Excuse the Arizona Wildcats if they're a bit confused by the calendar this weekend.
The start of practice today arrives in September, instead of October ... and yet coach Sean Miller also wants to make it feel a bit like January.
That is, instead of just installing the usual early bits of his offense, Miller says he will also have the Wildcat offense facing the same kinds of zone defense they saw last season at Oregon, and in a second-half slide against Cal. Maybe even some wacky Oregon State-type stuff, too.
"I want to make sure that we're really comfortable playing against a zone, and we're not necessarily a zone team," Miller said. "Sometimes early in the year, because you’re working on so much (of your own system), you don’t deal with the things or styles that you don’t do yourself.
"We don’t want to approach this season like that. It's important we get a lot of reps against differnet defenses and get comfortable right out of the chute."
The Oregon and Cal games eat away at Miller in particular because he said last year's team was "one or two wins away from a good season going to a great season," and he said he's concerned that the Wildcats will face even more zone this season.
Not only do opponents have those two game DVDs to analyze but the Wildcats may be also even more tempting to zone this season, with their big, talented and versatile front line, and their potential weakness in shooting (though Miller says UA will be OK there).
"I believe that we’re going to face a lot of zone defenses, and I think it would be foolish for us as a coaching staff to ignore that," Miller said. "Instead of worrying about it, I believe we're going to embrace it, spend time being comfortable with different combinations (we could face).
"These additional eight practices will also have a significant focus (on them). Part of (playing against) a zone is when you get comfortable and get off to a good start, you settle into a comfort zone for the entire season."
Primavera's Michael Finkelstein, who has been organizing the showing of the 1997 title game tonight at the Fox Theatre, was only too happy to have his parents in town when we carried a story on our front sports page about his event.
Finkelstein said he watched the 1997 game with friends to help get over the Wildcats' 2005 Elite Eight meltdown, and now is trying to use it to raise awareness and money for charity.
"I grew up telling my parents I was going to be on the front sports page for hitting the big three-point shot," Finkelstein said. "I finally got on it -- for being a crazy fan."
Tickets for the event are $25. Many of the players from that game are scheduled to be on hand and are scheduled to appear during timeouts.
What Strip? UA target Stephen Zimmerman of Las Vegas just plays basketball.
Jeff Goodman looks at the is-Aaron-Gordon-really-a-three question.
This probably goes in the under-the-radar news category, but WSU has for now lost a potentially critical piece when juco transfer Danny Lawhorn was suspended for unspecified reasons.
Lawhorn averaged 9.0 assists over his two-year junior college career, and he's one of the factors the Cougars need to stay out of the Pac-12 basement this season.