When UA beat Oregon on Senior Day to clinch the Pac-10 title two years ago, MoMo Jones led the Wildcats through the Zona Zoo and the Wildcats snipped the nets.
That won’t be happening Saturday no matter how UA does against ASU, which bothers Sean Miller.
The Wildcats can only get a share of the Pac-12 title if they beat the Sun Devils on Saturday, and Oregon loses to both Colorado and Utah, which isn’t exactly the kind of scenario they were expecting.
“I’m very disappointed that we didn’t win our conference championship at this point,” Miller said today during his weekly news conference. “I know a number of things could go our way and maybe we would share it or something but we got all the way to game 17 being able to make this game on Saturday about a lot of things -- not just Senior Day or playing Arizona State -- but also having a chance to be a part of a regular season conference championship, and that’s been one of our goals from the outset. We didn’t meet that.
“Certainly we were not very far off but when you think about our performance in L.A. this week it’s disappointing because of the circumstances. It’s not just this past week. it’s the Cal home game or whatever game you want to point to that prevented us from being a part of it this Saturday.”
Miller said that the chance to land in a tie for first place --- Oregon would have to lose to Colorado tonight and then also lose at Utah on Saturday – would be nice but that any other tie makes little difference.
He said repeatedly that all that matters now is the focus on ASU, and how much respect the Wildcats have for the Sun Devils.
“The bigger picture is (with a win) you’re 24-6, winning 12 games in conference and having a bye in Vegas if we beat Arizona State and being a part of the (NCAA) tournament not … and once we’re there, we’ll see where that goes,” Miller said. “That’s a big picture right now that I don’t really believe we’re even talking about. It’s so much about the respect we have for ASU and the opportunity to win our 12th game. It’s not going to be easy. I think we’ll all feel really good if we’re able to do it here on Saturday.”
Hill was asked what personal accomplishment would make Saturday’s game special.
“Um. Dunking on Bachynski,” Hill said of 7-foot-2 center Jordan Bachynski, drawing laughter. “That would be cool. I think that would really start us off and get us going in the right way.
Seriously, Hill added:
“Anything that anybody can look back on and remember me from this game would be great no matter what it is -- whether it’s a save it’s a block or another fullcourt shot (Hill made a three-quarter-court shot at WSU), it doesn’t matter to me.”
The Oakland Tribune's Jeff Faraudo looked at how Las Vegas is becoming a championship week headquarters, with four conference tourneys scheduled there this season.
The big game to watch tonight in the Pac-12 is Oregon at Colorado (7 p.m., ESPN2). If the Ducks win they clinch a share of the league title; if Colorado wins and also beats OSU, they would kick UA into a first-round Pac-12 Tourney game if the Wildcats lose to ASU.
Also at 7 p.m. (on ESPNU), OSU will play at Utah.
Not surprisingly, Ken Bone says WSU's upset of UCLA was a "huge confidence builder."