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Why Arizona Will Win the Championship

October 24th, 2014 News 7 Comments

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Martin Hayvush

With college basketball on the horizon, it’s time to get excited about what’s in store for the Wildcats this year. Here are five reasons why Arizona will bring home the 2014-15 championship:

Strength

If Arizona fields a lineup including Stanley Johnson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Brandon Ashley, and Kaleb Tarczewski, there might not be an opponent in the entire nation that can match up with Arizona’s physicality.

Particularly on the wings, Arizona will have a tremendous physical advantage on both offense and defense. Hollis-Jefferson and Johnson have NBA-ready bodies and are both known for imposing their will around the basket. They will batter and bruise opponents all season long.

Leadership

Though talented freshmen may dominate the college basketball headlines, Arizona’s greatest strength will be their leadership. Ashley and Tarczewski anchor the paint as juniors, with a third year Gabe York as well.

Returning players with multiple years of experience in the program is vital to any National Championship run. Arizona is fortunate to return experienced players at critical positions, including fifth year senior TJ McConnell.

Point Guard Play

Speaking of McConnell, those five years of experience will come in handy when he’s running the show this season. As Sean Miller noted at Pac-12 Media Day, the cerebral point guard has been an All-Conference player every season he played, twice at Duquesne and once more last season with Arizona.

Having a steady point guard who is capable of facilitating the offense is critical, especially on a team with as many talented pieces as Arizona. But McConnell isn’t just a one dimensional player, he brings it on defense as well. Part of why Arizona was one of the best defensive teams in the nation last year was McConnell’s gritty on ball defense of opposing point guards.

Defense

It’s no secret that Arizona’s defense carried them to their historic 21-0 start last year. Arizona was able to lock up teams defensively, allowing them to stay in close games and grind out wins.

The same formula will be applied this year on what projects to be another elite defensive team. Utilizing Arizona’s multi-talented forwards, the Wildcats will be able to switch defenders easily and still contain penetration while defending the post. Defensive versatility is a hallmark of championship teams.

Coaching

Nobody wins a championship without great coaching, and that’s something Arizona has in abundance. Miller has amassed a stunning regular and postseason record in his time as coach, despite inheriting a program that was in a turbulent period.

But Miller’s ability to coach five star talent in a team oriented system is truly special. The culmination of that was visible last year, as Arizona fielded a roster of McDonald’s All-Americans yet remained one of the most balanced in the country. They also parlayed that balance into the best start in school history.

If Arizona wins the championship this year, it’ll be because of Miller’s design. Of course a lot will have to go right, it takes a lot of good fortune to take home the title.

But with the group Miller has put together, there’s no reason they can’t go all the way.

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7 Responses to “Why Arizona Will Win the Championship”

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  1. mvpreed2

    October 25, 2014
    Reply

    A lot of these were the same concepts we were saying before the start of last season.
    A bit of bad luck on our part with Ashley going down but I will always wonder what could have been had Ashley not been hurt.

  2. Mike Goldthwaite

    October 25, 2014
    Reply

    The article, while encouraging, has a title that crosses the line between confidence and arrogance….this is bad karma and ought to be avoided in the future. But it’s been crossed now, and you can’t go back. I think there are enough external pressures on Arizona players to win a championship. No reason to exacerbate them internally.

    • admin

      October 25, 2014
      Reply

      Bad Karma? That’s what you’re worried about? Ask Floyd Mayweather how much arrogance has hurt his career.

      This piece highlights the reasons why Arizona can win the championship. This is by no means a guarantee, it’s pointing out why the Cats are a favorite to win the whole thing. Read the second to last sentence: “If Arizona wins the championship this year, it’ll be because of Miller’s design. Of course a lot will have to go right, it takes a lot of good fortune to take home the title.”

      Doesn’t sound arrogant at all to me, Mike. Just get pumped buddy, the season is nearly here!

      Thanks for reading PGU.

    • Jeff

      October 25, 2014
      Reply

      Lol. I doubt this team is mentally fragile enough that the title of an article would stop it from winning a national title.

  3. Orion

    October 30, 2014
    Reply

    Eight reasons why we’ll win the championship:
    1. Brandon is back. That in itself is enough.
    2. Stanley’s free throws are 30% better than Gordon’s. That in itself is enough.
    3. Soph RHJ is better than Frosh Gordon.
    4. Stanley is better than Nick.
    5. Zeus is clearly better than last year. Anyone who saw the Red/Blue saw that.
    6. TJ will score more than he did last year; he’s not stupid.
    7. We have a good, possibly very good, back up center. We have not had that, ever!
    8. Far better bench than last year: Ristic, Victor, York, Pitts, PJC (much better back up PG)

    We have more than enough to, as Don McClean says, ‘break right through” (the door).

  4. victor

    October 31, 2014
    Reply

    An injury to TJ would derail this team. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. And also, what about Kentucky? They have nine All-Americans and are using a double platoon system that will be tough on opposing teams, especially ones like Arizona that tend to rely on 7-8 man rotations. Expect us to have a deep and underutilized bench this year filled with talented but disgruntled players.

  5. Mike Goldthwaite

    November 8, 2014
    Reply

    It seems Sean Miller agrees with me on this one while most others do not, including admin(?). It doesn’t give me pleasure to say I told you so, but neither do I hate saying it…..

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