[ {"id":"ebabb178-11b7-11e7-be14-4f146332769d","type":"link","starttime":"1490490900","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-25T18:15:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1490490944","priority":44,"sections":[{"greghansen":"sports/greghansen"},{"arizonawildcats":"sports/arizonawildcats"}],"flags":{"top_story":"true","editors_pick":"true","featured":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Hansen's Sunday Notebook: Fans critical of Sean Miller's tournament performance doubted Lute, too","permalink":"http://tucson.com/hansen-s-sunday-notebook-fans-critical-of-sean-miller-s/collection_fbf331ba-11b1-11e7-b148-ef6e319a5b97.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/hansen-s-sunday-notebook-fans-critical-of-sean-miller-s/collection_fbf331ba-11b1-11e7-b148-ef6e319a5b97.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"Star sports columnist Greg Hansen offers his opinion on recent sports news.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#topstory","#top5sports","#editorspick","#topread"],"customProperties":{"label":"HANSEN"},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"3d3c0d3e-1060-11e7-9d11-bbfbe240355d","description":"Arizona Wildcats head coach Sean Miller calls his team in for a timeout during the first half of the University of Arizona Wildcats vs. Xavier University Musketeers Sweet 16 game in the NCAA Tournament at SAP Center, March 23, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. 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While Arizona has one of the nation\u2019s highest child-poverty rates, federal money intended to help the poorest families is instead being spent here on foster care, adoptions and services to children who have been removed from their families.

Arizona spent $469 million in 2015 in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF funds, says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Of that total, 8 percent went to the three objectives established for the federal program: child-care help, job training and direct cash assistance to families.

By contrast, 49 percent of the funding went to the Department of Child Safety, primarily for services rendered once a child has been removed from his or her home after allegations of neglect or abuse. (The remainder went to state agency operating costs and other programs such as domestic violence prevention and services for the elderly.)

Most states spend some TANF money on child abuse and neglect cases, but the average is about 7 percent, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities\u2019 analysis of the federal records.

There is a \u201cyawning gap\u201d when it comes to Arizona\u2019s practices, said Joshua Oehler, economic policy analyst with the Children\u2019s Action Alliance.

\u201cThis definitely is concerning for us. If you want people to go from welfare to work, they need to have child care,\u201d he said. \u201cIt\u2019s vitally important for families to receive this help.\u201d

While it\u2019s legal and within the state\u2019s wide discretion to use the funds on cases related to child abuse and neglect, \u201cthat\u2019s not what the TANF funds are for,\u201d said Karen McLaughlin, director of budget and research for Arizona\u2019s Children\u2019s Action Alliance. \u201cWe think both programs need to be funded adequately,\u201d she said, referring to direct help for impoverished families as well as money for child neglect or abuse cases.

Arizona removes children from their homes due to allegations of abuse or neglect at one of the highest rates in the nation. As of mid-March, there were 17,200 children in out-of-home care.

That\u2019s one of the primary reasons the state has shifted so much TANF funding to DCS, said Daniel Scarpinato, spokesman for Gov. Doug Ducey. \u201cThis spending is reflective of a need that exists in child safety,\u201d he said.

\u201cWe are starting to see some success in terms of reducing backlog and the number of kids in out-of-home care,\u201d Scarpinato added. The number of children in state care now is significantly lower, down from nearly 20,000 just a couple of years ago, he said.

Those investments in the Department of Child Safety mean less for other families.

Arizona State University\u2019s Morrison Institute for Public Policy examined whether focusing on DCS cases is actually compounding the crisis by leaving too many families \u2014 the ones that don\u2019t face allegations of child neglect or abuse \u2014 without help early on.

Morrison Institute Director Thom Reilly concluded that while \u201cprioritizing the competing demands of moving parents into the workforce, preserving families and protecting children is not an easy balance for states,\u201d he found these needs to be interrelated.

\u201cSuch policy and fiscal decisions are making it more challenging for poor families with children to enter the workforce,\u201d Reilly wrote in a 2015 report. \u201cSo, what on the surface may seem to be a solution for the state\u2019s underfunded and underperforming child welfare system \u2014 cutting benefits to poor families and shifting TANF funds to the child welfare system \u2014 may very well be exacerbating Arizona\u2019s child welfare problem.\u201d

During fiscal year 2015, roughly 23 out of every 100 families living in poverty received cash assistance through TANF nationwide. In Arizona, 10 or fewer out of every 100 families received that help.

In Arizona, TANF \u201chasn\u2019t done its job, largely as a result of the lack of investment through child care support, work activity supports and training people to get good paying, stable jobs,\u201d Children\u2019s Action Alliance\u2019s Oehler said. \u201cIt really takes a lot of resources and we\u2019re not devoting those dollars to that.\u201d

The number of children living in poverty in Pima County grew from 22 percent in 2009 to 27 percent in 2014, the Annie E. Casey Foundation reports. Statewide, 25 percent of children lived in poverty as of 2015, a Kids Count report shows, ranking Arizona 43rd highest in child-poverty rates.

Two years ago, Arizona became the nation\u2019s strictest state in the length of time a family can get TANF benefits, reducing help from two years to one.

There is a current legislative proposal that would reinstate the two-year plan. \u201cWe do have some exceptions in there, including requiring people to comply with job searches and getting your kids to school,\u201d Scarpinato said. The school attendance rate, a controversial part of the measure, is expected to be 90 percent.

\u201cThe reason for that is we should be rewarding good behavior and incentivize people to find work,\u201d he said. \u201cThe best way to break the cycle of poverty is to make sure your children are getting an education and getting to school.\u201d

He said that as the number of children in out-of-home care due to allegations of neglect or abuse or continues to decrease, Arizona will re-evaluate how it spends TANF dollars.

Long waiting list

As of Feb. 3, there were 4,190 families and 7,369 children on the waiting list for TANF-subsidized child care statewide, Department of Economic Security data shows. In Pima County, there were 983 families and 1,669 children.

Yadell Urrea\u2019s name is on that waiting list.

As her daughter approached her first birthday, and the baby\u2019s father struggled to find full-time employment, Urrea knew the trio needed more income.

She secured a job at a nursery school more than a month ago, and prior to that contacted DES, wondering if she could get some help with child-care costs. She takes her 18-month-old with her to her workplace, where she receives child care that her parents pay for.

\u201cWe were barely making it paycheck to paycheck with the bills,\u201d Urrea said. There\u2019s never money left over to buy clothing or other things that inevitably come up and help with child care would ease that tremendously, she said, until her partner can find more work.

Urrea said she even had to wait to preregister to get on the waiting list. Recently, she was able to get her name listed and now, she\u2019s been told, she\u2019ll need to wait about a year.

\u201cTheir priorities are to help the families that are involved in DCS, but they should also help the families that are working hard as well,\u201d she said.

\u201cWhen there is a family, the idea is that \u2018No, you could do it on your own,\u2019 \u201d she said. \u201cWhat they\u2019ve told us in the past is that, if you\u2019re not in a DCS case, there\u2019s no point in applying.\u201d

Families referred for child care assistance through DCS are not subject to the waiting list.

An estimated $49 million will be spent on child care subsidies for DCS-involved families in 2017, with funding coming from the state\u2019s general fund, the federal Child Care and Development Fund and other federal funds.

Less cash assistance

As poverty numbers climbed, the number of Pima County children receiving help through TANF cash assistance dropped from 17,552 in 2009 to 6,329 in 2015.

Child-care subsidies, according to DES records, were at their highest in 2009 when $15 million was earmarked for that help. It\u2019s been down to $2.7 million for the last few fiscal years and is projected to be the same in fiscal year 2016. It hit its lowest point in nearly 10 years in 2012, at $717,800.

\u201cEligibility for TANF is so low, we\u2019re talking about the most vulnerable people in our state,\u201d said Angie Rodgers, president of Arizona Food Banks.

Initially, when TANF was created in 1996, very little of the funding was going to cases involving child abuse and neglect, she said, but now, \u201cit\u2019s completely flipped around.\u201d

The DCS \u201cdefinitely needs a lot of help,\u201d Rodgers said, \u201cbut it doesn\u2019t have to be on the backs of poor kids.\u201d

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A federal judge has rejected claims by a Border Patrol agent that he can\u2019t be tried on murder charges in his court.

U.S. District Judge Raner Collins said the evidence shows that Lonnie Swartz was standing within a 60-foot zone adjacent to the international border when he shot 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, who was in Mexico.

Collins said he reads the law to say that zone is part of what he is known as the \u201cRoosevelt Reservation,\u201d an area first claimed by the federal government in 1897. And that, the judge said, means that Swartz, who now is on administrative leave, was standing on federal property when he fired the shot across the border that killed Rodriguez.

The ruling, unless overturned, clears the way for the criminal case against Swartz to proceed.

But Collins, in a separate ruling, blocked federal prosecutors from using at trial some statements Swartz made to a supervisor immediately following the shooting.

The judge said Swartz clearly believed he was compelled to make those statements because of Border Patrol policy. And Collins said such \u201ccompelled, coerced and involuntary\u201d statements are inadmissible.

Swartz is facing a separate civil lawsuit, also in federal court, filed by the mother of the victim. But that case remains on hold until an appellate court decides whether it has jurisdiction in that case.

There apparently is no dispute that Swartz fired the shots, 10 of which an autopsy showed entered from the back.

Swartz contends the boy was throwing rocks across the border, a contention that the boy\u2019s family denies.

What is in dispute is whether Swartz can face criminal charges in federal court.

Swartz\u2019s attorney, Sean Chapman, said his client was \u201cstanding within the state of Arizona and Santa Cruz County when he discharged his firearm.\u201d

That, Chapman argued, means Collins has no jurisdiction to hear the murder charges.

\u201cThere is no indication that the alleged crime was committed on federal land,\u201d Chapman argued.

Collins, however, did not see it that way.

He said the evidence shows the federal government claims a 60-foot stretch of land all along the international border.

And Collins rejected Chapman\u2019s claim that federal reservation disappeared after Arizona became a state in 1912.

\u201cEven if Arizona has not, in its enabling act, disclaimed all right and title to the lands at issue in this motion, this court would still be satisfied that the Roosevelt Reservation maintained its character after Arizona was admitted as a state of the union,\u201d the judge wrote.

\u201cIn the United States, the Constitution permits the state and federal governments to exercise concurrent jurisdiction without undue influence,\u201d Collins wrote. Anyway, he said, \u201cThe state of Arizona has not protested this court\u2019s assertion of jurisdiction over this matter.\u201d

The statements at issue were made by Swartz to supervisor Leo Cruz Mendez.

They included, \u201cThey were throwing rocks,\u201d \u201cThey hit the dog,\u201d and \u201cI shot and there\u2019s someone dead in Mexico.\u201d

Collins said Swartz clearly believed he \u201cwould be exposed to discipline up to and including removal\u201d if he did not answer the questions.

\u201cThe threatened penalty was, therefore, both sufficiently coercive and more than merely hypothetical,\u201d the judge concluded.

And Collins said the government, in its questioning, acted as his employer and cannot now use the same statements in its role as prosecutor.

The rulings, released Friday, do not resolve the separate question of whether the youth\u2019s mother can sue Swartz civilly in federal court.

In October, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments about whether she had standing to sue in federal court because her son was not in the United States at the time of the 2012 shooting.

The appellate justices have not yet ruled, waiting to see what the U.S. Supreme Court decides in a similar case out of Texas.

During arguments, Chapman pointed out that the boy was shot and died in Mexico.

And he argued that any ties the boy had to relatives in the United States were not enough to extend to him the protections of the U.S. Constitution.

But Lee Gelernt of the American Civil Liberties Union told the judges that\u2019s legally irrelevant.

\u201cWe don\u2019t think that you need to want to live in the U.S. to not be shot across the border,\u201d he said.

Gelernt warned the three-judge panel it would set a bad precedent to allow Swartz \u2014 and anyone else who fires shots across the border \u2014 to escape civil liability.

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The \u201couch/oops\u201d idea proved irresistibly precious.

In a 20-page document called \u201cDiversity and Inclusiveness in the Classroom,\u201d the University of Arizona\u2019s \u201cvice provost for inclusive excellence,\u201d Jes\u00fas Trevi\u00f1o, suggested a way of dealing with offenses committed in the college classroom, a method that apparently exists at several campuses.

\u201cIf a student feels hurt or offended by another student\u2019s comment, the hurt student can say \u2018ouch.\u2019 In acknowledgment, the student who made the hurtful comment says \u2018oops.\u2019 If necessary, there can be further dialogue about this exchange.\u201d

It\u2019s the kind of touchy-feely idea on college campuses these days that drives some people insane \u2014 I\u2019m often among them, shaking my head at the absurdity. And so, on March 15, Tucson radio talker Garret Lewis lambasted the guidelines on his KNST 790-AM morning show. Then the usual set of right-leaning outlets picked up the story.

Washington Free Beacon: \u201cNew \u2018Safe Space\u2019 Guidelines at University of Arizona Treat Students Like Preschoolers.\u201d

Breitbart News: \u201cUniversity of Arizona Instructs Students to Say \u2018Ouch!\u2019 when Offended.\u201d

Fox News: \u201cSnowflake Watch: Safe words for safe spaces.\u201d

None of the publications bothered to contact the UA, spokesman Chris Sigurdson told me. That\u2019s bad journalism.

Nevertheless, they weren\u2019t wrong in their criticisms. The guidelines seem to fetishize the idea of \u201cmarginalized\u201d groups and protecting their multiplying ranks from offense.

Introducing the guidelines, for example, Trevi\u00f1o wrote: \u201cIn addition, many campus constituents have social identities that historically have been underrepresented (e.g. Black/African Americans, Latinx/Chicanx/Hispanic, Asian American/Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, LGBTQIA+ folks, international students and employees, people with diverse religious affiliations, veterans, non-traditional students, women, first-generation college students, and people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds).\u201d

For those who haven\u2019t kept up, \u201clatinx\u201d was invented to replace the masculine-gendered adjective \u201clatino\u201d and also \u201clatin@,\u201d which originally replaced latino but was considered exclusionary because it only reflects masculine and feminine gender. \u201cLGBTQIA+\u201d takes in intersex people, asexual people, and anybody who isn\u2019t actively heterosexual.

Beyond the elaborate lingo, some of the ideas seemed obvious, juvenile or just plain strange.

\u201cCollages and other forms of art tap into students\u2019 creative and visual side,\u201d Trevino wrote. \u201cHere students might be asked to create a collage depicting intergroup relations or intergroup concepts and ideas.\u201d

Can you imagine spending your precious college years making a collage showing intergroup relations, concepts or ideas?! Better to save the tuition and go to truck-driving school.

\u2022 \u2022 \u2022

But I may be a particularly prickly audience for this kind of thing. I first heard the phrase \u201cP.C.\u201d when I visited Oberlin College in Ohio as a high school senior. It was 1986, and I had to ask to find out it meant \u201cpolitically correct.\u201d Then I had to ask what that meant. By the time I graduated from college there, I practically had a degree in political correctness.

By now, the phrase has become so pervasive and overused, it\u2019s practically lost all meaning.

But I got my deepest lesson in this uniform campus mindset when I was a college senior at Oberlin in April 1990. Larry Kramer, who founded the AIDS advocacy group Act Up, spoke at the auditorium one Friday night. After his inflaming speech, students gathered spontaneously outside the student union. After some speechifying by the usual campus activists, one of them proposed a march \u201cagainst bigotry\u201d to the college president\u2019s house a couple of blocks away.

To this day I regret not having the courage to raise my hand in that crowd of perhaps 100 students and ask the question on my mind: \u201cWhy?\u201d It was late at night. It seemed like an overly generic cause. And there was no particular reason to go to the college president\u2019s house.

But the march happened, and I hesitantly joined. A student rang the president\u2019s doorbell. Anticlimactically, nobody answered because they weren\u2019t home. So the decision was made to \u201csit in\u201d on the president\u2019s lawn. The whole thing was farcical and would have ended quickly, except the town police unexpectedly showed up. What happened next would not be called a \u201criot\u201d because there was little or no violence, but it certainly became a mass disturbance, with arrests, physical struggles, some baton swings, and police vehicles blocked in by gathering protesters.

Looking back, it was all pointless \u2014 the march, the police response, the disturbance, the arrests. And that, among other experiences, helped build my skepticism to initiatives like this new one at the UA.

\u2022 \u2022 \u2022

If you talk to Trevi\u00f1o and read the guidelines carefully, though, you see some valuable material in their heart. Most of all, it tries to show UA faculty members how to run classroom discussions so everyone is heard and everyone learns.

Trevi\u00f1o, hired as the university\u2019s diversity officer last year for a whopping $214,000 salary, told me he cobbled together the document from lessons he\u2019s learned, in rapid response to the 2016 general election. Some professors were having a hard time with polarizing classroom discussions and wanted suggestions, Trevi\u00f1o said. But the problems weren\u2019t and aren\u2019t pervasive.

\u201cMost of the teaching that takes place in higher education is free of conflict,\u201d he told me. \u201cAcross higher education, you do have these incidents, but it\u2019s not as if every day we can\u2019t talk to each other because people are offended.\u201d

Nobody outside the university took much notice of the document, sent to all faculty members. I\u2019m guessing few people inside the university took much notice either \u2014 till Lewis talked about it on the radio.

Trevi\u00f1o labeled the contents as \u201cmerely suggestions for faculty who want to engender the broadest possible perspectives, opinions, and experiences and to maximize free speech in the classroom.\u201d

While the document works to ensure the aforementioned \u201cmarginalized\u201d groups are heard and not subject to offenses, many of the suggestions would also protect politically conservative students or other minority viewpoints on campus.

\u201cIf you are going to express your political opinions in the classroom,\u201d Trevi\u00f1o wrote to the notoriously liberal faculty, \u201cunderstand that there is a risk of silencing students who do not agree with your views. As a faculty member, when you express your views to students you are doing so out of a position of power.\u201d

In another section, he writes, \u201cIt is important to constantly mix the students so that they can get to know everyone in class, not just those they are comfortable with.\u201d

One that really struck me, since I\u2019m a loudmouth, was, \u201cPeople who listen more than they speak often have more of value to share.\u201d Indeed.

So, yes, the phrase \u201cmicroaggression ,\u201d used often in these guidelines, makes me squirm. It could be used to enforce ideological uniformity if opposing viewpoints are labeled \u201cmicroaggressions\u201d against marginalized groups, requiring an \u201couch\u201d and an \u201coops\u201d of apology.

But if used honorably, many of the lessons could have the opposite effect: opening up discussions to broader, free-flowing speech rather than pinching it down.

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SAN JOSE, Calif. \u2013 Given the best possible NCAA Tournament path to a home-state Final Four appearance, the Arizona Wildcats dropped the ball Thursday night.

Or, rather, couldn\u2019t shoot the ball well enough to keep from blowing an eight-point lead in the final four minutes.

Second-seeded Arizona was upset 73-71 by 11th-seeded Xavier in the West Regional semifinal on Thursday while allowing the Musketeers to shoot 52.8 percent and missing three key shots in the final minute that might have tied or won the game.

After Dusan Ristic missed a heavily contested 10-footer with 51 seconds left and Sean O\u2019Mara scored inside to give Xavier the final two-point lead with 22 seconds left, Kadeem Allen missed a 15-foot jumper and Allonzo Trier missed a three-pointer with eight seconds left at SAP Center.

Each of those shots was at least somewhat contested by Xavier\u2019s ever-changing defense, so it was the Wildcats\u2019 defense that stuck heavily in the mind of UA coach Sean Miller. Not only did the Wildcats struggle to defend the crafty Musketeers much of the game, but they most critically allowed 3-pointers by Trevon Bluiett and Malcolm Bernard in the final 3:25 that put Xavier back in the game.

\u201cWhen you have teams fighting to stay alive, you have to jump,\u201d Miller said. \u201cYou have to run at them. You have to close out with great effort. You have to make them miss.\u201d

They didn\u2019t. The Wildcats only missed their shots, surprisingly even getting the last miss from Trier, who was so hot in the middle of the second half that he scored 15 straight points after a cold first half.

But just getting the Wildcats in a position to take the eight-point lead, and maybe advance to the West Region final, wasn\u2019t enough for the hyper-competitive Trier. He was upset about the last miss, and the loss, and wasn\u2019t about to consider anything else.

\u201cWe just lost the game,\u201d Trier said. \u201cThere\u2019s no other way to put it.\u201d

The loss ended UA\u2019s season at 32-5, while Xavier moved to 24-13 and into a region final Saturday against Gonzaga for a spot in the Final Four. For the Musketeers, the win avenged their 68-60 loss to Arizona in the 2015 Sweet 16.

\u201cIt feels good just to be able to kind of get that revenge that we have been looking for,\u201d Bluiett said. \u201cAnd, two, just to make it to the Elite Eight. It\u2019s been a while since the program has done it. And just to get back there it\u2019s a surreal feeling.\u201d

It was only the third time Miller has ever lost to a lower seeded team in the NCAA Tournament, but the second straight year, after sixth-seeded Arizona was bounced by 11th-seeded Wichita State in the first round last season.

Bluiett led Xavier with 25 points on 9-for-17 shooting, scoring 18 of his points in the first half.

Trier finished with 19 points while Ristic had 17. Lauri Markkanen had nine points and eight rebounds but only took nine shots, many of which were closely guarded by Xavier\u2019s ever-changing defense.

\u201cThey played really well defensively,\u201d Markkanen said. \u201cI did not get a good shot. They\u2019re a really good team.\u201d

Arizona built its eight-point lead with 3:44 remaining but a 7-0 run pulled Xavier into a 71-71 tie entering the final minute. After Ristic missed his 10-footer with 51 seconds left, Bluiett had the ball at the top of the key \u2013 but instead of driving or popping a 3, he sharply passed under the basket to O\u2019Mara who made what became the game-winning layup.

\u201cFortunately, Sean was able to catch a great pass by Tre and put it in,\u201d Xavier coach Chris Mack said.

UA had trouble at times throughout the game. The Wildcats trailed by two points entering the final seven minutes, but went on a 12-0 run to take a 67-61 lead, getting 3-pointers from Trier and Kadeem Allen during the run. Two free throws from Parker Jackson-Cartwright gave UA its eight-point lead before Xavier made its stretch-run comeback.

After Arizona took a two-point halftime lead, Xavier had gone on a 7-0 run early in the second half. The Musketeers hit 6 of 8 shots immediately after halftime, prompting Miller to call a timeout with 15:22 left.

UA went on a 7-0 run to take a 52-48 lead, but with 13 minutes to go, Allen and Bluiett were called for offsetting technical fouls after they had an animated conversation.

After the technicals, Bernard hit a 3-pointer and Quentin Goodin dunked to put Xavier back ahead 53-52 entering the final 11 minutes.

At the end of the first half, Rawle Alkins hit a 12-foot jumper just before the halftime buzzer to give Arizona a 37-35 halftime lead.

Alkins, who was playing with a broken index finger, missed his first four shots of the half.

He said the finger didn\u2019t bother him throughout the half, and tried to be upbeat afterward.

\u201cWe had a great year, and it just takes one loss for everyone to forget what we did all year,\u201d Alkins said. \u201cWe won the Pac-12 championship, the Pac-12 Tournament, and 32-5. We had a historic year for the team.

\u201cOf course we wanted more. But overall, it was a good season.\u201d

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SAN JOSE, Calif. \u2014 They say you live by the 3 and you die by the 3, and judging by the sunken, pale faces in the Arizona locker room in San Jose\u2019s SAP Center, it was clear which team\u2019s season died on Thursday night.

And like a crane falling from above, the Wildcats never saw it coming.

There are goals for the Arizona basketball program, and there are expectations, and there is a difference between the two, a difference so thin that the Wildcats could not see between the two after a 73-71 loss to the Xavier Musketeers in Thursday\u2019s Sweet 16 matchup.

The goal was simple: Get Sean Miller to his first Final Four.

The expectations were that Xavier would but a blip on that journey. The latest, if anything.

Instead, Dusan Ristic sat in the Arizona locker room shaking his head, staring at a future he could not even fathom.

\u201cI never thought about this before,\u201d he said. \u201cGoing into this game, we had so much confidence in our team. We had five days to prepare for Xavier, and we did a good job. They just played better. That\u2019s it. I never thought this could be our last game. It feels really weird right now.\u201d

This was a spring monsoon in Tucson, a flash flood without a warning.

The players didn\u2019t have time to grab umbrellas.

Now they\u2019re left looking up at a Final Four just a bus-ride away, underneath a rain cloud that will take a while to dissipate.

A year after a first-round exit against Wichita State, they go home with unfulfilled dreams. Last year, they knew they were lacking. This year, they thought they had the goods.

\u201cI remember last year was awful too, and I don\u2019t remember how long the feeling lasts,\u201d Ristic said. \u201cIt\u2019s a terrible feeling, one of the worst in basketball.\u201d

Added guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright: \u201cIt\u2019s going to take a couple days, maybe a couple weeks. Last year, we had to watch the rest of the whole tournament. You get this far, and you have high expectations. We expected to survive. To come up short is extremely tough.\u201d

And that\u2019s what happened to so many of Arizona\u2019s outside shots on Thursday \u2014 they came up short. Arizona shot 7-for-27 from 3-point range, but the players defended their shot selection after the game. Allonzo Trier, whose last-gasp 3-point attempt rimmed out, believed he had good looks all night, even if he went 3-for-10 from behind the arc. Rawle Alkins, who managed just four points in 31 minutes, put the blame on everything, everything but Arizona\u2019s preparation.

\u201cUpsets happen all the time,\u201d he said. \u201cWe came in prepared. We didn\u2019t come in thinking they were an 11-seed and we can\u2019t lose.\u201d

Ultimately, the perennially under-seeded Musketeers proved that under Chris Mack and playing in the Big East, they deserve far better.

So did Arizona players on Thursday.

\u201cI don\u2019t have a sense for this,\u201d Ristic said. \u201cI can\u2019t imagine our season is done. When you play for a program like Arizona, you have the highest possible expectations and goals. And when you don\u2019t fulfill those goals, there\u2019s a funny feeling. You feel empty.\u201d

One locker room over, the Xavier locker room was filled with joy. Players who believed in themselves all year, but couldn\u2019t believe their fortune.

The Musketeers are still dancing.

\u201cThis is madness,\u201d Xavier center Sean O\u2019Hara said. \u201cOnce you\u2019re in this, you never know what\u2019s going to happen.\u201d

For one team, yes, it\u2019s March Madness.

For the other, March Sadness, and they just hope the rain cloud goes away before April.

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