Arizona Basketball: Lute-less Wildcats Heating Up

Matt MarcheskyCorrespondent IJanuary 26, 2008

After a convincing win against No. 6 Washington State on Thursday night, the Arizona Wildcats are riding high.

Star sophomore Chase Budinger said after the game, “I think we can beat anyone in the country right now.”

He may be right.

Arizona has shown signs of life off-and-on throughout the season, but it seems that here at the end of January, they’re learning who they are as a team, and beginning to play their roles to a tee.

After they lost a close one in overtime in Lawrence, Kansas at the hands of the Jayhawks, the 'Cats managed to earn difficult road wins against Illinois, Houston and California.

As they enter the heart of their Pac-10 schedule, they now have two double-digit wins against top ten teams—Texas A&M and Washington State.

Freshman-phenom point guard Jerryd Bayless has risen to the role of team leader in Tucson, averaging a team-high 19.5 points and 4.5 assists per game, as Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill, Jawaan McClellan and Nick Wise have all stepped up to assume their roles on this young squad.

As an Arizona fan and recent graduate, it is much too early to get excited about the tournament in Tucson, but this team is showing signs of new life.

Hopefully it will last.