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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Kings of the Pac: Wildcats win tournament title and other tidbits from Saturday’s championship

Simon Asher

Arizona head coach Sean Miller after the Pac-12 Championship against Oregon on Saturday, March 11. The Wildcats beat the Ducks 83-80. 

LAS VEGAS— It wasn’t easy but the Arizona Wildcats won their second Pac-12 Tournament title in the Sean Miller era in thrilling fashion over the Oregon Ducks 83-80 in T-Mobile Arena on Saturday.

The madness now begins and Arizona will find out Sunday where their first destination will be en route to a possible Final Four in Glendale. However, let’s take a look at the main items from tonight’s championship game.

Trier has marbles

Allonzo Trier watched teammates Lauri Markkanen and Parker Jackson-Cartwright step up to the line and miss both free throws at a crucial point in the game. Trier isn’t about that life. The sophomore cemented his legacy as one of the better guards in Arizona history as he calmly stepped up to the line and knocked both free throws to clinch the crown for Arizona.

Trier, a gym rat by nature, credited his confidence at the charity stripe to all the work he puts in during his off time. It paid off in the form of not only a championship but also being named the tournaments Most Outstanding Player.

PJC and Kadeem key down stretch

Senior Kadeem Allen and Jackson-Cartwright each made key plays to lift Arizona to victory, that is obvious. However, the way each contributed was as important to keeping momentum in the Wildcats favor as anything else they did Saturday.

Allen made key defensive stops including taking a game changing charge against Oregon’s Tyler Ennis with 55 seconds left in the game. It was a play the Wildcats needed at just the right time, which allowed them to maintain momentum and ultimately the game.

PJC, on the other hand, hit key threes in the second half, each time thwarting Oregon runs and keeping the Ducks at bay. The smallest man on the court delivered some of the biggest blows to Ducks championship hopes as evidenced by a high rising rebound among the Oregon trees to keep the game from getting out of control. Some serious thought needs to be given as to whether Damon Stoudamire is the real Mighty Mouse, PJC looks every bit the part now.

The road to Glendale

Sunday we will see where the Wildcats will start their championship journey, most expect them to receive a two seed in the West region. It would be ideal and a fitting reward to a team that beat the No. 3 and No. 5 ranked teams this week. Ideally, the Wildcats would start in Utah and then the following week set out for San Jose.

There shouldn’t be a lot of worry about a No. 1 seed from Wildcat fans. A No. 1 seed would most likely not be given over Gonzaga, even though the Zags play in a weak conference. Sending Arizona to any other region as a No. 1 seed would be more of a punishment than a reward, restricting local fans more by traveling across the country.

Vegas is Wildcat country

Make no mistake about it, Las Vegas wears red and blue during the first week in March. The atmosphere in T-Mobile Arena was only heightened by adding the additional 4,000 or so seats from the previous venue, MGM Grand. It seems the additional seating was solely for Arizona because it was a home tournament of sorts. Arizona fans have become obsessed with Vegas and it has resulted in a definite home court advantage.

Rawle Alkins or Daniel Kaluuya?

Everyone has a doppelgänger and sometimes it can be so eerily similar that you have to take a second look to make sure your eyes aren’t deceiving you. Enter Daniel Kaluuya, star of the new movie Get Out. If you don’t know who Kaluuya is, well you will now as his resemblance to UA forward Rawle Alkins is uncanny.

Alkins has received ribbing from his teammates about the resemblance, but taken it in stride. Alkins mentioned he attended the movie and when he left, people in the theater that didn’t already know who he was asked if he was the star of the film. You can expect that to come up several more times this month.

Follow Saul Bookman on Twitter.

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