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Arizona's effort vs. Stanford offers postseason hope

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Arizona Wildcats basketball

Arizona's effort vs. Stanford offers postseason hope

Cats could be in first place with win over Cal

Two thoughts cross your mind when a team grabs 19 offensive rebounds in a game: Either it has a huge height advantage or it has more "want to."

The Arizona men’s basketball team had more "want to" than Stanford on Thursday night in a 76-68 victory at McKale Center, and that has to please UA fans as the Cats make a late-season push for their 26th consecutive NCAA Tournament.

A month ago not even the wildest of Wildcat fans could have imagined UA would be playing for a share of first place in the Pacific-10 Conference, but a win Sunday over California at McKale Center will make that happen.

The game starts at 1:30 p.m. and airs on TV on Fox Sports Arizona and on radio on 1290-AM, 107.5-FM and in Spanish on 990-AM. UA is 11-9 overall, 5-3 in Pac-10 play. Cal is 14-6, 6-2.

'Going to be huge'

“Sunday is going to be a huge game, and I think it's a great opportunity for us,’’ UA coach Sean Miller said at Thursday’s postgame press conference. “Three wins in a row is a good step forward for us. We didn't get complacent after the road game, and I know that we will put what we have learned for the game against Cal.”

UA’s 77-58 victory at Arizona State on Jan. 23 didn’t attract much national attention, but it could be the page-turning moment for Miller’s first-year program. The Cats looked horrible in the first 10 minutes of the first half, scoring 11 points. It was a dreary, slow-paced game and I nearly hit the remote to watch a “Say Yes to the Dress” marathon instead – lot of action, suspense and drama.

But then the Cats picked up the intensity and ran off with a 77-58 road win.

No road wins for Stanford

Stanford has two very good players in Jeremy Green and Landry Fields, but Stanford hasn’t won on the road this season, dropping its seventh straight with the loss to UA.

And Stanford lacks the experience that California has. Nic Wise is UA’s only senior. California has four seniors averaging in double figures, led by guard Jerome Randle at 19.1 points per game.

“He's a great player,’’ UA’s Kyle Fogg said at the postgame news conference about Randle. “You just have to try your best to slow him down. I'll try to use my length to stop him. He's one of the quickest players in the country and he can shoot from anywhere, so it's tough to guard him.”

The Pac-10 is a weak conference this year, but the growth Miller’s team has shown has been impressive. The Cats play six of their final league games at home, and that bodes well. Perhaps the streak will live on.

TV & Radio

  • Arizona vs. California, McKale Center, 1:30 p.m. Sunday
  • TV: Fox Sports Arizona
  • Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM and in Spanish on 990-AM

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