After Arizona's unproductive trip to Washington which dropped them from first place in Pac-10, the Cats will play five of their last seven games in the McKale Center.
This might be exactly what the Wildcats need in order to remedy the Washington cold. Arizona showed heart despite playing without Derrick Williams for almost the whole game and Nic Wise being mostly being ineffective until the final four minutes of the game.
The Cats looked like they suffered a hangover from the Washington game while playing Washington State. They played how they played earlier in the season, uninspired and unsure of what to do. This was not the team that had moved into first place the week before with a last second win over Cal.
Coming back to a crowd that has their back and will give them the extra energy that they need in order to move back to the top of the Pac-10 is exactly what this team needs.
Anyone who watched the Arizona-Cal game knows what the crowd did for this team. They could have easily fallen behind early but they knew the importance of this game and so did the crowd.
If Arizona has any chance of making their 26th straight NCAA tournament, they cannot afford to just give away games like they did against Wazzu.
The Cats have to stay focused on getting a high seed in the Pac-10 tournament in order to put themselves in the top two of the Pac-10. It is highly unlikely that more than two Pac-10 teams make the tournament as no Pac-10 team has been ranked since December.
There is a five way tie for second and one of the teams is under .500, the first place team is only ahead by one game. If Arizona can win five of their next games, they could easily put themselves in first place and in good position for a tournament berth.
Five wins is very possible, especially with the majority of the remaining games at home. The road will be tough but if any Wildcat team in the past five years can work hard enough to do it. It's this one.
Hopefully the weekend in the Northwest provided a wake up call to the Wildcats and they come out with a new motivation. One that will be fueled by raucous McKale Center crowd.
(Photo by Kelly Presnell)