The Arizona Wildcats jumped decisively onto the national basketball radar Monday, appearing in both major men's basketball polls for the first time in more than three years.
The Wildcats, in a tie for first place in the Pac-10 after a sweep of UCLA and USC last weekend, are rated No. 21 in The Associated Press Top 25 media poll and No. 22 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches Top 25 poll.
The Wildcats were last ranked in the AP poll on Dec. 31, 2007, during the first of two seasons led by interim coaches. Under former coach Lute Olson, they were regulars in the AP poll and, despite their long absence, have still appeared in 78.8 percent of them over the past 24 seasons.
Arizona was ranked No. 23 in the USA Today/ESPN postseason poll after it reached the Sweet 16 in 2008-09, but the AP does not have postseason polls.
The ESPN/USA Today poll ranked Arizona No. 25 two weeks ago but dropped the Wildcats last week after they lost at Washington.
The Huskies, who are tied with Arizona atop the Pac-10 at 7-2, are ranked No. 20 by the AP poll and 19 by the coaches.
The Wildcats must play five of their final nine games away from McKale Center, but they will get a chance to host Washington on Feb. 19. They also host the Oregon schools on the final weekend.
Chol enjoys visit
Highly regarded San Diego prep forward Angelo Chol squeezed in a 30-hour recruiting visit to Arizona over the weekend, departing San Diego on Saturday morning after playing a game on Friday and returning Sunday afternoon.
Chol watched Arizona's 82-73 win over USC at McKale Center and spent time on and off campus.
"I enjoyed the visit," Chol said Monday. "I didn't know what the school was like. The campus was nice, and I got to see their home game."
A native of Sudan who has since obtained U.S. citizenship, Chol was accompanied on the visit by his coach at Hoover High School, Ollie Goulston.
"Arizona's done a great job recruiting him, and Sean Miller and Book Richardson have been very good about things," Goulston said. "It's a good situation, and Angelo really likes it. He's got great choices, and I wouldn't think there's any favorite at this point."
After receiving his second technical foul in three games, UA coach Sean Miller didn't appear to agree with a charge call against Derrick Williams near the basket during the second half of the Wildcats' win Saturday. "You worry about safety in a situation like that," he deadpanned.
But Pac-10 officials coordinator Bill McCabe said Monday that his officials are obligated to call charges if warranted outside a small restricted area that measures just 18 inches wide by 24 inches deep.
The NBA's restricted area, by contrast, is an arc with a 4-foot radius from the center of the basket.
"Ours is width of the rim, and the front of the rim to the backboard," McCabe said. "That's a pretty small space. That's the only place in which you could not get a charge at all. No matter what happens it's a block - but (the defender) has to be right under the basket."
Miller also earned a technical a week earlier at Washington State, when he said officials' review of a move by Kevin Parrom unnecessarily made the game longer, but McCabe said the officials had trouble receiving a good replay to view.
MoMo's the man this week
Arizona Wildcats guard MoMo Jones topped the best weekend of his season by picking up the Pac-10 Player of the Week award Monday.
Jones, a sophomore from New York who has been adjusting to the lead point guard role this season, earned the award after scoring 17 points in each of Arizona's wins over UCLA and USC while providing steady ball-handling.
Jones had five assists and three turnovers in the two games, while shooting 70.6 percent from the field, including 3 for 3 from three-point territory. He has scored in double figures in four straight games.
Among other players the Pac-10 considered: Cal's Allen Crabbe, who averaged 15.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in the Bears' wins over Oregon State and Oregon; and WSU guard Reggie Moore, who had 18 points and five assists in WSU's 87-80 win over Washington.
Each week, schools can nominate one player, and the decision is made by the Pac-10 staff. It was the third time a UA player has won this season; Derrick Williams won Dec. 6 and Jan. 17.
• Who: Arizona at Stanford
• When: 7 p.m. Thursday
• TV: FSAZ, Channel 58
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM