If the Arizona basketball preseason has seemed a little different so far this fall, some "normalcy" will return for the Wildcats' first exhibition game Wednesday.
That is, Bill Walton will work the 7 p.m. UA-Eastern New Mexico game as the Pac-12 Networks' analyst, with Ted Robinson doing the play by play.
Judging from the unscientific measure of Twitter notifications, this is a good thing in the eyes of most fans. One even suggested that Walton's popularity could even dent ticket sales:
Was thinking about going to the game, I'll watch it from home now !— Jonathan Vázquez (@j_vazquez_93) October 30, 2017
But not everyone feels that way...
CBS Sports has Arizona and USC listed as "Wild Cards" in the national title hunt because of the FBI clouds hanging over them.
"With the knowledge that Arizona -- and other schools listed below -- apparently had assistants caught on video or wiretap accepting bribes to steer players to their schools, we have to acknowledge that eligibility issues with a player, or two or three are possible," Matt Norlander wrote. "Sean Miller's situation seems stable at the moment, but could that change before the season is done?"
Colorado coach Tad Boyle is fuming over the academic ineligibility of big man Evan Battey, who struggled as a ninth-grader, especially considering what else is going on around college basketball.
"He got back on track, and Evan Battey gets punished and North Carolina gets off scot-free. And so are the four schools and coaches indicted by the FBI," Boyle told Buffzone.com. "I'm not sure where the justice is in that. That's for other people to decide. But I'm extremely disappointed."'
Rob Dauster of NBC Sports says the Battey decision is one of a few infuriating decisions the NCAA has made lately.
Eastern New Mexico will be playing Arizona Christian on Monday at 7:30 (you can watch the stream here) before traveling to McKale Center for Wednesday's game.
Chris Mullin is planning to give departed UA transfer Justin Simon some playmaking responsibilities at St. John's this season.
After meeting with the United States Basketball Writers Association, the NCAA Men's Basketball Oversight Committee has asked schools to consider some "best practices" similar to those in the NCAA Tournament.
Specifically, it recommended that teams open their locker rooms (or another designated spot where all players are made available) for 15 minutes after a cooling-off period. It also requested that interviews be allowed for 15 minutes before or after a practice once a week and that the coach be available at least once between games.
Those standards are closer to the liberal access policies mandated during the NCAA Tournament, when media (and by extension, fans) get to hear from more sides involved and in a less formal situation. Our coverage of Arizona is typically deeper during the NCAA tournament as a result.
During the regular season, Arizona usually will have Miller and two or three players available at a podium for a weekly press conference and after games.