Greetings from EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, where the Arizona Wildcats will practice, and talk, later today. It's cloudy but warm-ish in SLC today, but is supposed to be cold later. So if you're flying up, pack a coat.
We've got a bit of a break in the press conference — we've already talked to Gonzaga, Southern, Pitt and Wichita State — so I'll be able to answer your questions for the next 45 minutes or an hour. Fire away.
Sure, why not. Funny — President Obama picked all five Pac-12 participants to lose IN THE FIRST ROUND. And his brother coaches in this league!
They're always important. And let me tell you guys — as a group, the three is playing as well as it has all year. A very good sign. I'll be curious to see how much Tarczewski plays tomorrow. He'll start, I'm sure, and (at least physically) should destroy the 6-7 forward they put on him. But there's a matchup problem defense, too; I wouldn't be surprised if Ashley and Jerrett played at the same time, with Zeus out
I think he starts the same five, yes, and then adjusts relatively quickly. Coaches typically don't monkey with their lineups in the tournament.
As an "Angry Coach?" Is that like the Simpsons episode with "Angry Dad?" I don't think Miller will have that reputation. But it wouldn't have been hard for he and Greg Byrne to both issue a short apology. I was surprised, especially for a program concerned with image, that they didn't. But I think they hoped that if no one spoke about it, the story would fizzle quickly. And they've been proven somewhat right.
I'd take 40 percent with three or fewer turnovers. But yes.
Both Miller and the players they made available to us Monday (Hill & Mayes) have said that they've heard Belmont was a trendy pick. I'm not sure that's motivation. If you're not motivated by the NCAA tournament, you've got issues.
I actually like Arizona's chances quite a bit. (And if you follow this chat, you know that I'm not crazy about making predictions.) And Ken Pomeroy has the Wildcats with a 62 percent chance to beat Belmont.
No clue. But it appears, after Kentucky's coup today, that Gordon might not finding a ton of playing time either at Arizona or Kentucky. So that leaves what? Oregon? Washington?
I imagine they'll want to be physical on defense and get to the rim on offense, be it from driving the lane (something Lyons did well against UCLA) or posting up their big guys. I think they'll want to be show early on that they're the bigger, tougher team.
Sure. But think he wants to go somewhere where there's another McDonald's All-American at his position?
I'll be interested to see Gonzaga in person. It's so rare for the Zags to enter a tournament with the pressure of being The Great Team, so I'll be curious how they handle it. And while Pitt/Wichita State doesn't interest me on a personal level, it might be the closest game.
That's the only game they've ever played at EnergySolutions (and, to be clear, that was a 87-65 loss to BYU in 2010). The Wildcats are 5-2 in NCAA tournament play in Salt Lake City, but all those games were at Huntsman Center on the Utah campus.
I have no idea about the comments. I honestly don't ready them — and they tend to be the most strident of views (in both directions — hating or loving everything). I see Mayes being closer to 2011 Jordin than Febuary 2013 Jordin. It was interesting to hear him talk about learning to love playing defense. Seems he figured that out when he was benched.
I don't think the picks upsets to stir the pot. If there are intelligent national media folks who think this is a good matchup for Belmont, I respect that. Even Solomon Hill said the other day that he realizes it's the job of people on TV to give their opinions on such things. I'm telling you — I'm higher on the Wildcats than most, in this game, at least.
Even if Belmont is out of its mind from three (and that's totally possible, given their numbers), the Wildcats should be able to get rebounds and shoot more free throws.
Maybe not for Game 1, though I could see players feeling it a bit more on the off day between the two. Arizona's players live at half-a-mile high, so that must help a little. Also, both teams are playing in the same air.
Cal-UNLV will be interesting, because they've played only once this year. Also, Cal will have played two games in two weeks leading up to tomorrow's game. I think the Bruins are in trouble; they'll beat Minnesota in Round 1 but run into a buzzsaw in Florida in Round 2. With a short bench.
Hill said the other day that Johnson was "back." I tend to agree. He doesn't need to be a prolific scorer to be effective. He was 3-of-12 against UCLA, but I thought that, by holding Larry Drew scoreless, he was one of the UA's best players.
Looking it up. Please hold. :)
In three NCAA Tournament games last year, he was 10-for-32, averaging 10.3 points
He went 3-for-9 with six points in his lone game in 2011.
And he was 2-for-10 over three games in 2010. He scored five total points in three games. So he's been OK.