Before the Pac-12 Tournament gets underway on Wednesday, we’re going to take a look back at the Arizona Wildcats’ regular season.
First up is the best moment of the year. There’s certainly one obvious one, but do you have another in mind? Let us know in the comments!
James Schlittenhart: The win over UCLA in Pauley Pavilion. It combined the return of Allonzo Trier, a season-defining victory, and the real entrance of Arizona into the national discussion for 2017. This was a game that reminded us of the identity, prominence, and caliber of Arizona basketball. As fans, we expect to win these kind of games, but we still come away with at least a modicum of surprise when it happens. It’s an odd dichotomy, but one that comes with the territory for a perennial contender that hasn’t seen the Final Four since 2001.
Brandon Hill: I, too, have to go with the UCLA game in Pauley. Finally getting Trier back was enormous and beating a top-3 team in their place, and as a CBS national game, changed the perception of this year’s Arizona team from top 25 team to Final Four contender. And always great to win on that floor.
Ryan Kelapire: It was definitely the UCLA game in Westwood as James and Brandon mentioned, but I think an underrated moment this season was the Pac-12-opening win against the California Golden Bears.
Trier was still suspended and it was only Parker Jackson-Cartwright’s first game back from a high ankle sprain, but the Wildcats were able to erase a 13-point deficit to win in Berkeley, which is not an easy place to win.
Who knows how this young team would have responded if they had lost and started Pac-12 play 0-1.
Jason Bartel: Certainly the UCLA game belongs at the top of this list. Just to throw out another option here is the Michigan State game way back at the beginning of the season. No, the Spartans aren’t particularly good this year, but to have a comeback performance like that right away and then have Kadeem Allen hit the game-winner was the perfect way for this season to start.
It also ties into this letter a little bit with Arizona honoring the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor in that game and in September.
Amazing letter to Arizona coach Sean Miller from the last surviving sailor from the USS Arizona. Inspiring! pic.twitter.com/M08eOLIXyC— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) March 4, 2017