Senatorial oversight

In Tucson for a fundraising event, Arizona Sen. John McCain and wife Cindy arrived at McKale Center at halftime.

They sat courtside with UA president Robert Shelton, and brought a special guest: newly elected Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass. Brown hosted a reception at the Arizona Inn at 2 p.m.

McCain said he was thrilled to catch a game before the stumping started, calling McKale Center "the greatest atmosphere anywhere."

The McCains attended the 1997 national title game in Indianapolis, watching amid a sea of Kentucky fans as Arizona experienced the best moment in its history.

"It was probably one of the highlights of my life," McCain said.

The Republican said he watches the Wildcats on television, and that he is "very proud of this team."

USC point guard Mike Gerrity did a double-take when he saw the 2008 presidential candidate courtside.

"I was like, 'Hey, that's pretty cool,'" he said.

KO OK with boos

USC coach - and one-time UA coach-in-waiting - Kevin O'Neill received a smattering of boos when his name was announced during player introductions.

We estimated about 70 percent cheers and 30 percent boos, but nothing too fierce.

O'Neill was fine with the taunting.

"Isn't that what everybody's supposed to do?" he said. "That's how fans are supposed to act. Arizona has great fans. I'd be disappointed if they didn't support the team as hard as they do. …

"They're great people; it's a great city; they got a great program; Sean (Miller) is doing a great job."

Gerrity said he "couldn't tell a difference of emotions or a different persona" from his coach when USC played his former employer.

UA players seemed annoyed that, after O'Neill shook hands with Miller, he promptly walked off the court while the Wildcats celebrated at halfcourt.

When Arizona's Nic Wise was asked if he talked to O'Neill before or after the game, teammate Jamelle Horne cut him off.

"Not even after the game," Horne said. "He didn't shake our hands after the game."

Wise smiled.

"Still got much love for KO," the senior guard said. "If y'all see him or talk to him, let him know I said hello."

The big number

3-18 USC's three-pointers made and attempted, a paltry 16.7 percent.


Former baseball manager Earl Weaver would have loved it.

At the end of regulation, after Arizona guard Kyle Fogg had made all three free throws to tie the game with two-tenths of a second left, O'Neill screamed at official Bill Kennedy.

Kennedy walked across the court and right up to O'Neill, and the two argued nose to nose in O'Neill's own huddle.

When Kennedy whistled two fouls against the UA in overtime, O'Neill cheered Kennedy mockingly, saying "Alright, Billy!"

Kennedy drew the ire of UA fans after officials whistled two traveling calls at the end of the first overtime.

Before the start of the second extra frame, a heckler asked Kennedy, incredulously, if he had money on the game.

"I do," he said, joking along. "On Arizona State."


"Check all these major investigations when people get sanctioned and all that. ...So for our guys to suck it up and win 16 games this year and be competitive in every single game says a lot about them as people and players."

Kevin O'Neill, on his self-sanctioned team playing its last game of the year.

Patrick Finley