Stoudamire warns Cats
If the Gonzaga Bulldogs think they’re going to pull one on the Arizona Wildcats, they’ve got another thing coming.
Damon Stoudamire has the Wildcats on the lookout.
The Arizona legend and assistant coach suffered three disappointing upsets in four years — to East Tennessee State in 1992, to Santa Clara in 1993 and to Miami (Ohio) in 1995 — and he hasn’t forgotten any of them.
The loss to Santa Clara still stings the most.
“I really think this — if they would’ve had a Pac-10 tournament back then, we’d have been better off,” Stoudamire said. “We didn’t have that tournament back then, and for me it was a dry run for the NCAA. We’d never done one-and-done. We’d never played those types of games, and I think we had nerves.”
Stoudamire on McConnell
Asked about the similarities he sees with T.J. McConnell, Stoudamire deferred.
“I was asked to do different things than him,” he said. “He’s more of a pure point guard. I scored and assisted. There’s not a lot of comparison in terms of our individual games.”
Despite their differences, Stoudamire tries to stay on the Wildcats’ floor leader.
“For him, it’s about staying even-keeled, not being so emotionally high strung,” Stoudamire said. “Stay in the middle. It’s never as good as you might think, or as bad as you might think. He needs to understand his teammates, get guys involved; if a guy’s got a frown on his face, maybe you have to give him a look.”
Stoudamire did have some advice for the Arizona guards, though.
“Watching David Stockton on film, I try to tell those guys, don’t take him for granted,” Stoudamire said. “Guys took his dad for granted for a long time and he’s a hall of famer. He’s a valuable player for them — we’ve got to put ball pressure on him. If you back off and allow him to pick you apart, that’s what he does. Gary Bell, Kevin Pangos, those guys can score the ball. Traditionally they’ve always had good guards; nothing changed this year.”
UCLA on a run
The Bruins’ Pac-12 tournament title game win over Arizona had them skipping.
A thorough win over Tulsa on Friday had them dancing.
UCLA handled the Golden Hurricanes, 76-59, on Friday, giving their confidence boost an extension heading into Sunday’s matchup with Stephen F. Austin.
“We picked up some good wins last weekend in Vegas, got a good one last night, so I think our guys have bought into what it takes to win games,” Kyle Anderson said. “We play a very good team tomorrow, so we gotta buy into what our coaches tell us and stay together as a team.”
Gordon weighing in
Aaron Gordon’s charmed high school career ended in style, and as he nears the close of what will likely be his lone college season, he was asked if it met his expectations.
“It’s not over so I can’t really say,” he said. “We didn’t win the Pac-12 tournament, and that’s heartbreaking to me. I didn’t expect that. I expected to win everything, and sometimes that doesn’t happen.”
Can Alford move to Sweet 16?
UCLA head coach Steve Alford has not led a team into the Sweet 16 since 1999, and part of the difficulties has been his teams’ ability to adjust to an unfamiliar opponent.
Stephen F. Austin won’t offer much help – the Lumberjacks have won 29 straight.
“Their last loss was on my birthday, by coach Murray Bartow, who is a good friend of mine, and East Tennessee State,” Alford said. “That’s a long time. The scary part is on one day prep, you’re preparing for somebody that doesn’t know anything but winning and that’s a great credit to their coaching staff and players.”