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Bear down

Congrats on a great season, Arizona.  

Congrats on a great career, Jamelle Horne.  (You, too, D. Will?)

It's funny, because if you ask any AZ fan: which do you want more?  AZ beating Duke by thoroughly dismantling them in a completely embarrassing manner (like if Duke is a number one seed)?  Or win the National Championship?

Everyone will have to think about their answer.

Beating Duke 93-77 in the Sweet Sixteen -- holy shit, impressive.  I remember 2001; we all remember 2001.  I always say that no one really likes Duke, unless you went there.  I came by my Duke "hate" honestly, though; I'm not even sure we've ever beaten Duke during March Madness.  

And beating Duke took such energy -- everyone counted them out -- that they looked tired against UConn.  It's understandable; they spent so much (and a lot of it coming from AZ fans, I'm sure; beating Duke is the Holy Grail) on Thursday night.  What is impressive: even when they didn't play their best, they still almost beat UConn who was playing pretty well.

And Kyle Fogg is so impressive defensively.  He shut down Nolan Smith (boo on ESPN analysts for not mentioning it, especially as a Duke assistant coach did) and limited Kemba Walker.

And he's definitely coming back next year :)

The last two shots of the game against UConn:  Derek Williams for a three, then Hill grabbing the rebound and having the presence of mind to throw it out to Horne.  They both missed, obviously. 

But it's fitting that those two took the shots.  I thought it was great that the lone AZ senior was on the floor; yes, he's a better three-point shooter than Perry, but still.  Everyone was curious about why they didn't take the two-point shot; tie the game!  go into OT!  you had it!  But Miller came into the game saying they were fighting to win; winners take the winning shot, they don't settle for OT.  :)  That, and I think he knew his guys were drained and an OT game would not have been close.

 The cameras caught a great shot at the end.  Yes, Momo was happy for his high school friend and teammate, Walker (which is amazing and, quite frankly, shows just how much ESPN analysts are sucking this tournament.  The VCU miss is just the tip of the iceberg).  But the cameras showed Williams and Horne, walking into the locker rooms, the last time (probably) that they'll wear AZ uniforms.  Williams had his arm around Horne.  The school paper caught the flipside of that pic, but I love the view of their backs, walking away.  Solidarity.

And even though they didn't get the Championship (and they could have, which no one believed possible, except them, at the start of the season), they beat Duke (!!!!) and had an amazing run.  They're the last Pac-10 Champions EVER -- and they have the ring.  During the run-up to the final weekend of regular season play, they "tweeted" (no, I don't follow their tweets . . . I was reading, ahem, someone else's feed and they were communicating back and forth :D) that they were all gung-ho about getting the ring for Senior Jamelle Horne, who went through four coaches in four years and, basically, the low point of AZ Basketball.  The team missed the tournament last year, for the first time in 26 years, to being the Pac-10 champions this year (he got to cut the nets down at home!) AND dunking on #1 DUKE in the Sweet Sixteen.

Job well done, everyone.  Job well done.  Who's excited for the Miller era? :D