So yeah, there's a lot of little storylines in this Arizona and Memphis match-up.
By now you know the storyline. Josh Pastner went to Arizona and grew into a Division I head coach before heading to Memphis and taking over as head coach after John Calipari's departure.
Then there's the Derrick Williams recruiting saga, which saw Arizona's All-American come down to Pastner's Tigers before his mother talking into him remain to his word and visit Tucson rather than commit on his official to Memphis.
In Tulsa, Okla., there's more Wildcat connections that extend to the other teams that aren't even in the West bracket of the NCAA Tournament.UNLV is in the Southwest bracket and their athletic director is former UA AD Jim Livengood. His daughter, Michelle, is married to Memphis assistant Jack Murphy, who worked his way up the ranks with Arizona under head coach Lute Olson. Murphy spent a lot of time with the NBA's Denver Nuggets before Pastner grabbed him and brought Murphy onto his Memphis coaching staff.
At the end of the day, however, it's going to come down to who's on the court and the strategic styles of both Pastner and Arizona head coach Sean Miller. Here's a little catch-you-up of what to look for in this game
They've got a star in Williams. Outside of that however, there's not a boatload of talent. Honestly, Miller's coaching is so great because of how much he's gotten out of (relatively) so little.
Think about it -- there's probably not an NBA-level prospect on the roster outside of Williams, although you could make the argument for Solomon Hill, but that's based on his skill set rather than what's he's produced thus far.
Anyway, consistency is what got Arizona 27 wins. Can they continue the trend against a Memphis team that probably has more talent, but is a bit of a toss-up when it comes to which team will show up?
Like the Arizona teams under Hall of Famer Lute Olson, Pastner allows his teams to do a bit of free-lancing. That means recruiting the horses to pull the carriage and then, well, not really being too restrictive in how they pull the carriage.
That leaves room for such a young team to get picked apart by better execution (like Arizona), but it also puts the Wildcats at risk of getting caught up in a run-and-gun game they're not used to, a style similar to Washington.
Having Kyle Fogg back helps the Wildcats against the Tigers, who wil likely run out four guards. Stopping freshman Joe Jackson at point and Will Barton at the 2 will be essential for Fogg and UA point guard Momo Jones.
So while Memphis has more pure talent that the Wildcats, it will come down to how well they play together as a team. Pastner has stressed unselfishness, but who knows what happens in an NCAA Tournament atmosphere.
What do you think prevails? Memphis' youth and talent, or Arizona's consistency?