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Final Four or Bust: is it Fair?

August 7th, 2014 News 6 Comments

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Martin Hayvush

Arizona fans are spoiled. We had a gaudy 25 straight years of NCAA Tournaments. We went from a hall of fame coach to a likely hall of fame coach with a just a mild speed bump compared to how most programs deal with losing one of the greats. It’s gotten to the point that fans expect the commitment of top 10 recruits every year, and view those fringe top 25 kids as role players.

This season will mark the second in a row in which Arizona fans will have realistic National Championship expectations. Obviously that’s a sign of a robust basketball program, but it begs the question: is it fair?

Is it fair to judge an entire season based on how a few games in March or April shake out? Is it fair to eschew 25+ games worth of hard work for what happens in up to six single elimination ones?

No. But that’s the way this game works. College basketball is maybe the most sadistic sport of all, pitting hundreds of teams against one another, whittling them down to just 68, and then letting one devour the rest. It’s like the “tryouts” scene in The Dark Knight, when the Joker cracks a pool cue in half and lets two enemy thugs determine who lives. In this game you don’t just lose, you get stabbed in the heart.

It’s a cruel, cruel ending for all but one team. And when you are a team like Arizona, who is at the forefront of college basketball every season, if you don’t bring the trophy home it was a mission unaccomplished. It comes with the territory.

But with that in mind, try to smell the roses along the way. Sure, Arizona didn’t go as far as they would have liked in last year’s postseason. But it was a pretty magical, record-breaking ride with plenty of thrilling games and rim-rattling dunks. And the 21-0 part was nice too.

So no matter what happens next year, yes it will be a disappointment if the Cats don’t win it all. But that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying every minute of the journey. Chances are it will be a fun ride.

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6 Responses to “Final Four or Bust: is it Fair?”

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  1. Doug Brodess

    August 7, 2014

    The best players want to play where there is sky-high expectations. That’s why they come to U of A…to compete at the highest level, year-after-year.

  2. ichi

    August 7, 2014

    It’s true, there are probably a lot of fans who 1) don’t realize how good it is here and 2) judge the season by when the last loss occurs.
    But, there’s a few of us, maybe quite a few, who know that the true success of our program comes from the way we act throughout the year. Coach Olson and now Coach Miller hold the players to a high level of personal behavior, we don’t have scandals bigger than a candy bar. Our teams almost always play hard, we defend our home court, we carry ourselves like we belong on the National stage.
    I’m not sure I was so happy when we went out against Santa Clara so early one year, but almost every year I’m thankful for Arizona hoops. They put on a great show, hang banners from the rafters, send stars to the NBA, and frequently crush Tempe Normal.
    Maybe its cause I’m older, and was there when Lute first walked onto the floor, when Kenny Lofton played hard but we still lost. Maybe its cause I’ve been through Illinois, Wisconsin, and BYU, but I’m glad for every win and excited for each new season.
    I just hope Miller sticks around for about 100 years.
    Bear Down

  3. titan4wildcats

    August 8, 2014

    Whether or not it’s fair is a debatable question. But, with Coach Miller taking the Wildcats higher and higher, with improvements in play and records, it’s understandable that the fans would feel this way. Season before last the Wildcats went 12 or 13 games undefeated. Last season it was 21 and if Brandon didn’t suffer the injury could have gone even higher. It’s clear as a bell that Coach Miller is taking the program back to the elite level and will keep it there. To think that the Wildcats won’t make the final four is similar to watching the river rise while it keeps raining and think it’s not going to flood….and the water is rising!!

    Bear Down Wildcats! Bear Down Coach Miller!

  4. Jack Nelson

    August 9, 2014

    After watching Stanley Johnson start on 4 straight California state championship teams at Mater Dei high school, I am going to bet on Arizona to win the NCAA championship as Stanley wants that NCAA championship ring to go along with his 4 state championship and USA 16 and Under North American and 17 and U world championships. GO FOR IT, Stanley.

  5. john t.

    August 13, 2014

    Basketball aside — there are two words in the English vocabulary that I have little use for; fair is one, deserve is the other. Unfairness is everywhere, it pervades all of human existence and is only truly useful when attempting to judge lawful and unlawful acts, and even then, justice sometimes falls short of that goal. Deserve, in my opinion, is useful only when success is a product of hard work and determination. But how many times have athletes and teams deserved a win and had the rug pulled from under their feet by some spectacularly freak play? My hope for this coming season is that we are the luckiest team in the nation — that, combined with hard work, determination and great athleticism, will carry us to the promise land.

  6. mvpreed2

    August 16, 2014

    Is it fair for us as fans to consider this season Final Four or bust?
    Was it fair to say that last season when we were an injury and a blown call/TO away from finding out?
    Or the season before that when we were a clutch 3PT shot from advancing to the Elite Eight and finding out?

    Bottom line at this point Miller has set us up to have high expectations year in and year out.
    But to answer the question I think Miller has been due for a Final Four appearance and this should be the season.
    Miller actually deserves to hang a banner up in McKale but I would be fine with a Final Four berth first.
    I see A LOT of success at Arizona as long as Miller is at the helm and that appears to be for a LONG time.

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