Tuesday, February 7

For once, the Sweet 16 was enough for Arizona men’s basketball

For once, the Sweet 16 was enough.

Arizona men’s basketball deals with a standard of expectation that few programs in the nation contend with.

It’s usually Final Four or bust down in Tucson. Been that way since ’88 when Lute Olson took Sean Elliott, Steve Kerr and Tom Tolbert to Kansas City. Longtime fans tell stories about dancing in the Tucson streets in 1997, the last time UA won a national championship. And the disappointment of the Sean Miller-era is still too fresh to reflect upon fondly.

But this was different.

“When we started the season, nobody believed in us,” Arizona center Christian Koloko said Thursday night after 72-60 loss to Houston in the NCAA Tournament.

“We made them believe in us. I’m gonna thank the fans because they showed us unbelievable support throughout the season. … some people ranked us like fifth in the Pac-12 or something. We overachieved. We won the Pac-12 regular season (title.) We won the Pac-12 Tournament. We got to the Sweet 16.

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