Here we are. We've reached the end of the 2015-16 college basketball regular season. The Arizona Wildcats, along with a group of five seniors, will take the McKale Center floor for one last time as the Stanford Cardinal come to Tucson on Saturday afternoon.
Senior Days at Arizona have been somewhat lackluster in recent years. It's not often that the program's best players stay in college for four years and get to experience the Senior Day experience. Yes, last year, we got a special moment from T.J. McConnell kissing the Block A. And I'm certain something will happen with Gabe York on Saturday.
It'll be a short 40 hours since York nailed a game-winning three pointer in the waning seconds against Cal, a moment that Sean Miller called "amazing". And frankly, with York's self-confidence and willingness to wear his emotions on his sleeve, that moment when he gets his framed jersey will be something else.
Just like York, Kaleb Tarczewski has had an interesting four years at Arizona. They've seen the highs and the lows. They've been the target of Arizona fans' hatred. They've been the butt of jokes. But in this final regular season weekend, the two four-year players will have the chance to head into the postseason playing some of the best basketball they've ever played. Zeus pulled down 12 rebounds and scored ten points against Cal. It was his fourth double-double of the season, but he's also grabbed 10+ rebounds in six of the last eight games.
Zeus will get his moment in McKale on Saturday after the game after everything that he's been through this year. From several injuries to getting T'd up in Tempe to all the other stuff, it'll be good to see him soak up the love from the Arizona faithful.
Two transfers will also get their last hoorah in the Old Pueblo. Ryan Anderson, who may have a shot at Pac-12 Player of the Year, and Mark Tollefsen have only played for Arizona this season, but their impact on this team shouldn't be overlooked. Anderson's averaging a double-double, and Tollefsen has been a crucial piece to the puzzle in certain spots, especially when Anderson was overmatched defensively. Case in point, Thursday's game against Cal. Sean Miller went with the offense/defense substitutions to get Tollefsen in the game for Anderson, and it paid off. Both have embraced Arizona in their short time with the team, and getting to experience a Senior Day in McKale will likely be at the top of their life experiences.
Last, but certainly not least, is Jacob Hazzard. The lovable walk-on will hopefully get some playing time (maybe even a start) in his final game with the team. He's posted 31 points in his Arizona career, and it would certainly be nice to see him add at least two more to that total on Saturday afternoon.
What to watch
Stanford is 15-13 overall, and 8-9 in the Pac-12 after losing by ten to ASU on Thursday. The Cardinal had won four-of-five before that loss, as Johnny Dawkins continues his quest to always be as average as possible and finish .500.
The Cardinal have four active players averaging double-figures, so they can at least spread the wealth around if one guy gets shut down. If they have a chance at winning this game, it'll have to be thanks to Rosco Allen having a career game.
According to Team Rankings, Arizona has the statistical advantage in a vast majority of categories. Combine that with the emotion that will fill McKale Center on Saturday, and this should be a Wildcats' victory, sending them off to Las Vegas on a positive note.
Arizona and Stanford are scheduled to tipoff at 2 PM MT on CBS.