Friday, February 22, 2008

Arizona loses again, are you surprised?

The most disturbing aspect of Arizona's loss to Washington was that it didn't come as a shock. There were no "Arizona upset by Huskies" headlines, no "I can't believe Washington won that game" calls, and no mention of the game by the national media.
Arizona is becoming irrelevant.

There was plenty of "this season is over" sentiment, though. This was a game for which I penciled in a W. Good thing it was a pencil and not a pen I guess. This was supposed to be one of the few games left on the schedule that the Wildcats were supposed to win. But they didn't, and they find themselves tied for 5th in the Pac-10 with an under .500 record at 6-7. ASU holds the tiebreaker for 5th and the Wildcats have the tiebreaker over Cal for 6th.

Holding onto my season long theory of Budinger and Bayless, I couldn't have expected Arizona to win this game. Bayless played well enough, scoring 22 points with six rebounds and four assists. Budinger did not. He had just 10 points on 3-10 from the field and fouled out. What's the problem with Budinger one of my friend's asked me today?

In a word: Inconsistency. In too many games, Budinger has been a non factor. Great players are never non factors. In four games this season, he's scored in single digits. Against ASU, he scored four points. Against UCLA, he went to the free throw line 0 times. His body is still too weak to be strong on defense. He still has trouble creating his own shot on offense. Those are the problems of a freshman, but Budinger already has a year under his belt so it's confusing.

His numbers are down, almost across the board. He's turning the ball over 2.6 times a game compared to 1.6 last year, shooting 43% from the field compared to 48.5 percent last year, and most flummoxing, shooting just 71.8 percent from the free throw line, compared with 84.5 percent last year.

That leads me to believe that it's mental. Good free throw shooters with great mechanics don't shoot poorly from the free throw line. Maybe Budinger has lost his confidence. Maybe Kevin O'Neill is too hard on him. Whatever the reason, Budinger has had a disappointing and frustrating sophomore season. And the only good part about it is he may be back next year.

Up Next: at Washington State Saturday 7 p.m. FSN

This is why high school rankings don't mean shit:
Mustafa Shakur is playing overseas. I'm sure you've already forgotten who he even is, but the man was once the highest rated point guard in his high school class ahead of Chris Paul. But after a four year stop at Arizona, here lies Mustafa Shakur.

Cats' next No. 1 point guard can score a little bit: Brandon Jennings scores 63 in high school game.

No- Mar Third Base: Nomar Garciaparra may no longer be an every day player and he doesn't sound too happy about it.


Kyle said...

I wouldn't say Arizona basketball is becoming irrelevant -- it's already there. Four out of five years of mediocre basketball isn't a slump, by that point it's an identity. A lineup of Bayless, Budinger, Hill, Jennings with Wise off the bench and a more experience Horne would make UA matter again, but sadly I think it won't happen.

At least one of that group is gone by the end of the year, though I suspect it will be more -- even if Bayless is the only one even close to NBA ready.

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