Arizona basketball: SIDELINES

2013-02-27T00:00:00Z 2014-08-01T11:27:27Z Arizona basketball: SIDELINESBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 27, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Work to do

Forward Kevin Parrom has a request for Arizona's Senior Day game against ASU on March 9 at McKale Center.

"I want to cut down the nets," he said.

Parrom says he's "selfish" because he doesn't want to share the Pac-12 title with anybody, but winning the conference outright would most likely require the Wildcats to sweep this weekend and beat the Sun Devils in the regular-season finale.

They would also need Oregon to lose at least once, though the Ducks still must take a potentially difficult trip to Colorado and Utah next weekend.

If the Wildcats don't win the league outright, they may not get the Pac-12's No. 1 seed, either. At 11-4, Arizona is in a loss-column tie with Oregon and UCLA at the top of the conference, and just a game ahead of California.

But because the Wildcats have lost to all three of those teams, they are likely to lose tiebreakers involving them. Pac-12 tournament tiebreakers are first settled by head-to-head competition among tied teams or records within groups of tied teams.

Yeah, it's a mess

Not only is there a three-way virtual tie for first, but six Pac-12 teams are within two games of first place.

That hardly surprises UA coach Sean Miller.

"One of the things that's really not categorized correctly is which conference has that runaway champion?" Miller said. "A lot of people would say the conference race is really tight, and maybe it is … but if you just look around college basketball, there's going to be one game, maybe two, that separate teams. Our conference is like that.

"With two weeks left, there's very little separation because there's a lot of good teams in our conference."

That time of year

UA guards Mark Lyons and Nick Johnson have been bogged down by illness over the past month, and this time USC center Omar Oraby is afflicted.

Oraby, the 7-foot-2-inch center who had 11 points and five rebounds against UCLA on Sunday, did not practice Monday with "some type of virus," Trojans interim coach Bob Cantu said.

USC is also expected to be without wing Ari Stewart, who was lost for at least three weeks on Feb. 10 with a fractured left thumb.

Debt owed to Trojans

With onetime USC recruit Solomon Hill making his final appearance at the Galen Center, Miller was asked again on the Pac-12 teleconference call about taking in three prominent would-be Trojans in 2009: Hill, Williams and MoMo Jones.

Hill backed out of his non-binding commitment to USC shortly after Miller was hired in April 2009, but Williams and Jones didn't get out of their binding letters of intent until then-USC coach Tim Floyd left USC in the wake of an NCAA inquiry.

"I'm certainly not happy that happened to Tim Floyd. He's a great coach, and that was a tough situation," Miller said. "But we certainly benefited at a time of great need. One of the things we had to offer was great opportunity."

Sure enough, Hill started 21 of 31 games as a freshman in 2009-10, the lightly recruited Williams blossomed into the No. 2 NBA draft pick in 2011, and Jones took over the point guard role in 2010-11 before transferring to Iona, where he is now the nation's second-leading scorer (23.0 points per game).

Giving him space

While Derrick Williams visited Tucson to help open his apparel/shoe store Monday, Miller didn't put pressure on him to stop by. Williams told Miller he may be able to catch tonight's game, since his Timberwolves will be in Los Angeles to play the Lakers on Thursday.

"Obviously, his No. 1 priority is the Timberwolves," Miller said. "I try to leave him alone. He's a young guy with a lot on his plate. We're proud of him, but we also want him to focus on what he needs to focus on. If he can have some extra time to deal with us, great, we'd love to see him."

Wear down

UCLA, meanwhile, did not have half of its Wear twins available for USC when Travis Wear suffered a right foot injury in practice Saturday.

Bruins coach Ben Howland hesitated to say Tuesday if Travis would be available this week against either ASU tonight or UA on Saturday.

"I don't want to make a comment one way or another," Howland said. "I would say he's doubtful (for ASU), and there's a chance he'll be ready for Saturday."

Travis Wear has started in all 25 games he's played, averaging 11.6 points and 5.4 rebounds.

No. 11 Arizona at USC, 7:30 p.m. today, Pac-12 Arizona, 1290-AM, 107.5-FM

He said it …

"Until (the Trojans lost to USC), they were maybe the hottest team in the Pac-12. They've got size, quickness and scoring ability. Omar Oraby and Aaron Fuller are helping them off the bench. Terrell is good enough to lead the Pac-12 in scoring, Byron Wesley is shooting (48.3 percent) in conference from three, and Eric Wise is the ultimate mismatch with his athletic, physical presence and ability to step outside."

Book Richardson, Arizona assistant coach who scouted the Trojans

No. 11 Arizona at UCLA, 7 p.m. Saturday, ESPN, 1290-AM, 107.5-FM

He said it …

"They're getting better every week. They've played some great games and had some big lapses, which is not surprising considering their youth. The biggest difference (since Jan. 24) is the improved play of Kyle Anderson. He's a playmaker and a terrific rebounder. (Defensively) they play a few possessions of zone, but they're a very good man-to-man team."

James Whitford, Arizona associate head coach who scouted the Bruins

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