ARIZONA BASKETBALL

Young Wildcats eager to be at home for 5 of last 7 games

2010-02-09T00:00:00Z 2014-07-24T09:34:06Z Young Wildcats eager to be at home for 5 of last 7 games Bruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 09, 2010 12:00 am  • 

Please forgive the Arizona Wildcats if they feel a little lost over the next four weeks.

They'll be playing most of their games at McKale Center.

After Arizona lost 78-60 at Washington State on Saturday, coach Sean Miller noted that no other BCS conference school has played fewer home games than the Wildcats, who had played just 11 to that point.

"And we're a team honestly, with our youth and margin for error, that just needs to return home," Miller said. "Five of our next seven games are at home, and I feel like our guys have been out on the road playing in virtually every arena."

UA team publicist Richard Paige researched the BCS or "power conference" teams (those from the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC) on Monday and found that, indeed, none have played fewer than the 11 home games UA has, and none have played more combined road/neutral games than the Wildcats have (12).

In addition, UA's three true road wins (UCLA, Oregon and ASU) are already more than last season's Sweet 16 Wildcats, which beat only the Oregon teams outside of Arizona during the regular season.

Paige also noted that through Sunday, Arizona's 11 home opponents had a cumulative record of 161-94 (.631), while the 12 road/neutral foes were 169-104 (.619).

As a result, UA's strength of schedule is ranked No. 1 by kenpom.com, as well as No. 2 by Sagarin.

One-bid league?

Of course, it's one thing to play tough teams and another to beat them.

That's why, with a 12-11 record and a 1-7 mark against teams in the Sagarin Top 50, Arizona was promptly booted this week from the NCAA tournament projections of both ESPN's Bracketology and Bracketography.com, both of which included the Wildcats last week after they beat California.

Both Web sites had only the Golden Bears in their 65-team projections out of the Pac-10, though the league could get at least two bids if Cal wins it outright and somebody else wins the conference tournament to receive the accompanying automatic bid.

OSU fans tease Kent

The most difficult Pac-10 road experience over the weekend actually might have belonged to Oregon coach Ernie Kent, whose Ducks were pounded by 20 points at rival Oregon State.

Beaver fans made a reference to Kent's job status, too.

"Goodbye, Er-nie!" they said, according to the Oregonian.

However, the Ducks are hardly out of the wide-open Pac-10 race at 4-6 (12-10 overall) as they enter a Thursday night game against Arizona at McKale Center.

"The biggest thing is to not panic," Kent told the Eugene Register-Guard Sunday. "We'll regroup and get 'em going again."

Pondexter honored

Washington forward Quincy Pondexter was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week on Monday after he scored 30 points and had 12 rebounds in the Huskies' 81-75 win over Arizona on Thursday. Pondexter also had 17 points and seven rebounds Saturday against ASU.

It was the fourth time this season Pondexter has won the award.

Up next

• What: Oregon at Arizona

• When: 8:30 p.m., Thursday

• TV: FSAZ

• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM, 990-AM (Spanish)

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