Blog Entry

Nice homestand for Arizona, Pennell

Posted on: February 14, 2009 4:08 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2009 4:09 pm

Make that seven in a row for Arizona.

And is Russ Pennell going to be the Pac-10 Coach of the Year?

Mike Montgomery (California) and Lorenzo Romar (Washington) can certainly make a case, as could Herb Sendek (Arizona State). But as long as the Wildcats don't collapse down the stretch it's looking more and more like Pennell deserves the award, particularly following Saturday's 84-72 thrashing of UCLA.

It's incredible -- as I detailed in Thursday's column -- the way Pennell has been able to inherit a bad situation, take some early lumps and still position Arizona for a 25th consecutive NCAA tournament. The Wildcats have gone from 11-8 (2-5 in the Pac-10) to 18-8 (8-5 in the Pac-10) in a matter of roughly three weeks, and even if they lose every remaining road game (at Arizona State, Washington State and Washington) they'll still finish with a winning record in the Pac-10 as long as they don't take a home loss to California or Stanford.

Translation: This is going to work out OK.

That's my prediction.

And though it probably won't land Pennell the Arizona job on a fulltime basis -- athletic director Jim Livengood is aiming much higher, according to everything I've been told -- what it should do is let Wildcat fans enjoy this season that seemed destined to be a debacle before it even started. Then when it's all over and done, Pennell will get to listen to other schools that will almost certainly be interested in his services, because he'll possess the type of coaching credentials that can't be ignored, plus a Pac-10 Coach of the Year award to boot.

Category: NCAAB

Since: Dec 13, 2007
Posted on: February 16, 2009 12:56 pm

Nice homestand for Arizona, Pennell

Whoooaaa there, bad losses for a team that had their coach of 25 years retire right before the season and essentially a salting of the earth as everyone jumped ship for '09-'10.  A&M loss because Hill lost his head.  UAB due to a ridiculous foul by a bench player.  While I don't disagree that they weren't good games to lose, the cumulative margin of victory was 2 points.  Conference losses happen and are a lot more understandable as long as it isn't Oregon.

The focus needs to go to the nonconference wins over good teams.  Kansas and Gonzaga wins will go a long way when it comes down to it.  The other strength Arizona has going for them is they aren't afraid to go on the road.  They may lose, but they know what it's like, unlike Washington.

No matter what anyone thinks, it's how you finish, but the non-conference games always help (see ASU last year).  The overall body of work by Arizona is either first or second to UCLA and we are easily the 2nd or 3rd hottest team in the country.  One vote in the polls last week to probably going into our rightful spot in the Top 25.  This one may mean more than any other year...if it happens. 

Since: Mar 2, 2008
Posted on: February 15, 2009 10:38 pm

Nice homestand for Arizona, Pennell

All teams at the top of the Pac-10 would have the best resume if they didn't have any bad losses.  Washington to Portland, UCLA to Michigan, Cal to Oregon St. and Stanford, ASU to WSU and Baylor.  For Arizona, they just have more bad losses (UAB Texas A&M, Stanford), which is why they aren't even going to be a 4 seed in their own conference tournament, in the NCAA I give them an 8 seed and out in the second round.

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: February 15, 2009 7:17 pm

Nice homestand for Arizona, Pennell

ASU stayed home last year because they played only three decent teams during the non-conference portion of their schedule. They lost to Illinois and Nebraska, and beat an overrated Xavier team. They went 9-9 in conference play and both wins against Arizona were asterisked, with Wise and Bayless suffering injuries through them. Not to mention they got a little black and white help. Arizona actually played some teams outside of the conference. They beat Texas A&M, Illinois, UNLV, SDSU and Houston. They lost to Virginia, Kansas and Memphis. Bottom line, ASU played nobody and finished 19-12. Arizona actually played somebodies and finished 19-14. It wasn't a hard decision. Get over it.

Since: Dec 16, 2006
Posted on: February 15, 2009 6:26 pm

Nice homestand for Arizona, Pennell

Come on 'Cats! I can remember like three weeks ago when people were saying that from then on it was must wins. They've really turned it on. It's time to keep it up and ride into the tourney like the old days. Maybe this could be 2005 all over again. 

Since: Oct 13, 2006
Posted on: February 15, 2009 5:09 pm

Nice homestand for Arizona, Pennell

There is a strong case for Arizona to make the rankings. They have as good a resume as anyone in the pac 10, probably the best if they didn't have some of those bad losses. At this point though, they're the hotest team in the pac and have a legitimate shot at winning the conference.

Since: Mar 13, 2008
Posted on: February 15, 2009 4:25 pm

Nice homestand for Arizona, Pennell

I love the fact that ASU is having the best season in the past 3 decades and UofA is having the worst in the past 24 years....yet if UofA wins in Tempe on Sunday they will be tied with them in the Pac 10 with the same amount of overall wins. 

ASU better enjoy the post season this year as it might be a while before they see a 4 letter post season tournament again once Harden leaves and Pendergraph graduates.   

ASU/Harden is playing good basketball but they have yet to be battle tested by anyone outside of the Pac 10. 

All in all, congrats to ASU on a good season thus far, but unless they finish strong UofA might find themselves with a better seed than ASU.

Since: Mar 13, 2008
Posted on: February 15, 2009 4:13 pm

Nice homestand for Arizona, Pennell

If Arizona wins the 4 of the final 5 with wins over 2 of the 3 (ASU/Wash/Cal) then they will potentially get a 4-5 seed.  It will also depend on if USC/Cal/ASU/UCLA finishes ahead of them in the Pac 10.

It might also come down to how far they go in the Pac 10 tournament.  IF they were to somehow win 3 of last 5 and win the Pac 10 tournament I think they would be a 4 seed.

Pretty amazing to be even contemplating this especailly since 3 weeks ago our only chances at the NCAA tournament were squarely resting on winning the auto-bid via the tournament in LA! 

Pennell is doing a great job but think that too much credit is being given to him since Mike Dunlap is for all intents and purposes a "Co-Head Coach".  He is doing a great job as well, but it's not like UofA is Indiana and has NO TALENT.  UofA has 2 NBA lottery picks and the most underrated point guard in the nation.  Don't down play the importance either of the play of Fogg, Horne & Zane Johnson lately as they have been the ones to really take this team to the next level. 

My prediction is that UofA will win 3 of last 5 (lose to Wash & a random like Stanford), win 2 games in Pac 10 get an 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Since: Dec 13, 2007
Posted on: February 15, 2009 1:18 pm

Nice homestand for Arizona, Pennell

The fact that anyone is talking about ASU basketball should be enough for you clowns.  Your blip on the radar will be over prior to the Sweet Sixteen.  Like mentioned earlier, you lose Harden, who is amazing and Pedergraph, who is solid.  Are there enough coaching positions to package with scholarships to replenish this abberation?  Follow that with Sendek going to Louisville to replace Pitino when goes to Tucson and you're back to talking foot..., no we pulled ahead there snagging the best recruit in the state.  Erickson should have you on probation in the next 10 minutes.  I guess you always have baseball.

Since: Feb 15, 2009
Posted on: February 15, 2009 12:27 pm

Nice homestand for Arizona, Pennell

I forgot that a 2nd round loss in the NIT is MUCH more impressive than giving an Elite 8 team a game in the 1st round of the NCAA Tourney.  Listen, ZONA_HATER, and any other gAySU fan, you're not on our block.  Heck, you're not even in the same zip code.  I think that a Championship & 4 Final Four's speak for themselves.  And until you're on our block, just relish in all your NIT glory.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: February 15, 2009 12:19 pm

Qut making a fool of yourself...

What, did Lute Olson not sign your basketball when you were a kid? Get over yourself and while you are at it at least get your facts straight. UfoA was 19-15 last year and is 8-5 this year in the Pac 10.

0-2, just like your posts. Get a life, then a clue,

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or