball in the hands of a guy who can create his own shot and put it in the hole. Lute took it a step further by using Marcus as his back-up point guard the entire game against OSU. You know, Lute shouldn't do that kind of stuff because it makes fans with active imaginations go nuts. Hmmm…a 2006-2007 starting five of Williams, McClellan, incoming stud Chase Budinger, Radenovic and Walters. Start printing the Final Four t-shirts!
What did we learn this week? Nothing. We're still your typical average team, good at home (now 10-1) and bad on the road. Have we found something with this new inside-first mindset? Possibly. It sure beats the pants off of missing a bunch of threes.
We've just got to pick something and stick with it. The "greatest defensive team ever" strategy didn't work out and neither did the "athletic guards set free after the removal of a grouchy teammate" angle. I don't think people in the Witness Protection Program change identities this often.
Now we head to the San Francisco Bay for our final road trip of the Pac-10 season. Since we're riding a 1-5 streak away from home at the moment I'm not going to expect anything good from the next couple games. But, man, it sure would help the cause to get a win in either of them since we're trying to catch both Stanford and Cal in the standings. So I put this week's fan plan at "Don't get your hopes up but hope like the dickens."
Now for your weekly baseball update. The Wildcats won their second consecutive series to open the season by winning two games at UC Riverside this weekend. That gives us a 4-2 record as we head into a Friday through Sunday home series against New Mexico. The important thing this weekend is that UNM is to Arizona baseball what ASU is to Arizona hoops. We've beaten the Lobos 23 straight times and no one wants to see a good thing end, especially against our old WAC pals. Get on out to the ballpark and help keep the streak alive!
Saturday was one of those rare occasions when I was in attendance for a UA basketball game. I scored tickets from the friend of a friend and I got the full McKale experience. We stood until the Beavers scored in both halves. The Ooh Aah Man made an appearance. The only thing missing was a Nice Shot Buddy. OSU was making their first free throw every single time and I was afraid I was going to miss out. But late in the game a blessed little Beaver's shot went askew. Nice Shot Buddy indeed.
But wait, there's more. So there I was, minding my own business, trying not to rock the peaceful boat that is the loge section, when I heard the words that would change my life forever. The public address announcer proclaimed there was a submarine sandwich to be won. The only requirement was you had to cheer for the Wildcats, and do so with great vigor. Sweet music to my ears it was. I rose, a shouting island piercing those placid waters. I felt the glares of disgust upon my back but I cared not. The Cats needed my support, and I needed lunch.
The wandering camera caught my eye. A jolt of energy rushed through my larynx, producing a sound of pure cardinal and navy terror. I aggressively displayed the Arizona on my chest. There may have been some flexing involved. And the camera didn't move.
They must have seen my undying love for the Cats. They must have known I hadn't eaten since breakfast. Or maybe it was just the red cowboy hat. But I realized my destiny that fateful February day. I became…the Subway Ultimate Fan Of The Game.
A $4 sandwich never tasted so good.
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