A View from the Zoo: What a Week for Arizona Athletics


What a week it's been for the University of Arizona.  Potentially the only bigger week in my memory was when Lute retired and then really retired.  If you or any of your Wildcat friends decided this was the extended weekend you were going camping deep into the forest, I feel kind of bad for you.

Thrilling, exciting, and shocking, with a little head scratching sum up the events of the past week just fine.

It all began with the basketball team traveling to New York City and arguably the most famous arena in sports; Madison Square Garden.  Arizona opened up the 2K Classic, Coaches vs Cancer tournament with a 81-72 victory over "host" St. Johns.   

It was a game many had focused on due to the Red Storm's athleticism as well as being the Wildcats first away game of this young season.

However, all the momentum of starting off 4-0 dissipated as Arizona came out of halftime sluggish versus Mississippi State, eventually losing by 10, 67-57. 

But any disappointment from fans about the loss to the Bulldogs, was gone as all attention shifted to Saturday's Territorial Cup game versus Tempe Community College...I mean Arizona State University. 

Not many, including yours truly, thought Arizona had a high probability of coming out of the game with the 'Cup.'  However, Arizona came out firing, taking a 14 point lead, only to go into the half down 21- 17.  

This game, staying true to past games, stayed tight down to the final seconds.  With Arizona up by four, with four seconds left, the defense which had let UA down the entire season, finally came through. (Here are the highlights.)

With the victory, Arizona salvaged what was left of their mostly disastrous season and gave Interim Head Coach Tim Kish the biggest victory of his short career. 

Here is the team singing "Bear Down, Arizona" in the locker room after the game.  This is what college is about, beating your rival and then celebrating by singing your fight song. Beautiful. 

The University of Arizona and fans had a day to decompress from all the excitement before everything hit the fan. In a good way that is. 

Going into Thanksgiving week, coaching rumors for who the next Arizona coach were swirling like usual, until Athletic Director Greg Byrne sent this via his twitter platform. 

Rich Rodriguez.

The Arizona community seems to have welcomed him with open arms, I however, have some reservations.  They stem primarily from his time as top-dog at Michigan.  Even though fellow writer Kevin Zimmerman wrote earlier this week about how he did not fit with the Michigan culture, it still worries me.  

A good coach should have the ability to win, even with pressure.  The other concern I have is how he will fare on the West coast.  He's never coached a game west of Iowa, so an obvious question is how will he run practices when its 110 degrees out?  

Luckily, I have a lot of faith and confidence in Greg Byrne who did his homework on Coach Rodriguez.  Even with those concerns listed above, I believe Arizona will have an obvious retooling/rebuilding year next season, and then begin to show dominance in a division with teams who can't seem to ever be consistent, save for USC.  

Sadly as my economics teacher mentioned to my clas, everything that goes up, must come down, which is exactly what happened.  With all the excitement of the victory against the Sun Devils and hiring of a new coach, Arizona basketball of all sports, gave fans a huge letdown. Who woulda thunk?

Arizona started the game down 20-4 to the Aztecs of San Diego State, but made a game out of it coming back to nearly even the score at 31-29 going into halftime.  But then, customary of a young team, they proceeded to give the game right back to SDSU.  Arizona did however play with some heart and made the game interesting within the last few minutes, but ended up losing 61-57. 

Also lost in the madness was the Arizona Volleyball team beating ASU on senior night three games to one.  Felt it would be unfair to not mention their accomplishment and say thanks to all the seniors who gave four years of their lives to the betterment of this university.  

Some highlights from the weekend via Arizona Athletics:

Intro video to SDSU game.

Football Seniors and Territorial Cup Presentation

SDSU v Arizona highlights

 

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