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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Lost rivalry


When Arizona played UCLA during the Lute Olson era, it was usually a big game and usually for first place.

In year two of the Sean Miller era, the rivalry is dead. Arizona players see the game as a big game in terms of Pacific 10 Conference play, but not a rivalry.

When starting point guard Momo Jones was asked whether he had any particular feelings toward UCLA or USC this weekend, his answer wasn’t what many Arizona basketball followers would have expected.

“”No, it’s just some more games,”” he said, uninterested in calling the Bruins a rival. “”It’s at home, one of them is on ESPN — it’s just another game.””

Who would have ever thought two of the most storied programs in college basketball history facing each other would be just another game?

It seems that Washington has overtaken UCLA as the Wildcats’ second biggest rival after ASU.

Arizona players should see UCLA as a rival, considering the Bruins are the team that ended Arizona’s season last year in the Pac-10 tournament and basically put an end to its quarter-century-long NCAA tournament streak.

Maybe Jones is just a youngster who hasn’t come to grips with whole UCLA-Arizona thing yet?

That’s not the case either. Even senior Jamelle Horne seconded Jones’ lack of enthusiasm toward the Bruins as a rival.

“”No, I wouldn’t say a rival,”” Horne added, “”just a big game on our schedule. We’re going to need some big time efforts from a lot of guys.””

Jones talked about how the fans in Washington told him his tattoos don’t make him tough and Horne talked about Washington State fans filling up an entire side of their arena, but neither said too much when asked about the Bruins.

On the other hand, Sean Miller takes great pride in the history of the programs, but even he sounded as if the rivalry needed to be re-established.

“”There aren’t too many games that will be played in the months of January and February, and you could look at two teams on the same court that have a history that we both have,”” he said. “”Moving forward, I know Arizona and UCLA have year in and year out have challenged for the conference championship, I know that’s one of the things we want to restore on our end.””


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