5 takeaways from Arizona’s resilient run to the Pac-12 Tournament championship

LAS VEGAS — Unscathed in Las Vegas as soon as once more.

No. 2 seed Arizona took down top-seeded UCLA 61-59 on Saturday night time at T-Mobile Arena to win its second straight Pac-12 Tournament championship. The Wildcats are 9-0 in Las Vegas underneath Tommy Lloyd — 10-0 general going again to 2020. Lloyd is the one coach in Pac-12 historical past to have a 6-0 report within the convention match.

Arizona additionally prolonged its conference-best Pac-12 Tournament championship whole to seven, and the Wildcats did it by avenging earlier losses to UCLA, Arizona State and Stanford — a revenge tour, if you’ll.

As the Wildcats shift their consideration to the NCAA Tournament, listed here are 5 takeaways from their championship weekend in Sin City:

Arizona heart Oumar Ballo (11) shoots in opposition to UCLA ahead Kenneth Nwuba (14) through the first half of their sport for the championship of the Pac-12 Tournament, Saturday, March 11, 2023, in Las Vegas.

1. Injuries hit at inopportune timeArizona heart Oumar Ballo will enter the NCAA Tournament with a damaged hand. Ballo, who was named to the All-Pac-12 Tournament group after averaging 17 factors and eight rebounds in three video games, revealed that he broke his left hand through the Wildcats’ semifinal win over Arizona State on Friday.

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“I dunked the ball and felt so much pain in my hand,” Ballo instructed the Star in Arizona’s locker room late Saturday.

Ballo, the Pac-12 Most Improved Player, has been enjoying with pink tape on his proper hand for a thumb harm he suffered in early February. Ballo performed in opposition to UCLA on Saturday with black tape on his left hand. Ballo instructed the Star he plans to play within the NCAA Tournament.

“I’m good,” he stated. “Just a collision, but I’ll be fine for next week.”

In a since-deleted tweet, Ballo posted a screenshot of an X-ray that confirmed an harm on the base of the ring finger on his left hand, with the caption: “Broke a hand against ASU yesterday and got a ring for it tonight.”

Playing with each fingers taped up was a problem for Ballo, particularly in opposition to the Bruins.

“Man, it’s hard. Playing against UCLA, they swipe every time we touch the ball,” Ballo stated. “We just had to keep it high and avoid contact.”

Fellow Arizona starter Kerr Kriisa enters March Madness with a proper shoulder harm he suffered in Thursday’s win over Stanford.

“Everybody’s banged up this time of year,” Lloyd stated. “It’s really, really, really hard to play three games in three days. And I think all us coaches, if we had our druthers, we would get together and find a way to lighten the load on our players in these tournaments.

“In college basketball at the highest level, it’s hard to have great depth anymore because there’s so much parity. To ask six or seven or eight guys, whatever it is, to go play high-level basketball three straight nights is a lot, and so I think you’re going to see more and more of these teams across the country getting guys banged up.

“So hopefully there’s a way we can kind of all rally around and get together and figure out a way to kind of lessen the impact on the players so teams can be closer to 100% come tournament time.”

Arizona ahead Azuolas Tubelis (10) is defended by UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. through the second half of their sport for the championship of the Pac-12 Tournament, Saturday, March 11, 2023, in Las Vegas.

2. One group’s loss is Arizona’s acquire

The Wildcats weren’t the one group within the Pac-12 Tournament coping with accidents.

UCLA ahead and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Jaylen Clark reportedly is out for the season with a Achilles’ harm, and Bruins heart and Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Adem Bona suffered a shoulder harm in Friday’s win over Oregon. Bona, who was questionable for Saturday, was held out. He donned a grey UCLA jumpsuit and stored his left hand tucked into the entrance pocket of his hoodie through the sport.

UCLA forwards Mac Etienne and Kenneth Nwuba fouled out and mixed for 3 factors and 10 rebounds in 33 minutes, which left Bruins ahead and Pac-12 Player of the Year Jaime Jaquez Jr., who’s 6-7, defending the 7-foot Ballo within the remaining minutes.

“We compete. It’s five on five,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin stated. “We don’t accept that somebody was out so you’re supposed to lose. We don’t roll like that.”

UCLA guard Tyger Campbell (10) passes the ball as Arizona guard Pelle Larsson (3) and Arizona ahead Azuolas Tubelis (10) defend through the first half of an NCAA school basketball sport within the championship of the Pac-12 match, Saturday, March 11, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Chase Stevens)

In the times main into the Pac-12 Tournament, Lloyd was requested if he would take into account extending Arizona’s bench past Pelle Larsson and Kylan Boswell. Lloyd’s response: “We’re going to go game to game. We’ll see. … I think we have some guys ready to help if needed.”

Arizona performed its common seven-man rotation within the first two video games of the Pac-12 Tournament earlier than deploying wing Adama Bal, who hit two 3-pointers within the Pac-12 Tournament remaining in opposition to the Bruins final season, and freshman ahead Henri Veesaar within the first half vs. UCLA; collectively, they performed 5 minutes and had two rebounds.

Lloyd stated the choice to put in Bal and Veesaar was due to “foul issues and three games in three days.”

“I really like Adama and Henri, and so they’re going to be nice gamers at Arizona, however we’re simply sadly not in a position to make use of ‘em quite enough now,” Lloyd said.

“But I love our seven guys. I feel really good about our seven guys, about what we can do on the offensive end, what we can do at the defensive end, the versatility we can play with, the different lineups we can play with. I think it’s a reasonably spectacular seven dudes.”

Arizona guard Courtney Ramey, heart, celebrates alongside teammates after their win over UCLA in an NCAA school basketball sport for the championship of the boys’s Pac-12 Tournament, Saturday, March 11, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Chase Stevens)

4. ‘Built to play a lot of styles’

In a means, the Pac-12 Tournament was a microcosm of how the Wildcats have received a number of video games this season. On Thursday, Arizona scored 95 factors on 64% capturing in a win over Stanford, the third-most factors scored by this system in a Pac-12 Tournament sport. Then on Saturday, Arizona beat the Bruins in a sport akin to the Wildcats’ 58-52 “rock fight” win over UCLA in January.

The Wildcats didn’t rating their first factors till the 16:27 mark within the first half, when Azuolas Tubelis made two free throws. Arizona didn’t make its first area objective till the 14:56 mark. The two groups began the competition capturing a mixed 1 for 13 from the sphere; the Wildcats and Bruins ended up capturing 37% on Saturday.

Arizona guard Courtney Ramey was 1 for five from 3-point vary, however the one make was essentially the most essential area objective of the video games: a go-ahead 3 to place the UA forward 60-58.

“I kept telling myself the next shot was going in,” Ramey stated. “(Tubelis) found me, and my job was to make a play. So I was grateful for the shot to go in.”

Lloyd stated “it’s hard to get in an up-and-down game with UCLA because they’re perfectly comfortable walking the ball up the floor and dictating the tempo.”

“And then they’re simply so good defensively it’s laborious to attain on ‘em quick,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd added Arizona is “built to play a lot of styles,” a trait that bodes well heading into the NCAA Tournament.

“I think it says that we have a group that’s constructed to play on this match we’re about to start out in,” Lloyd stated. “There’s no guarantees and you can’t make any assumptions, but I like our ability to win game to game.”

Arizona ahead Azuolas Tubelis holds up a bit of the web after the group’s win over UCLA in an NCAA school basketball sport for the championship of the boys’s Pac-12 Tournament on Saturday, March 11, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Chase Stevens)

5. Learning from final go-around

It’s formally win or go house for Arizona.

If there’s something the Wildcats discovered from their Sweet 16 loss to Houston in Lloyd’s first season on the helm final 12 months it’s “rebounding and physicality.” The Wildcats had been outrebounded and outscored within the paint by the Cougars. Tubelis had solely two factors and shot 0 for 8 from the sphere to associate with 4 turnovers and 5 rebounds.

“That game was so physical, man. It was hard, and we learned,” Ballo stated. “Me personally, I learned a lot from that. I need to be ready for that kind of game; rebound the ball and match their physicality and just keep the energy up.

“We were there last year, so we know how it feels. We know the feeling of winning and losing. We have to do everything we possibly can to stay winning.”

“It’s an additional particular honor for me,” Arizona head males’s basketball coach Tommy Lloyd stated passing North Carolina’s Bill Guthridge for many wins (59) by a head coach in his first two seasons on the helm. Lloyd spoke to reporters March 9, 2023 after Arizona’s 95-84 win over Stanford within the quarterfinals of the 2023 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. (Via Pac-12)

Arizona males’s basketball coach Tommy Lloyd stated he is not involved with Arizona’s seeding within the NCAA Tournament or location of first and second rounds: “If you’re worried about that stuff after a 31-game regular season, then you’re worried about the wrong things.” Lloyd spoke to native media March 7, 2023 at McKale heart, forward of the 2023 Pac-12 males’s basketball match. Video by Justin Spears/Arizona Daily Star

Contact sports activities producer Justin Spears at jspears@tucson.com. On Twitter: @JustinESports

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