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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Predictions

Where will Arizona finish?

The only direction to go is up for the Arizona men’s basketball team. However, there’s still a hill to climb. The Wildcats return to the postseason after a year’s absence. A year of improvement shows as Sean Miller’s club finishes in the top three of a still weak Pacific 10 Conference and earns a low seed in the tournament, where the Wildcats will get knocked off by a more experienced team.

First round, NCAA tournament

MVP

Derrick Williams can score the ball, but in Miller’s system, getting Williams and his teammates in the position to be successful rests in the hands of point guard Momo Jones. As a sophomore, Jones doesn’t have to be like the playmaking, ball-dominating guards Arizona has seen in the past; he simply needs to be the vocal and on-court leader the Wildcats need to get through times of struggle. Judging from his preseason attitude, he’s well on his way to doing just that.

Momo Jones

Where will Arizona finish?

Since the Arizona basketball program missed the tournament for the first time in 25 years, everybody began to question whether Arizona was still a basketball school. Let’s put that to rest right now. Arizona has a basketball program. The football program has come a long way, but quite frankly, it has no chance when the basketball program is stable. Miller has brought stability. Since football couldn’t bring a Rose Bowl for Christmas, basketball will bring a Sweet Sixteen party for spring break.

Sweet Sixteen

MVP

This one is a no-brainer. Last season, Williams was the most consistent Wildcat as a freshman. This season, he will only get better. Williams has NBA millions on the line each night he suits up for the Wildcats this season, and the better his team does, the more his stock will rise. Williams will be great knowing he’s a big-time season away from a David Stern handshake.

Derrick Williams

Where will Arizona finish?

With Stanford dominating the top of the conference table for the better part of a decade, the position of the Wildcats in the Pac-10 standings will essentially be based on which Arizona team decides to show up in each contest. If the team comes to play like they did in their season opener against Wichita State, by playing competitively for an entire 40 minutes plus overtime, then there is no reason that they cannot finish in the top half of the conference. However, if they start to show shades of their winded second half play that was far too present last year, the Wildcats could end up in the bottom three, right where they finished last year.

Fifth in the Pac-10

MVP

While it’s hard to choose against Ify Ibekwe in her senior season, the emergence of Davellyn Whyte was the most significant asset for the Wildcats last year. The combination of her accuracy from the perimeter as well as her ability to get to the basket makes her one of the most dynamic players on the Arizona squad. With the 2010 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year award and the title of Arizona’s single-game scoring leader in her back pocket, don’t be surprised if Whyte is on the short list for Pac-10 Player of the Year for the rest of her career at Arizona.

Davellyn Whyte

Where will Arizona finish?

Arizona will take another step toward rebuilding its women’s basketball program and finish fifth in the Pac-10 after finishing ninth and eighth in the last two seasons respectively, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Ify Ibekwe’s leadership and Davellyn Whyte’s scoring will win the Wildcats plenty of games, but Arizona’s newfound depth is still young and will run into a few speed bumps throughout the year. Arizona could put it together and make a run in the Pac-10 tournament and even make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005, but it will be hard with the inexperience at point guard.

Fifth in the Pac-10

MVP

Whyte is going to be the Wildcat that puts up the most impressive numbers, but she wouldn’t be doing it without Ibekwe, who has been named to both the Naismith Trophy and Lowes Award watch lists. Ibekwe averaged a double-double last season, with 14 points per game to go along with 11.4 rebounds. To compliment the inside game Ibekwe has showed off the past three seasons, she has also added a 3-point shot which will only open things up more for her in the paint.

Ify Ibekwe

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