Editor's note: To understand this at all, you have to know that I really love Taco Bell's Beefy Crunch Burritos. That is all.
Disappointment always needs perspective.
If the employees at Taco Bell put nacho cheese on your Beefy Crunch Burrito after you had asked them to leave it out, you can be pissed off and refuse to eat said burrito. Or, you can look at the positive side -- yes, you're going to get killer heartburn, but the nacho cheese doesn't take away from the fact it is still a delicious Beefy Crunch Burrito.
Is eating it worth it?
When the Arizona Wildcats lost to rival Arizona State to end the regular season, it was indeed a killer to a resume that was on the bubble as is. The loss dropped Sean Miller's ball club to the No. 4 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament, still in the much-needed top four teams that would only have to play three games in three days to win it all rather than four in four days.
As it was before the ASU loss, the Wildcats still needed a win or even two to go dancing in March. And that's definitely the case now, although there's some positives if this year's team doesn't have the firepower and depth to win the championship game should they make it.
That's because perspective is this: Arizona will most likely face the two teams in the Pac-12 that will cause them the most trouble. That'd be UCLA and Washington.
Perspective says that's a blessing in disguise.Like the Beefy Crunch Burrito with the nacho cheese, conquering the team most-feared squads -- UW because they're just good and UCLA because they present so many match-up problems for the Wildcats -- could help Arizona in the end, even if they can't pull out a Pac-12 Tournament Championship.
They can take it on and grow, or throw it away in anticipation of getting it right next time.
Of course, they absolutely need to beat the Bruins and Huskies (again, we presume they'll be the two teams in the way), but that might be juuuust enough for the Wildcats to sneak into the NCAA tournament.
ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi told Bruce Pascoe that there's a one in three shot of Arizona making it should that be the case. The Wildcats' RPI, currently sitting at No. 76 in the nation, could slide up just enough to make it in, but with Oregon hopping over them in the overall scheme of things after this past week, they'll need some help on the other side of the Pac-12 bracket as well.
But here's this: Should Arizona have made the tournament either way, the team as is wasn't likely to make a deep run in it. Defense has been one of the only things considered consistent about this squad -- something's missing still.
Beating the Bruins again will be difficult. Put that together with a win over a Washington squad that twice looked, quite simply, just too good for the Wildcats to compete with, and maybe Arizona will have earned the right to be in the tournament.
As of now, that isn't the case, and hoping for a mercy bid from the committee in the end won't end up being a huge mark for the program if the Wildcats get sent packing in the first round. They'll have to suck it up and earn their way in.
Downing that Beefy Crunch Burrito with the nacho cheese, though daunting, might be well worth it in the end.
Because we all know how delicious they are -- with or without the nacho cheese.