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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Five things to expect in sports

No. 1: … an exciting home football season

Iowa. California. Oregon State. Washington. USC. ASU. Those are quality football programs you get to look forward to seeing in Tucson this season.

The Rose Bowl is decisively out of USC’s hands for the first time in a decade, so if you don’t get excited about Arizona welcoming these six schools to Arizona Stadium, you might not be a college football fan.

No. 2:  … the men’s basketball program to return to its former glory

Sean Miller’s first season as head coach of the Arizona men’s basketball team was marked by buzzer beaters and a heartbreaking conclusion to Arizona’s NCAA Tournament appearance streak at season’s end.

What was promising, though, were the five freshmen who emerged as one of the best classes in the Pacific 10 Conference. Now, with a year of experience under their belts, expect their performance to improve — along with the number of tallies in the win column for the Wildcats on the hardwood.

No. 3: … national recognition

Arizona has always been known for basketball, but other Wildcat athletic programs have gained recognition throughout the collegiate world with conference and national titles in the last five years. With televised games in basketball, football and volleyball in the fall and national powerhouses in men and women’s swim and dive and softball, the Wildcats will be synonymous with Arizona instead of Northwestern, Kansas State or Kentucky.

No. 4:  … youth to take over

The men’s basketball team wasn’t the only program to have an influx of freshmen make significant contributions to Arizona athletics last season. The baseball team was the youngest in the Pacific 10 Conference, with 17 freshmen on its roster. Arizona softball’s ace arrived in the form of freshman pitcher Kenzie Fowler, who racked up 38 wins on the season.

The veterans might be the team leaders, but it’s the young guns who are stepping up to the plate.

No. 5: … Greg Byrne to be more involved

Arizona’s new athletic director Greg Byrne has already started to make his mark at Arizona. Just a few months into his tenure, Byrne is already giving fans more access to the athletics program. His statements on Twitter and weekly letters to fans through Wildcat Wednesdays on arizonawildcats.com give fans a glimpse into his job and the lowdown on what’s going on around the Arizona athletics world.

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