The Pac-12’s biggest rival of men’s basketball teams is…
Which team is the biggest rival to the Arizona men’s basketball team today? Is it ASU, UCLA or Oregon?
After watching UCLA beat Arizona Basketball last week at Pauley Pavilion, I realized how much it hurt to lose to the Bruins. My two Wildcat girls almost covered their eyes for the last few minutes of the game in the stands and one of their best friends had to leave with two minutes to go, he just couldn’t take it.
But who is the Wildcats’ biggest rival?
Advocacy for ASU
As we all know by now, ASU is a huge rival for the Arizona football team and virtually every other sport, but Arizona leads ASU in game victories (156-86) at the basketball, and while it’s definitely fun to see Bobby Hurley upset and ASU losing to Arizona, one would assume the Sun Devils aren’t the biggest rival in men’s basketball for the Wildcats.
Advocacy for Oregon
The University of Oregon Ducks have always seemed to find a way to be one of the best teams in the Pac-12, at least recently. They were crowned Pac-12 champions in 2013, 2016 and 2019 and were coached by Dana Altman for nearly 12 years.
Altman has seen many of his players transition to the NBA after college, his teams have made multiple NCAA Tournament appearances, and they are well known in college basketball.
Since 1949-50, Arizona has held the overall standings match record 51-36; however, Arizona has lost the last seven games to the Ducks, including three at home at McKale Center. Oregon is a competitor for Arizona, but not the biggest rival.
Advocacy for UCLA
On March 15, 2013, against UCLA, former Arizona head coach Sean Miller was called for a technical foul. With about 4:47 left in the second half, Mark Lyons was driving the ball when UCLA’s Jordan Adams touched the ball. But the Pac-12 referees called a double dribble on Lyon, and as a result, Miller reacted to the referees by repeatedly shouting, “He [Adams] hit the ball!
Now what a lot of people missed during this game was opposing coach Steve Alford, who was so upset at one point during the game that he ripped off his suit jacket and threw him in the bleachers, no technical foul was called.
Later, it was revealed that the Pac-12 head umpire encouraged his subordinates to “T-Up” Miller, with foreign trips as a bonus. He was eventually fired. But the fact remains that the two coaches were hot during the match.
Again, in 2017, another Pac-12 Championship semifinal game against UCLA, Miller called a timeout with 0.9 seconds left. What’s so interesting about it? Well, Miller still had a timeout, and he usually wins games when he has a timeout left. But what’s even more glaring is that the Cats won the game by 11 points.
The crew and assistants were laughing their heads off, Kobi Simmons in particular was filmed laughing, they all knew that.
miller said it was to make sure his team was “ready” for the rest of the game. However, as we all knew, Miller called this timeout perhaps petty because just two weeks prior, UCLA head coach Alford called a timeout in a similar situation. It was retribution and it’s the epitome of some classic rivalry stuff.
Now, you’d think ASU would be the Arizona men’s biggest rival in basketball, but even Jon Wilner, The Mercury News wrote that UCLA vs. Arizona is “The Pac-12’s Best Basketball Rivalry”.
This season, the first of another UCLA classic game against Arizona was postponed due to COVID protocols in the Bruins’ program, but many believed that because both teams had openings on their schedules, it would have happened sooner. .
And when it’s not, fans have accused UCLA of postponing the game until UCLA head coach Mike Cronin’s Bruins are back in shape, and oh did we forget to mention, UCLA allowed fans back into the stands after Jan. 21.
The actual game was played on January 25 and was the third game in a week on a long road trip for the Wildcats.
After all these years, beating ASU has been fun, but when Arizona beats UCLA, it gives me a huge boost. So we thought we’d ask ourselves and the fans which team they thought was Arizona’s biggest men’s basketball rival(s).