Bigger, faster, strong, smarter, better. The Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball team is back!
Not that they ever left, but last year’s 16-15 season left plenty to be desired. Arizona failed to make the NCAA tournament for the first time in 25 years.
First year head coach, Sean Miller, and his patchwork roster that included five freshman, didn’t make any tournament and the season was labeled a “rebuilding” year.
That was then, this is now.
Although the season just started, the Wildcubs appear to be all grown up. The Cats have outscored their first two opponents (Idaho State & New Mexico State) by a combined 173-99.
It’s no secret, the competition has been inferior, but Arizona looks light-years ahead of last year’s team in all aspects of play. Even with just one senior on the team, the Wildcats may be deeper than ever.
Sure, Derrick Williams (F, So.) has looked unstoppable, Solomon Hill (F, So.) has been impressive and Kevin Parrom (F, So.) has been all over the box scores, but it’s Brendon Lavender (G, Jr.) hitting his shots, 6’11” Kyryl Natyazhko (C, So.) actually contributing and newcomers Jordin Mayes (G, Fr.) and Jesse Perry (F, Jr.) pushing for more play time, that has Arizona thinking tournament.
The Wildcats will be looking to continue their small-school-stomping-streak when iBN Sports Las Vegas Invitational play begins tomorrow against the Bears of Northern Colorado. The first two games of the tournament are in Tucson.
11/21 Northern Colorado 3 p.m. MST
11/23 Bethune-Cookman 6:30 p.m. MST
11/26 Santa Clara 7:30 p.m. PT
11/27 No. 6 Kansas 7:30 p.m. PT
Yes, you read that right. Kansas (3-0). Although the three teams before them on the schedule area combined 6-1, the Jayhawks should be the first real test for Arizona.
Sean Miller will be able to gauge how well his team responds to playing on the road, at a neutral site, on a day’s rest, against nationally ranked competition.
The early season experience should prove invaluable in March.
Be sure to check out tomorrow’s game against Northern Colorado…
Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM, 990-AM (Spanish)