Simon's shot means more than just a win

By Patrick Klein
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 13, 1996

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Patrick Klein


Miles Simon.

Those two words seem to be the best way to get anyone's attention these days.

So, now that we're on the subject of 70-foot bombs to win games, let's talk about what 'the shot' means in terms of Arizona basketball.

No. 1 The deja vu factor: Let's count the number of times in recent history the Wildcats have fallen victim to a last-second shot.

1989 UNLV 68, UA 67 - Anderson Hunt's jumper from around the 3-point line eliminated the Wildcats in the Sweet Sixteen. It was Sean Elliott's final game as a Wildcat.

1992 UCLA 89, UA 87 - This win broke Arizona's 71-game winning streak at McKale Center. It was provided by Bruins guard Derrick Martin, whose fall-away jumper in the lane gave UCLA the win.

1993 Kentucky 93, UA 92 - It was only the finals of the Maui Invitational, but the game was played with the frenzy of the Final Four. A Kentucky put-back off a missed shot at the buzzer was the difference.

"We've been on both ends," UA forward Corey Williams said after the Cincinnati game. "We lost at the buzzer in Hawaii to Kentucky. You work so hard during the game for it to come to that. If it goes in, it feels like Christmas."

If nothing else, Simon's shot shows that what goes around comes around, and that Christmas can come in February.

No. 2 The NCAA Tournament: Sure, there's still three full weeks until March, but the shot now puts UA back in the hunt for the No. 2 seed in the West Region.

Granted, Arizona's seed will be determined in the coming weeks based on how they fare at UCLA and the Washington schools, but it never hurts to have another win against a top-five opponent. Try this scenario: Utah, now ranked No. 7, finishes in that vicinity, and the Wildcats are able to move into the same neighborhood - not an impossibility since they are currently 13th. Who do you give the second seed to, a team that has wins against Arkansas, Michigan, Georgetown, UCLA and Cincinnati, or Utah, who has only played two ranked teams - Kansas and Wake Forest - and lost to both.

What could a No. 2 seed be worth to Arizona? Consider that the locations for the west bracket are Tempe and Albuquerque, with the regional in Denver. It never hurts to stay near home, and close to places fans can get to. Just remember, the last time UA was placed in the West Region. It was 1994, and the Wildcats advanced to the Final Four.

No. 3 The Pacific 10 Conference factor: The Cincinnati game was not a conference affair, but it still is important. What better way to revitalize a team for the rest of the conference grind than to say, "hey, do well and get a good seed for the tournament, and look what you are capable of. You just beat a probable No. 2 seed."

Of course, the flip side to it is all the emotion generated by the win will leave the team drained for the Bruins Thursday, and UCLA will wipe the floor with them.

Who knows? Who cares? 'The shot' was a great moment.

Patrick Klein is sports editor of the Arizona Daily Wildcat.