The money is very good. Schools will receive, on average, $20.8 million annually from ESPN and Fox, though it's not to that figure in the early years, plus whatever the Pac-12 Networks can make. I believe more playing high-profile ESPN games has helped the league immensely. The way college sports works these days, leagues and teams NEED ESPN to be talking about them. Were Direct TV signed on, I would call the media deal a home run. Until then, it's a stand-up triple.
The MGM Grand. I was joking the other day that strolling through the lobby should be, um, interesting, especially late at night. Though coaches told me yesterday they didn't think the temptations of Sin City were that much worse than being any other place. Also, there's a lion in the lobby. That's pretty awesome.
If by "we," you mean the UA, I'd argue that they're already good. When are they going to be great? We'll see. The good news is that, nationwide, nobody's awesome. Indiana has lost two of three, and most people consider them the nation's best team. More than any other March I can remember, I think there are probably a dozen teams capable of getting hot and winning the Big Dance. If Arizona gets hot — and that's a big if — I think they might join that group. They wouldn't be on my list as of today, though.
UCLA's freshmen have, unquestionably, been better. Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson were ranked in Scout.com's top 4, while Arizona's big three all were in the top 10. But they're guards, and guards are different than forwards, in terms of speed of development. Jahii Carson has really grown this season, but he had a year of practice, so that's not apples-to-apples.
I'm not sure we've talked about the idea of pressing here before. I've maintained that it might be a good idea. And the pressure seemed to work in the final minutes in LA. As you said, Arizona can go 10-deep, and nine — maybe all but Tarczewski — have the footspeed to do it. That said, Miller's thinking appears to be that if the UA can't guard in the half-court, they can't do it full-court either. It might force more possessions, but that's not a good thing, necessarily.
The trend, seemingly all season, is that players are reticent to dump the ball inside to him if he bobbles a pass or two early in the game. It's interesting to watch the UA early in games, though — they almost always make a conscious effort to go down low in the first coupla minutes.
Our own Bruce Pascoe wrote a story about Lyons in today's paper. Give it a read, if you haven't already. My thought: Lyons isn't an ideal point guard, but Nick Johnson certainly isn't, either. Fact is, Momo Jones leaving two years ago after reading the writing on the wall that Josiah Turner would play last season, and then Turner being a complete dumpster fire and leaving, hurt the Wildcats this year. They weren't going to have a true PG regardless of whether Lyons transferred or not.
I don't know about the Ollie story — off topic: he's done a wonderful job at UConn, and should be a national coach of the year finalist — but Miller has spoken over and over this year about how York should fit nicely on next year's team. Will he transfer? Who knows. But his mom moved to Tucson before the season started, so it would require, essentially, uprooting his family.
I think this is the year that almost anybody can pull an upset like that in the tournament.
I would bet on Hill. He played out of his mind Wednesday at USC, and then struggled at UCLA. Miller said Hill probably put too much emphasis on his last regular-season game in his hometown. I can't see him doing that again in the tournament. The bigger question, in my mind, isn't leadership or talking or motivation — it's, who's going to defend like their life depends on it?
I see them being more productive next year because they'll be sophomores. Big guys rarely, rarely star as freshmen. (Anthony Davis, I think, might have colored our opinion a little too much the other way; he's the exception, not the rule.) Maybe having a pass-first PG will help; it's hard to imagine it won't. But with Hill, Parrom and Lyons gone, there will simply be more shots to be had, too. Lyons and Hill have combined for 271 field-goal attempts this year.