The Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball team rallied to beat Saint Mary’s 69-60 in the NCAA Tournament second round and advance to the Sweet 16 against Xavier, Sean Miller’s old team.
Hey, Arizona fans: Don’t overreact to a nine-point victory over Saint Mary’s that you believe should have been bigger.
The Gaels are a smart, well-coached, disciplined team that most oddsmakers pegged as only a five-point underdog. Numbers cruncher Ken Pomeroy actually had Saint Mary’s as a 2.4-point favorite. Center Jock Landale has an NBA future.
Yet despite it all, the Wildcats are off to the Sweet 16.
Will Arizona have soul-searching to do? Of course.
Confidence was an issue early on. Leadership seems to be a concern at times. One can’t help but wonder if the team’s lack of a true point guard – vs. the talented combo guards it has – could hurt the Wildcats.
But goodness, talent, when harnessed properly, will eventually win out over the hardest workers. And Arizona is gifted, with players who can create shots, be strong inside factors and play defense from tip to finish.
This NCAA Tournament field feels wide open to me. Good teams struggle at times. Ask Villanova.
It won’t get easier for Arizona.
But bottom line? They have the talent to keep winning.