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One of the biggest gripe I had with Olsen was that even though we got to the tourney every year we weren't a factor like we should have been. To many Illinois, Santa Clara, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma St loses in the first or second round. One thing in the past five years even with missing the tourney two years we have gone Sweet 16 at least twice and Elite 8 at least once. I like making the tourney I love making runs. Here's hoping we are a constant in the Sweet 16 forthe forseeable future.
Good post and good points. So much is made of how difficult it actually is to win the NCAA title these days, but I think that it's been true the entire time since the field expanded to 64 teams and now 68.
Teams simply cannot afford to enter a game complacent because if they do they can lose at a drop of a hat. Miller, to date, has proven that he knows how to prep his teams mentally come tournament time. Even in the Pac-12 Tourney, he's taken the last three teams to at least the semifinals and lost twice (by a combined four points) in the tourney championship game. In the NCAA's, Miller has outplayed his seeding now twice. As you mention, a "next step" would be starting to string together several NCAA appearance. If he does that, I really like Arizona's odds of a winning a title under his leadership at some point.
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To be fair, the Cats never lost to Illinois in the first weekend and it was Oklahoma, not Oklahoma state.
By my count, Olson (or an Olson era team under an interim coach) went to 25 tournaments and lost in the first weekend 13 times. three 1985, 86 and 87 were the first three appearances in his rebuilding job and they lost to a lower seed each time.
Three of the losses were upsets to mid/low majors 1992, 1993 and 1995, ETSU was mis seeded (three loss team seeded 14), while Miam OH played 30 minutes from their campus.
Of the four other first round losses, the Cats were only the clear favorite once, in 1999 when they were beaten by Oklahoma. In 2004, 2007 and 2008 they were similar seeds to Seton Hall, Purdue and WVA.
Of the second round losses, the loss to Alabama in 1990 was bad, though that team had 4 or 5 nba players. In 2000 (Wisconsin) Loren Woods was out and Wessel, his replacement, was hobbling on a damaged knee that eventyally caused him to give up pro ball. In 2006 the team gave Villanova all they good handle in what was essentially a road game in Philly.
Essentially fron 1988 and on, the Cats played in 22 tourneys and advanced past the first weekend 10 times. In the other 12, they went to four final fours and three more Elite 8's. They lost in the Sweet 16 just five times: 1989 (damn you UNLV). 1991 (Seton Hall, the only tourney game I did not see as I was in KC for a funeral), 1996 (Gave Kansas all they could handle), 2002 (Lute's best coaching job after losing four starters), 2009 (The Russ Pennel team).
BTW, I did that all off the top of my head, so a year or two may be off.
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This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by Mrzipityduda 13 months ago
Hard to complain about Lute. I too have been greatly disappointed in some of Lute games.
That said. How many coaches were able to get to the Final 4 four times??
Win it twice 97 and 2001
I am not appreciative of what Lute did took a team and made it into a program I just remember the end when they would get knocked out early with a run from time to time and started to think about the past five year Penell and Miller.
You could argue that Olson had THE best team twice (89 and 98) and did not win it. I would also say that in 88, 01, 03 and 05 Arizona was as good as anyone and had a legitimate shot. Two of those games, 88 and 01, saw key players with awful shooting nights (Kerr and Gardner). In 01 you also had the terrible officials and the injury to both Luke and Gilbert. 03 Olson made a tactical error against Kansas by not starting Iguodala and Adams in the second half and letting Kansas build up another big lead against the struggling Stoudamire and Frye (another bad shooting night, this time Salim). 05 was its own deal. Had the Cats won they would have given UNC fits in the title game.
Another factor was that when Lute was starting his carear, the regular season was much more of a big deal than it is now. Today the tournament is all that matters and all a coach is judged by. The regular season only exists to determine whether or not you go and seeding. In Lute's early days there was much more emphasis on overall records and conference championships. Just saying that perhaps CSM is more totally focused on the tournament than Coach Olson was.
Lets hope that this is the case...build to the TOURNEY
Seriously....Would you rather win the PAC and flame out like we have in the past or like ucla did this year...or be where we are now ??
Sure ucla beat us 3 times and it hurt.....but right now I would not trade those loses for wins and not be in the Tourney.
Im happy where we are at this moment.
Now beat OSU
I do like our situation now zip. it just seems that maybe we've gone too far in trivializing sustained effort over the course of an entire season in American sports today. By letting more teams into the postseason we have generated more widespread fan interest and generated a lot more revenue. A lot of people are cashing in. I just have misgivings when the sucess of a season is judged entirely by the post season.
Brad: I was at the Seton Hall game and Olson got his best three point shooter at the time an open look from the corner in the last seconds that would have won or tied the game (I don't remember which) had it gone in.
Go to 25 tourneys, you are bound to lose a couple unexpected games. The same argument could easily be had for Coach K, Booby Knight or anyone.
IMO, the first measure of a college hoops coach is getting tot he tourney. The nest would be final Fours and then national championships would be the ultimate (obviously).
IN NCAA tournament victories Lute (46) trails only:
Jim Calhoun (ouch)
He is ahead of Knight, Sutton, Pitino, Izzo, John 'racist' Thompson,
He's tied for 5th place on the list of Final four appearances and is one of only three coaches to take two different schools to the FF (Roy Williams, Rick Pitino)
Can't find a tournemnt winning % for lute, but Arizona's is .648 - which is 16th all time, BUT... if you remove FGCU, Layola Chicago, City College of NY, all new or Division 3 now, we're #13 and Long Beach State is #10, which Lute is also somewhat responsible for.
Sean Miller is tied for 11th among coaches in the field this year at.688 (11-5). Interesting the guy he is tied with is Thad Matta, who is 22-10!
"Arizona has no tradition" - Bill Walsh
"We have a tradition of kicking Bill Walsh's ass" - Teddy Bruschi
Lute's teams peaked in December and January.
Miller seems to follow the Bobby Knight theory of peaking in March.
Of all of the HOF college basketball coaches only 3 have equivalent or better tournament resumes in their first 8-10 years as a head coach than Miller's 2 Elite 8's and 3 Sweet 16's and one of them is Bobby Knight. Lute, Roy, Rat Face, Boeheim, Dean aren't the other 2.
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