College basketball is alive and well in the state of Arizona.
Thanks to three-straight 20-win seasons, Herb Sendek’s managed to make Arizona State hoops relevant. Arizona hasn’t fallen off the map in the post-Lute Olsen era thanks to Sean Miller’s recruiting efforts and coaching acumen. And everything’s only going to get better.
This Arizona Republic story says that thanks to the state’s improving high school players and the relative excellence and competitiveness between the schools that enthusiasm for college hoops is at a level it hasn’t been in years.
Wells Fargo Arena was stuffed with 14,305 fans, its largest crowd in 14 years. Arizona and Arizona State both were ranked in the top 15 for the first time in two decades. The score was tied at halftime before the Sun Devils pulled out a one-point victory.
It was Jan. 5, 1995, a time when college basketball was relevant in all pockets of the state.
Hallelujah. It’s happening again.
Sure, ASU has won six of the past seven games against Arizona. But Miller’s stocking the roster with talent, just like he did at Xavier. Sendek can’t expect his in-state victories to continue, which is a good thing. It creates quite the fan atmosphere – which fosters its own competition.
As Jeff Eisenberg recounts, Arizona fans pranked ASU thanks to some savvy web work. If you type www.sundevils.com into your browser, it’ll re-direct you to Arizona’s official athletic website. Not that ASU’s happy about it. From Eisenberg:
Nobody has come forward to take responsibility for this prank, but it’s probably safe to assume a group of clever Arizona students are behind this one. A look at the domain history of www.sundevils.com shows that an anonymous individual owns the URL and updated the site on Aug. 5.
A rivalry prank like this one might seem like harmless fun, but Arizona State officials apparently aren’t taking this lightly. According to the Arizona Republic, the university is exploring all legal options since this was done without its permission.
Like I said, college hoops is alive and well in Arizona. Would people care as much if it wasn’t?
Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.