At the dinner table on Thanksgiving, people usually go around and say what they are thankful for this year.
For Arizona Wildcat fans, the past two years has been one big roller coaster. There have been highs and lows, and yet the team still seems to be on some stable ground.
The future is bright and even though Arizona looks to be going through a rebuilding year, there is still some promise that Arizona will once again make it to the Big Dance come March.
UCLA lost to UC-Santa Barbara. Oregon lost to Montana.
The Pac-10 is having a down year in terms of overall talent.
Washington and Cal will battle it out to win the conference. UCLA is suffering from all of the one-and-dones that Ben Howland has recruited.
Oregon has been down for a while and ever since the Lopez twins left, Stanford has spiraled down.
The only team that is on the rise is Oregon State. Second-year coach Craig Robinson has the Beavers headed in the right direction and a quick turnaround from a team that was winless in conference play two years ago.
If there was a better year for Arizona to have a down year and still make the tourney, this is it. For that, 'Cats fans are thankful.
Mike Stoops winning is also a victory for Sean Miller and Arizona basketball.
If the football team had struggled this year and finished where they were predicted (eighth), the basketball team would once again have been the main show.
This would have put immense pressure on the basketball team to be successful.
The success of the Arizona Wildcat team has provided a distraction for Arizona basketball while they go through some first-year struggles.
All of the players are still trying to grasp Miller's system in a real game and not practice. Being the first year, there will be a big learning curve that the team will go through.
This team will be one that has a lot of ups and downs but should be a fun team to watch.
They are thankful for the success of the football team, as a lot is still on the line.
Arizona has to be thankful for the 2009 freshman class.
For a team that had seven returning players from last year's squad, they were going to need an infusion of talent and a lot of it.
Luckily, they had five guys who wanted to come to Arizona and show what they could do right away.
They show a lot of raw talent and will all be good players once they figure out their role on the team.
Solomon Hill and Derrick Williams have been the most impressive in games so far.
Apparently, Kevin Parrom had been the most impressive in fall practice before injuring his foot and going on the shelf for the next month.
Momo Jones and Kyryl Natyazhko have shown their inexperience in games but as the two get more reps, I think we can expect big things from them.
This freshman class might just end up saving the season for the 'Cats.
Now I know a lot of Wildcats fans hold some hostile feelings for Arizona's athletic director.
To be fair, if he hadn't botched the two hirings before he got his man, Arizona wouldn't have Sean Miller.
The man tried not once, but twice to get Sean Miller and as the saying goes, the second time's the charm. Wait, that's not how it goes.
Livengood also has the athletic department as a self-sustaining program.
They make their own revenue and have not had to take money from the state or have their coaches take a furlough.
Wildcat fans are definitely thankful for Tim Floyd this holiday season.
The coach reportedly accepted the Arizona job only to turn around and decline it.
This ended up working out for Arizona in three ways.
1. Arizona hires Sean Miller
2. Tim Floyd resigns after admitting to giving money to a handler for OJ Mayo
3. Derrick Williams and Momo Jones back out of their letter of intents to USC and sign with Arizona after Floyd resigns.
So, see Wildcat fans? Tim Floyd did do something good for Arizona.
Russ Pennell took a job that he knew he wouldn't have after the season.
He knew if he didn't take Arizona to the tournament that everyone would understand...that all of the players could just start to play for themselves.
He didn't accept any of that.
Pennell took it as a challenge and got last year's team to buy into his system and getting back to the tourney.
He knew the odds were against him and the team. He did the job and more. He got the 'Cats to the Sweet 16, further than anyone gave him a chance.
He continued Arizona's 25 straight NCAA tournament appearances and that was his goal when he took the job: don't be the coach who stopped the streak.
This Thanksgiving, every Wildcat fan owes a debt of gratitude to Russ.
Arizona has been to 25 straight NCAA tournaments.
They are two seasons from tying North Carolina's streak of 27, and three from being the new record holders.
Their seeds have ranged from one to 12. They have had heart breakers. They have had buzzer beaters.
They have been National Champions.
Arizona basketball has been the glue that has held Tucson together. At the center of that is the streak.
Not making the tournament is a big deal now for Arizona and no one wants to be on the team that breaks the streak.
While the past two years have had controversy, Arizona has been able to prove for the past quarter-century why they get into the tournament.
Sean Miller is the man who a lot of Wildcat fans expect to keep the tradition of Arizona basketball going.
Miller decided Arizona was not for him after the first offer from Livengood, then after a second shot was convinced that Arizona was the place for him.
Then after two months on the job had put together a top 15 recruiting class. He had no commits when he took the job.
Sean Miller has entrenched himself in the community. He has already held a "cheer practice" for the students to come and learn new cheers.
Miller has impressed fans, coaches, and TV personalities. Now all he has to do is impress them on the court.
Nic Wise has been through more than any other college basketball player in recent history.
Four coaches in four years.
No college player thinks when they commit to a program that they will have four head coaches over their career. It is unthinkable in this day and age.
Wise has shown class through it all, accepting the circumstances and making the best of them.
He has also improved to become the leader of this year's team and was the motor that made last year's team run.
While Wise has a small chance of making the NBA (undersized guards aren't in high demand), he will always hold a spot close to fans' hearts.
Arizona fans will always hold Lute in the highest regard.
He brought the university its first major championship and brought them to be the prestigious program they have become.
Lute started the streak. Lute made us Point Guard U. I could write all of the accomplishments but that would mean writing a novel.
While the last few years have been surrounded in turmoil, Lute will always be our coach.
This Thanksgiving, Arizona fans have a lot to be thankful for, but to Lute we will always be grateful.