Courtside Conversations ? Nov. 30, 2006
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
When Santa arrives at the Pac-10 office to deliver his goodies on Christmas Eve, he won’t spend much time in the women’s basketball section. After espousing lofty dreams before the start of this season, the Pac-10 has been naughty. Six teams were ranked in pre-season polls, and now it’s down to three. It looks like there’ll be coal in the stockings of some Pac-10 coaches when Christmas morning arrives.
Stanford has been the worst offender. The Cardinal talked about the Final Four a month ago, but Stanford has already lost three games. UCLA planned on riding the back of Noel Quinn, but the Bruins have lost four their first seven outings. Washington has dropped out of the rankings, and so has USC which suffered an embarrassing loss at home to Nebraska last week.
Santa may be kind to ASU and California. Both of these teams have been nice. Each has one loss, Cal to Vanderbilt and the Sun Devils to Tennessee. Oregon hasn’t played anybody but is 3-1, so Bev Smith’s stocking might be full and Oregon State has been as impressive as a team can be when playing minor opponents.
Meanwhile, the Arizona Wildcats are doing just fine. Santa should realize that the toughest part of Arizona’s brutal non-conference schedule is over and the Cats are a game over .500. Now, with their next four of five games at home, Joan Bonvicini’s team has a chance to finish the pre-season with a 9-3 record which would be spectacular for a team that won only eight games a year ago. Arizona’s only losses have come at the hands of two top-ten teams on the road, No. 1 Maryland and No. 10 Texas A&M, and in a close game with No. 25 George Washington. Arizona has won the games that it was supposed to win. The Wildcats can win their final five games leading into the conference season. If they do, Rudolph had better find Coach B’s house on a map and plan on spending some time there.
The Wildcats will beat Louisiana Tech and New Mexico at home. Utah will be a tough but winnable game in Salt Lake City, and then the troops should crush Fresno State and Long Beach State. 9-3; not bad for a team that no one talked about at Pac-10 Media Day.
As for the rest of the conference, plan on making due with smaller presents this year. You haven’t done your job. Santa’s always watching.
See you on the radio!
Each Arizona Women’s Basketball Game is carried live on AM 1400 KTUC. To find out more about Paul visit: www.pauldanieljohnson.net.