The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, Sidelines column
By Bruce Pascoe, the Arizona Daily Star, Tucson
March 26–KO knows
Say what you want about Kevin O’Neill, but the USC coach was ahead of the curve on this one.
it was the Wildcats’ former interim coach who said a month ago that the Wildcats were capable of making a deep NCAA tournament run.
“I thought in our league, UCLA, Washington and Arizona could all go deep,” O’Neill said Friday, adding that he picked Arizona to make the Final Four on a show this week.
the Wildcats “have a lot of incredible depth, three-point shooting, and they’re extremely well-coached,” he added.
O’Neill’s Trojans beat the Wildcats 65-57 on Feb. 24 in Los Angeles, and Arizona went on to get smacked at UCLA 71-49 two days later.
But O’Neill said it did not surprise him that the Wildcats progressed from there into the Elite Eight.
“That’s just conference basketball,” he said of the UA losses. “Us and UCLA are both tournament teams. … Our league’s too good to (have somebody) be undefeated.”
Not that KO saw the Duke-Arizona game.
he said he doesn’t watch much college basketball for fun, reiterating one of his memorable 2007-08 remarks, when he said he’d prefer watching “Law and Order” to college basketball.
big East team loves playing in West
Don’t let the geography fool you: UConn loves playing in the West Region.
Jim Calhoun’s Huskies have been sent packing six times to the West Region — and they cut down the regional nets three times.
it may not be a coincidence.
“I think the reason we like it is we’ve had great treatment by people out there, and secondly we’ve been able to keep our kids together without a lot of distractions,” Calhoun said.
Connecticut won NCAA titles in 1999 and 2004 while coming through the West, and they also reached the Final Four in 2009 through the West.
All three of those championships were won in the Phoenix area, two at America West Arena and the 2009 title at University of Phoenix Stadium.
“I remember that first year that I was talking with someone on the committee and said, ‘By the way, we’ll go west if you need a team to,’” Calhoun said. “We’ve had great success.”
Dealing with aches and pains
Kevin Parrom has spent the bulk of his week getting treatment on his sprained ankle, but it isn’t all bad.
the down time is giving him a chance to get some work done.
“I get on my MacBook while I’m icing, so I keep my regular schedule,” Parrom said.
the treatment not only helped Parrom play without pain for 20 minutes Thursday but also resulted in him not being sore Friday morning.
UA forward Jesse Perry, meanwhile, played 22 minutes Thursday with a hip pointer.
Fogg fueled by Pac-10 snub
maybe it was a good thing for the Wildcats that Kyle Fogg wasn’t voted on the Pac-10’s all-defensive team.
the motivated UA guard helped hold Duke’s Nolan Smith to eight points, and today, he’ll be the lead defender on leading UConn scorer Kemba Walker.
“That definitely fueled me when I saw I wasn’t on the team,” Fogg said. “But I’m just trying to go out there and play harder, and try to prove to everyone that I belong on there.”
UConn coach: We are who we are
No matter where he goes, Jim Calhoun can’t avoid it.
he is scheduled to sit out three games next season and lose one scholarship for each of the next three seasons, after the NCAA said he failed to monitor recruiting violations including $6,000 of benefits given to a former player.
So when Calhoun was asked about that being a compelling storyline today, he did not pause. Calhoun said he was not found guilty of the secondary violations UConn committed and that he “found out who I am.”
“We know who we are at UConn,” Calhoun said. “We know what we’ve done at UConn, and we feel comfortable in our own skin and what we are.
“I can’t control what others think. I can only control what I feel, and did I like it? No. You wouldn’t either. But I said that there were secondary violations that happened in our program, I said that I’m the head coach and I’m responsible, and I wasn’t going to appeal it, so be it.”
No. 5 Arizona vs. No. 3 Connecticut, 4:05 P.m. Channel 13, 1290-AM, 1490-AM, 104.9-FM, 107.5-FM
he said it …
“They feed off their leader (Kemba Walker), and they are so good with halfcourt execution. the ultimate equalizer is Kemba. when things break down, he can make his teammates better. He’s a coach on the floor. They run a lot of motion and they try to pick on mismatches. Lot of ball screens. a very intricate offense.”
Book Richardson, Arizona assistant coach, on the Huskies’ offense
Lamb a ferocious husky
Freshman Jeremy Lamb, left, helped Kemba Walker and UConn finish off San Diego State with 24 points and a pair of dunks in the final 30 seconds. he is a threat:
Points per game this season
Points per game in tournament
Three-point percentage this season
he said it …
“They play some unique lineups. Oriakhi is really a good defender (inside) and he’s really physical. Teams with those kinds of players have caused problems for us. They’ve got some quickness and some really good length.”
Archie Miller, Arizona associate head coach, on the Huskies’ defense
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