Fading Wildcats need quick fix to their ailments
MAR 07, 2013 10:06a ET
■ This has been a long season — very long. Lest anyone forget, Arizona was preparing for its season in early August, getting ready for its trip to the Bahamas. Paradise never seemed so distant. Previously, there had been European trips in May and June, but never before one in August.
■ Depth is but a number. When the team first stepped on the court in late October for its annual Red-Blue game, it appeared to be a team loaded with depth and talent at every position.
■ Point Guard U needs to re-credential itself. The position that made the Wildcats famous (psst, on balance, Arizona has had better forwards than guards through the years, but that’s for another discussion) has not been up to its usual standards.
■ Speaking of that December day when every Wildcats fan had that warm, fuzzy feeling: Well, "fool's gold" applies again. The Wildcats were in the middle of a great run to begin the season. It lasted three more weeks, and then conference play started. And the regular diet of intense competition and road games proved to be too much.
■ The X-factor has been stifled. It’s been awhile since Johnson, Arizona's most athletic player has had an exceptional game. If there was a player who could ignite this team it is Johnson, but he hasn’t been the same since he came down with flu-like symptoms in late January. It’s also about the same time he hit the proverbial wall last year as a freshman. The bet is that he’s more equipped this time to snap out of it, but will it be in time for Arizona to recover for the postseason?
■ Then there are the freshmen, the one-time fearsome foursome that came in as one of the top three classes from last season. So much for the rankings.
■ And finally, no shocker, defense. The Wildcats just don't get after opponents with a dogged approach. They have no stopper. And it seems to not be getting any better. Half the battle is desire, and these Cats haven't shown it. When you’re a team that's lost its swagger, it's hard to come up with the willpower.