Arizona Wildcats Hoops: Shooting Down Argument That Losing Is Good Before NCAAs

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Arizona Wildcats Hoops: Shooting Down Argument That Losing Is Good Before NCAAs
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Arizona is a off to a school-record 21-0 start by sticking to its objectives

If a team or coach talks about pressure, they will undeniably feel it.

If they believe a loss is better before the end, than their goals become cheapened. 

The Arizona Wildcats, Syracuse Orange and Wichita State Shockers are the first trio to start 20-0 in the same season since 1975-76, when the Indiana Hoosiers ran the table with a 32-0 record.

California coach Mike Montgomery, whose team hosts the Arizona Wildcats Saturday night, told Sports Illustrated that losing can be "productive" before the NCAA tournament for a team that is on a hot streak like Arizona. 

Montgomery's Stanford teams in 2000-01 and 2003-04 started at least 20-0. The 2003-04 Cardinal team started 26-0 overall and 17-0 in the Pac-10 before losing the regular-season finale at Washington.

What good did that loss do for the Cardinal?

The Josh Childress-led Stanford team won the Pac-10 tournament and the NCAA first-round game against Texas-San Antonio before losing in the second round against Alabama. What if Stanford beat Washington in the last game? Would they have lost in the first round?

Winning it all or losing at least once before the NCAA tournament, like anything in life, is all about what you make of it.

"Knowing kids' psyche, knowing how the media responds to it, getting that (loss) off your back is probably something that can be productive for you," Montgomery told Sports Illustrated. "Ultimately, your goal is to win the championship in conference, get in the NCAAs and try to win the NCAAs, and ultimately that loss will have nothing to do with it, unless of course, it's in the tournament."

A team like the Arizona Wildcats can achieve those goals without experiencing a loss before March Madness. Indiana proved it can achieve the feat and so did six other champions, including four times by UCLA. If a loss is considered a good thing, then the process in which a team works on its improvement game-to-game, week-to-week is essentially meaningless.

The following slideshow provides five reasons that shoot down the theory that it is better for the Arizona Wildcats' psyche to lose before the NCAA tournament.

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