Imagine my pleasant surprise when I saw on Twitter that Arizona‘s exhibition game was being televised Thursday evening. Imagine my shock when I watched the Wildcats lose to Division II Seattle Pacific, 69-68. Welcome to the 2011-2012 college basketball season!
The sky isn’t falling though. It pretty much happens every preseason. Two years ago, Syracuse was stunned in an exhibition game by D-II school, Le Moyne. ‘Cuse went on to win the Big East that season. In 2007, Michigan State was upset by Grand Valley State. The Spartans made the Sweet 16 that year.
How sorely did ‘Zona miss Derrick Williams though? Their offensive execution was horrendous and they really lacked a go-to guy until the final five minutes when Solomon Hill and Nick Johnson started knocking down some jump shots. They also missed his presence on the defensive end and glass as the Wildcats just lacked any real effort and got beat up on the boards until late in the game. (By the way, Williams tweeted moments after the game, “That’s embarrassing.”)
There is obviously going to be a learning curve for Arizona playing without Williams and starting point guard MoMo Jones who transferred back east to Iona. Sean Miller was also without versatile wing Kevin Parrom who continues to recover from gunshot wounds suffered in late September while back home in the Bronx. Miller is trying to work four freshmen into the rotation as well while Seattle Pacific is a veteran, top 25 team in D-II that is incredibly fundamental sound and can shoot it from the outside.
Of the highly-touted Arizona freshmen class, combo guard Nick Johnson impressed me the most with his all-around ability including hitting a pair of big triples to help the Wildcats cut into a double digit half-time lead. He did air-ball the potential game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer though. Post player Sidiki Johnson looked completely lost at times and fouled out with seven minutes to play.
Miller said it best during his halftime interview, “We’re not a very good basketball team right now.” Luckily, the Wildcats have ten more days to figure things out before their regular season opener against Valparaiso.
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.
You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks