Basketball season is upon us, folks. No more will we have to respond with the most commonly used comeback in the history of discussions surrounding Arizona Athletics:
"Your (insert defeated Wildcat sports team) sucks."
"Oh, yeah? Wait 'til basketball season."
I mean, we've all said it at least once, haven't we?
When the clock strikes 9 p.m. Friday, the 2005-06 Arizona basketball campaign will officially kick off, ushered in by the cheers of thousands of fans during McKale Madness.
The best part of the "Wait 'til ..." phrase is that, thanks largely to men's basketball head coach Lute Olson, those who say it do so with confidence.
So Southern California has won 27 straight football games. So what? Here are some real numbers to chew on:
Twenty-one. As in, "The Arizona men's basketball team has made the NCAA Tournament in 21 consecutive seasons."
Eighteen. As in, "For 18 straight seasons, Arizona basketball has had 20 or more wins."
Three-hundred five. As in, "Olson holds the Pacific 10 Conference record for all-time wins with 305."
And one last one (for good measure): Zero. As in, "The USC basketball team has beaten the Wildcats exactly zero times in their past four meetings."
That's right, Gregg Guenther, wait 'til basketball season.
The phrase applies to all things University of Arizona. For example: "Your weather sucks."
"Oh yeah? Wait 'til basketball season."
"There's no parking on campus."
"Please. Wait 'til basketball season." (Here we witness its complexity.)
You'd think fans would tire of using such a simple phrase, but can they honestly be blamed for keeping it alive when it's so foolproof?
It can be exaggerated ("We'll beat you guys by 50 during basketball season."), extended ("Come November, Mustafa Shakur is going to be dishing out so many assists, you're going to wish it was Sam Keller making those passes.") and repeated for effect ("Basketball season. Wait 'til basketball season.").
Now other Arizona sports have begun to borrow the phrase. Increasingly popular are the baseball and soccer versions, and recently, a volleyball variant has begun to see some use as well.
The evolution of the "Wait 'til ... " phrase has been stunning, but basketball's version remains the most common - and the most effective.
It must be so disheartening for opposing fans fresh off a victory over the Wildcats. Imagine them basking in their glory of victory, only to have a cloud of demoralization rain on their parade.
"Ha! We just smoked you guys in football," a typical USC fan might have said after Saturday night's game in Los Angeles.
"Yeah, Matt Leinart sure does a lot for Tim Floyd's Trojans come November," would be the collective response from the Wildcat nation. "Wait 'til basketball season."
The phrase can be applied to any situation for an easy strike, but the Trojans seemingly didn't learn their lesson.
"Three consecutive Pac-10 titles," boasts their official Web site, to the tune of Fatboy Slim's "Right Here, Right Now."
Here's your opportunity! "Hey USC, how many Pac-10 titles have you won in men's basketball over the last four years? We've won three!"
See? Quick, effective and demoralizing. It's easy, and it quickly reminds the basketball fans everywhere that the Wildcats are on top of the Pac-10 basketball universe.
This year's team welcomes a few fresh faces in freshmen J.P. Prince, Fendi Onobun, Marcus Williams and David Bagga.
Guess what that means? The Wildcats are primed to remain on top of the Pac-10, packing an even more powerful punch behind that all-too-familiar phrase:
"Come basketball season, this one's in the Bagg."
The "Wait 'til ... " phrase is being thrown around throughout the state. After the Wildcats' 2003 loss to archrival Arizona State in Tempe, Arizona faithful used the phrase an estimated 10,000 times, bit by bit stealing a little glory from Sun Devil fans until there was none left.
The Wildcats took things in their own hands last year, downing the Devils 34-27 at Arizona Stadium, and thus the phrase evolved once more:
"Wait 'til ... oh, that's right, it is football season. And it's not looking any brighter for you guys - basketball's right around the corner."
Ryan Casey is a journalism junior and the sports director at KAMP Student Radio. His radio show can be heard Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on 1570 AM or at www.kamp.arizona.edu.