Arizona’s 110th men’s basketball season is drawing closer with the kind of fanfare Wildcat fans became accustomed to during Lute Olson’s hey day.
Sean Miller, entering his fifth year as the UA’s head coach, has fueled the excitement with his recruiting ability and track record of two Elite Eight appearances (one with Xavier) and four Sweet Sixteens. Only 45, Miller is 216-90 overall after nine years of coaching.
He is four wins shy of achieving his 100th victory with the Wildcats. His record at the UA stands at 96-47.
From a historical perspective, Olson was 53 when he reached 100 victories the UA, also in his fifth year. How far did the UA go that season, 1987-88? The Wildcats advanced to their first Final Four appearance. Will history repeat itself in Miller’s fifth season?
The national media believes the UA has a golden opportunity.
The Wildcats, featuring freshman sensation Aaron Gordon and a talented returning cast led by junior Nick Johnson, are ranked No. 5 by the Blue Ribbon Yearbook and The Sporting News. Athlon had Arizona ranked No. 5 in its early rankings. Lindy’s has the Wildcats at No. 11.
This site will run a countdown toward the season-opening game Nov. 8 against Cal Poly at McKale Center. Included in the countdown will be graphics such as the one at the top of the page honoring the best players to wear the uniform number that relates to the day.
The countdown will begin after 8 p.m. tonight — the UA is scheduled to face Cal Poly at 8 — with 50 days officially from the start of the season.
I have posted the graphic of former UA center Bob Elliott (No. 55) at the top of the post and ones for talented forward Phil Taylor (No. 52) and the late great Al Fleming (No. 54) because we are past those days in the countdown.
According to the UA media guide, these are the players who have worn Nos. 51-55 for the Wildcats:
Numbers retired are italicized