There’s an old saying, “all good things must come to an end” but that’s not what you want to hear if you’re a University of Arizona basketball fan.
Following Sunday’s 87-80 head-scratching loss to in-state rival Arizona State, the ‘Cats 25-consecutive NCAA tournament appearances could come to an end on Selection Sunday unless they run the Pac-12 Tournament table next weekend in Los Angeles.
Sean Miller’s team squandered a six-point halftime lead and watched the less-talented Sun Devils take over down the stretch as UofA fell to 21-10 overall and 12-6 in league play.
More importantly, their ratings percentage index (which was 70 entering the game) will likely drop substantially after losing to a team who entered the game with just nine wins. The lowest team ever to receive an at-large bid was USC (67 RPI) last year.
“It’s a dagger,” explained forward Solomon Hill who scored 16 points in defeat. “This is the one that we needed to get. There’s no way we’re getting into the tournament unless we win [the Pac-12 tournament].”
After the game, UofA head coach Sean Miller said it was more of what ASU did, compared to what his team didn’t.
“I thought [ASU] played an excellent basketball game,” Miller said. “We had a really hard time guarding them individually. When they needed big shots, I really believe they made every one of them. I give credit to them. They earned their victory today.”
The Wildcats know the only road back to March Madness is through the Staples Center in a tournament they haven’t won in nearly a decade.
“We knew we would have to go to LA and try to take the whole tournament in order for us to go dancing,” Senior guard Kyle Fogg said. “It’s back to practice [Monday} and we’ll have to get ready to go to LA to try and take the whole thing.”