Dubbed the “Cardiac Cats”, the Arizona Wildcat basketball team has had their fans on the edge of their seats, holding their breath for nearly half the season. The Wildcats who are 14-0 and 2-0 within the Pac-12, are currently ranked third in the nation, and are only one of four teams who remain unbeaten.
Although they have been successful, some of their wins have been a little too close for comfort. Arizona has won six games by less than nine points, including two wins by a combined two points.
In addition, their last two games came down to the final shot. After Sabatino Chen of Colorado had his three-point shot waived off because the referees came to the conclusion that the ball remained on his fingertips as time expired, the Cats took it to overtime in which they prevailed, 92-83.
Only two days later, Arizona survived another close call as the Utah Utes final shot to tie the game fell only inches short, twice, as the ball missed left and then came back down after hitting the top of the backboard only to miss again.
Despite being undefeated and having some exciting wins, Arizona must be a little worried that so many of their games turn out so close. It seems as if the reason for this re-occurring trend is that Arizona has had a tendency to play down to their competition. On paper, the Wildcats are much better than many of the teams they have played, however they have played to the tempo of their opponents which has allowed opposing teams to play how they want and stay in the game.
Both surprising and remarkable is that the young Wildcats, who start two freshman and one sophomore have proven time and again that they have the composure to come out with close wins. This ability is of course always helpful, but most importantly is needed in order for the Cats to make a serious run in the NCAA tournament.
Looking ahead, Arizona will have some challenges in the Pac-12 with teams such as UCLA, Colorado and Arizona State. Nonetheless, the future may be very bright for the Cats who are looking to have one of their best seasons under head coach, Sean Miller.
All that Wildcat fans can really complain about so far this season is that they usually find themselves catching their breath after a game, rather than celebrating. Other than that, it’s been smooth sailing for Arizona Wildcat basketball.