With an interesting weekend behind them, the Arizona Wildcats head to Washington looking for a much-needed road sweep.
We give our thoughts on what will happen up there, but also how to describe last week. Plus, should the Pac-12 do what the SEC and Big 12 did this past weekend?
Jason Bartel: If the Oregon week was a song, what would that song be?
Gabe Encinas: Swish by Mike Stud. Really has nothing to do with Oregon, but I've really been feeling Mike Stud's new album and the song title is related to basketball.
Brandon Hill: Relative to the Oregon game specifically, it would be Eminem's "Lose Yourself". It was a time to get hyped and spit fire with all eyes on them (and as they only play Oregon once in the regular season, it was their "one shot"). Instead, they barfed up mom's spaghetti.
David Potts: Shook Ones, Pt. II by Mobb Deep. "Scared to death, scared to look, they shook" describes Arizona pretty well in the second half of that Oregon game.
James Hartman: "Holding out for a Hero" by Bonnie Tyler. Done giggling? But seriously, Arizona's performance against Oregon had fans wondering "where are all the Gods?" Not one Arizona player became a "white knight upon a fiery steed," and Oregon transformed into a "street-wise Hercules to fight the rising odds." Now, against Oregon State, Ryan Anderson raced "on the thunder" by recording another double-double as Gabe York's three-point shooting kept "rising with the heat." Maybe neither of them were "Superman," but the win "swept" Arizona fans off their feet. Thank you.
Ivan Leonard: 50 Cent's 21 questions comes to mind because I have many questions that need answering. For one, how do you make 11 of your first 12 shots and still lose? It's ok though because I still have love for them.
JB: The SEC/Big 12 Challenge this past weekend was pretty interesting. Would you want the Pac-12 to do that with another conference in the middle of conference play?
GE: Not in particular, but if I have to choose a conference to go up against it would be the SEC or Big East. The Big 12, Big Ten and ACC would all destroy the Pac-12 and I don't think that's a very good look. People say that the Pac-12 is deep this year, and it is, but just with slightly above average talent. But going up against conferences stacked with great talent towards the top, that's tough. I don't think we could count on teams like Colorado, Washington or California, teams that are considered to be upper half, for wins in a conference challenge.
BH: I say yes. The Pac-10 and Big 12 had their series from 2007-2010 in response to the long standing challenge series between the ACC and Big Ten. I really liked those games. Now that the Big 12 and ACC are meeting up, I'd love to see the Pac-12 come up with a similar situation. Creates additional exposure to the league and, more importantly, opportunities for non-conference wins on your NCAA Tourney resume. Year-to-year things would be cyclical in terms of competitiveness but I would see it as a big net positive for the league. I like the idea of head-to-head conference bragging rights.
DP: Not during the conference slate. I'm all for playing another conference (preferably the Big Ten) during the non-conference schedule in one of those types of match-ups, but I don't want to disrupt conference schedules (and fall out of the associated routines and habits) just to do it.
JH: Absolutely. There is some criticism about having dumped the SEC/Big 12 Challenge in the middle of conference play, but I'm not one of those voicing it. It keeps teams on their toes by providing something different for which they have to quickly change their mindset. Which conference? I would vote for the physicality of the Big Ten. Michigan State in McKale? That could be epic.
IL: I would like that because it could possibly strengthen Pac-12 resumes. One common complaint is the strength of schedule teams have and a slate against another conference could be the difference between a few extra Pac-12 teams making the tourney.
JB: Predictions for the Washington trip:
GE: Washington State should cause no problem and it would be nice to see Allonzo Trier back in the lineup to fine-tune everything for Washington. That game doesn't necessarily worry me, but with this team and the Huskies playing at home, you just never know.
BH: On one hand, Arizona dispatched the Washington schools easily in Tucson a little over two weeks ago. On the other, this is a road trip and the Cats have been much different on the road. Plus, the feel of this team has changed since then. Seattle in particular is never an easy place to play. I'm going to lay my hubris aside and say the Cats will be fortunate to leave the state of Washington unscathed. If Allonzo Trier does in fact return, though, that's a big shot in the arm.
DP: I think the most likely outcome is that the Wildcats sweep. Washington is super overrated, in my mind, and Washington State is bad. But all that said, it's hard to win games on the road. Even the Cougs - again, not a good team - have a decent chance of knocking off Arizona just because the game is at home. I'd say the Wildcats have maybe a 50% chance of a sweep, 5% chance of getting swept, and 45% chance of splitting. That's not exactly a ringing endorsement, but as long as the Cats don't get swept, I think they'll be fine.
JH: Washington State has beaten just one team in the Pac-12, but it was against UCLA at home, a team that beat Arizona on a last-second three. Josh Hawkinson is stellar, but he only scored 12 points in his team's 24-point defeat at Arizona earlier in the season. I think it'll be closer this time in Pullman, but the Wildcats should still win comfortably. And I think they'll ride that momentum into Seattle and take care of the Huskies as well, with or without Allonzo Trier. Although this game, too, should be closer. Their 32-point win over Washington earlier this season was their first game without Trier, so it's not like his potential absence in Seattle should make much of a difference. Yet it all comes down to energy. If the Wildcats don't play with any, and their shooting goes cold, it could turn into an ugly trip.
IL: While Arizona should beat both Washington teams, any outcome in Pac-12 play is possible. Wazzu's last win was against a then-ranked UCLA squad so you can never be too sure when it comes to conference play. I expect the Wildcats to beat Wazzu by double-digits and for the Huskies to play Arizona to a closer game this time around.