Thursday, November 20, 2008

Arizona Basketball

I'm beginning to think the whole program had a stroke.

Got around to watching the NIT Regional Final the other night against UAB. Now, without a doubt, this is not a particularly good Arizona team. Chase Budinger is very talented and seems to "get it" a bit more this year than he has in the past. Jordan Hill is a good big guy, and Nic Wise is a decent point guard (although a little to wild and inconsistent for my tastes), but beyond that, there ain't a whole lot of talent here and even less good depth.

So, UAB is going strong in the first half and the start of the 2nd, build lead up as far as 13 or so, but Budinger and Hill start to get serious offensively at least (still, far too many defensive lapses for both of those guys) and little by little they begin chipping the lead down, having to resort to fouling the Blazers a bit at the end, until it is a one possession game with ~30 seconds to go (forgive any errors in my timeline here, I'm going by pure hazy memory) and an Arizona freshman at the line. He makes the first FT to pull the Wildcats w/in 2, but misses the 2nd. UAB's stud guard Vaden grabs the rebound, but another UofA freshman, Fogg (who had played sparingly if at all until that point) steals the ball from Vaden and puts it in to tie the game.

However, as UAB is inbounding the ball, Fogg apparently thinks the Wildcats are still behind, so he fouls immediately (and several Wildcats fall to the ground in horror, the coaching staff throws their hands up in the air in unison and the crowd is stunned).

However, the karma gods are smiling kindly on Fogg, as the UAB player misses the front end of the 1&1 and Zona rebounds with perhaps 20 seconds remaining. They call a timeout and set up a final play for the win.

Now, Budinger and Hill have been more or less unstoppable for the last 8 minutes of the game or so. They've each got a significant height advantage on the UAB players guarding them, but what does the UofA coaching staff call for?

The smallest player on the floor, 5-9 Nic Wise pulls up, shoots a tough jumper with 4 or 5 seconds left, it misses and UAB grabs the rebound, turns to head up court in order to throw up a hail mary last second shot, only to be interrupted by:

Jamelle Horne, sophomore power forward for the Wildcats, for some reason diving at the UAB shooter, grabbing the back of his jersey and committing an intentional foul with under a second on the clock and UAB still in the backcourt, sending UAB to the line for 2 shots, plus the ball.

UAB makes one free throw, advances to New York and Arizona goes home with a well-earned loss.

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