Thursday, Feb. 11, 2009
The Wildcats are back, and hotter than ever. I will admit that I was one that was going against them for a while. Now they are one of the hottest teams in all of my picks against the spread.
I felt as if their coaching and basketball IQ was at a very low level this year compared to others.
There was an eerie feeling in their home game vs. Houston on Jan. 24. Houston was beating the Cats all game, and they found a way to come back and push it to overtime. In overtime the Cats pulled out a 96-90 victory in what appeared to be the most resilient victory I watched all season.
Since the Houston game, Arizona has beaten Washington, Washington State, Oregon State, and Oregon, the average margin of victory being eight points.
Chase Budinger took the game over in overtime and has been the real difference maker for this team since. He is looking more and more like an NBA product every game.
They host the USC Trojans on Thursday night in Tucson in what should be a great game.
USC (15-7, 6-4) seems to be fading a bit. They looked to be one of the tougher teams to beat in the conference until they lost Marcus Johnson.
Johnson, an incredible athlete that did all the little things, continued to make huge plays down the stretch to win games for the Trojans.
When Johnson was out, they got destroyed by the Bruins 76-60.
I believe that without Marcus Johnson, USC is not the same team we have seen all year.
U of A will play inspired basketball and come away with a victory in this one, especially because they beat them in Los Angeles if it wasn’t for an ignorant foul by Jamelle Horne with no time left.
As long as Horne is on the bench in the last minute of the game, the Cats should be able to respond to their difficult defeat the first time around.