A rivalry is reborn
McKale Center observations from Saturday's 89-82 victory against Arizona State . . .
- Lute Olson, perhaps one of the classiest coaches anywhere in the collegiate ranks, was honored after the game when UA Athletic Director Jim Livengood and company named the hardwood at McKale the Lute Olson Court.
Although this was somewhat unusual in that naming ceremonies are typically reserved for retired coaches, this was a well-deserved honor for Coach O, the assistant coaches and the players who have shuffled through the program.
Livengood repeatedly said last week, "why not?" when asked why he was bestowing such an honor on an active coach. Unlike giving the UA a student section at basketball games, this was a decision he did not sit on.
Olson may be uncomfortable practicing on a court with his namesake, but he has earned it.
- Finally, basketball fans have an in-state rivalry to look forward. ASU head coach Rob Evans has done wonders for the Sun Devils since migrating from Mississippi.
That being said, his team plays the dirtiest basketball of any Pac-10 team. Sophomores Chad Prewitt and Awvee Storey were more worried about getting under the skin of sophomore Michael Wright and redshirt freshman Luke Walton than playing the game.
But, it made for an great game, and the Evans-led ASU teams are a lot better than those from the early 1990s. At least these teams come out with the desire to win.
Plus, a talented and dirty ASU team gives the fans a reason to be involved in the whole game, like they were on Saturday.
- Freshman Gilbert Arenas shut down the conference's most selfish player - All-Everything Eddie House - for the second time this season. The worst part for House wasn't his pitiful three-for-15 shooting night, but the way he finished the game.
With just less a minute remaining and the Sun Devils still within striking distance, UA inbounded the ball after an ASU basket. House, who was 10 feet closer to ball handler than anybody, did not foul and instead ran away and found another Wildcat to defend.
Why did he do this? Because he had four fouls and did not want to foul out.
Some would argue that a team needs its best player in at the end of the game. This is true, except when that player is having a horrible night and the crowd has completely taken him out of his game.
House should have folded, but he ran away and let about five additional seconds tick off the clock. Doesn't sound like much, but his team needed every second during their respectable comeback attempt.
Ultimately, though, he got what he deserved - a four-year career with no victories against the Wildcats.