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Notes From Wonderland 01/02

So how does one close out New Years Day? Why write a "Notes From Wonderland" while watching Dr. Who. Sadly, my New Years night is more exciting than my New Years Eve, where I was writing a column while listening to my neighborhood sound like a war zone with all of the gun shots and fireworks.

With Kameron Rooks off the board, all eyes are on Aaron Gordon.

Kameron Rooks has committed to Cal. The 7-footer announced his decision via Twitter and it leaves the Wildcats with just one recruit they appear to be actively pursuing The move makes a lot of sense for Rooks. Although his father played for the Wildcats, it looks like immediate playing time will not be available in Tucson. As of now it does not appear any of the freshmen bigs will be leaving for the pros and the Wildcats will add redshirt junior Matt Korcheck to the mix.

Even if the Wildcats had added Rooks, they still would have pursued Aaron Gordon and had they landed him, Rooks might have been the seventh big man on the roster. At Cal, he may be an immediate contributor.

As of now the Wildcats do not seem to be recruiting anyone other than Gordon, though that could change as the Wildcats continue to evaluate prospects during the high school season...

UConn signed interim coach Kevin Ollie to a long-term contract, in essence, stripping him of his interim title and making him the official successor to Jim Calhoun. This news may actually be very important for Arizona. I have been told by some sources that UConn is one job that Sean Miller has always kind of had his eye on as being one of his dream jobs. Of course, I was also told that about Maryland. The signing of Ollie means that we won't find out anytime soon if Miller really does thin that highly of the Husky job...

I was in Phoenix over the weekend and was listening to the ASU basketball radio broadcast and had to laugh. They were saying that they expected a "great" crowd for the Pac-12 opener against Utah, but were also hoping to have 2-3,000 more fans than they did for that game against Coppin State. The "great" crowd they were hoping to draw was 7-8,000. 8,000 would be considered a disastrous at Arizona...

1290 KCUB in Tucson chose to re-broadcast the New Mexico Bowl and the Florida basketball game on New Years Day. How dramatic were those games? My wife was listening to the end of the basketball game and was yelling at the radio despite obviously knowing the outcome...

The Pac-12 has just one New Years bowl tie-in, thanks in large part to former commissioner Tom Hansen. Hansen believed that it was a bad idea to have other Pac-12 teams "competing" with the Rose Bowl. Well, the Big-10 had five teams playing on New Years Day, including four at the same time. Explain to me how that is bad for the league? While New Years does not hold the cache it once did, it still seems more big time than a random day in mid-December. Hopefully over the next few year new Commissioner Larry Scott can improve the bowl ties...

After their loss to Cal Poly a lot of people were burying UCLA. That was likely a mistake. After their win over Missouri, the Bruins head into Pac-12 play at 10-3. The Poly loss was awful, to be sure, but their two other losses were to one-loss Georgetown and two-loss San Diego State. They are still an oddly constructed team, but they are getting great play from their freshmen wings and Larry Drew has become a pass-first point guard who is averaging over eight assists a game. Since a 65-63 win over Texas the Bruins have opened up the offense and the team has responded...

Speaking of the Bruins, I'd say them, Arizona, Colorado and Oregon are the clear favorites in the league and should all make the NCAA Tournament. Cal, ASU and Stanford are probably all fighting for a final tournament bid and I'd give the Bears the nod if the Pac-12 actually gets five bids.

  • ASU has a basketball program still? Who knew!

    Bear Down Arizona! Wildcat Sports Report, CFO AZ's Certified Tax Coach at Wildcat Tax & Accountingwww.WildcatTax.com

  • Brad,

    I could not agree more with the bowl games. Watching most of them yesterday i was kinda pissed off about the pac 12's options. For the PAC12 we have tie ins with 2 games in texas, 1 in NM, 3 in Cali and then of course the BCS. Not one game east of the Mississippi! Larry Scott keeps talking about expanding the PAC12's visability aroudn the country. Well the Network is a small step in that direction right now. Bigger step with more carriers. But a huge step would be a bowl game in Florida or New Orleans area on or around New Years Day.

    When i have brought it up with others they said well the travel is a concern. BS. who in AZ, Wash, CO, Utah, OR and even Cali would not want to spend a New Years in New Orleans or Florida. Orlando is considered the top holiday destination in the Country. Look at the Big 10. Games in Cali, Texas, AZ, Florida plus the BCS.

    Not only is that huge with TV viewers but recruiting has to be huge for them. Even if it is a quiet period for recruiting but having your school in the papers in Florida for the days leading up to the game gets kids talking. Even more so if they go to the games with family. How many kids in the southeast are really familiar with AZ or have seen them play? Add to that our games are played alot of the time at 7pm pst. Meanign our games do nto even start until 10pm on the east coast. Most HS kids are out with friends and so forth at 10 pm on a saturday. They are only watching a football game if it is a team they really want to watch or it just happenes to be on the TV at the house party.

    I think Larry Scott really needs to look at expanding out bowl games. maybe say good bye to NM and even El Paso. it will be hard to break into Florida or east coast but if anyone can i have faith in Larry Scott.

  • I like the Sun Bowl. Great proximity to Tucson as well! If we had beaten the Scummies, maybe we would have been in that one! Honestly, the only bowl game the conference should consider getting away from is the Dec 15th Gildan New Mexico Bowl. I have nothing against New Mexico but the disadvantage of playing two weeks before everyone else is a legitimate concern. Bowl Destinations like Pasadena, San Deigo, San Antonio, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Albuquerque, and El Paso are not too shabby. The timing of the NM bowl is the only real negative. Maybe trade that one for another New Year's Day bowl. I'd definitely be in favor of a move like that.

    Bear Down Arizona

  • Could not disagree more. The PAC bowl payouts are half any other major conference. Who cares where the bowl games are played? Getting in the games that start after December 22nd and have the highest payouts is the priority. Some t.v. exposure in the heart of SEC country is a good idea too. Getting games on NYE and NY or the day after when everyone is off work is huge as well

    Bear Down Arizona! Wildcat Sports Report, CFO AZ's Certified Tax Coach at Wildcat Tax & Accountingwww.WildcatTax.com

  • I assume that conference re-alignment will alter some of the bowl tie-ins, right? Or are these long term contracts?

    I think we need to get rid of Rose Bowl tie in... perhaps trade or make a deal. The BCS bowls will likely be regional play-offs going forward, right? That is the only BCS bowl that has one and it's only preference. But the fact is that is weakened by the Big 10 and Pac-12 in any year where we do not produce more than 2 great teams (most years) and could hurt our chances at other BCS bowls.

    "Arizona has no tradition" - Bill Walsh "We have a tradition of kicking Bill Walsh's ass" - Teddy Bruschi

  • BradAllis

    Actually several BCS games have tie-ins. The ACC plays in the Orange, the SEC in the Sugar and the Big 12 to Fiesta. Moving forward, once the tourney starts the Big 12 and SEC champions will play in Sugar when they are not in the four-team playoffs.

    Editor-In-Chief of Wildcat Sport Report and co-host of the Arizona football and basketball pre and postgame shows on 1290 KCUB.

  • Gary Randazzo

    What I find troubling is the conference finish order (which is a joke anyone for the Pac-12 because our bowl tie-ins can all but take anyone they want after the Rose, Alamo and Holiday) is diminished because our conference order finish places the Pac-12's best against either the best of a mid-major non-BCS conference (i.e. Boise State), or the 4th, 5th or 6th place team of a BCS conference. That right there is a huge problem IMO.

    Also, I'm not so worried about the BCS bowl games as I am for the bigger non-BCS games that are played on New Year's Day. Why can't the Pac-12 either get one of those slots in the future, or at least move the Alamo Bowl or the Holiday Bowl to New Year's Day?

    WSR Publisher National Basketball Recruiting Analyst Football Writers Association of America U.S. Basketball Writers Association

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