ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said Arizona Wildcats point guard T.J. McConnell is the difference between UA being "really good" and a good team, while saying he was impressed with several things about the Wildcats.
“I think they're really capable," Bilas said on a conference call Monday. "They've got size across the front -- (Kaleb) Tarczewski is big. (Brandon) Ashley has got size. They've got good, young athletes.
“Aaron Gordon is really good. He can run. He can play full court basketball, he's bouncy. …Gordon is not as skilled, but he's really rangy. And he's going to add a different dimension to that group. And Rondae Jefferson is good, he's going to need maybe a little bit more time to get prepared to contribute at the highest level consistently.
“It’s just a question of whether they're going to be able to shoot the ball consistently from the perimeter. They've got a good crew. I really like that team a lot.”
Bilas left no doubt that he's upset about the physical style of play in college basketball today, which the new rules are intended to address by allowing more freedom of movement.
“We are in the same position now we were in in the year 2000 or so, where the game had turned into organized wrestling matches,” Bilas said. “Finally we've had some movement where we can stop the organized fouling, and that's what it is. Coaches, many coaches, have been admitting this: They've been teaching fouling as strategy simply because the referees will not call it.
“All these things have been in the rule book, but now they're codified as rules. They were in the back of the rule book in the interpretation section. Now they're actually in the rules. So the referees have no excuse. They have to call these fouls. They've been fouls forever, and they need to call them.
“If you look back, and I have, at tapes of games from the '70s, '80s, '90s, up into today, it is stunning how our game has become an organized fouling, wrestling match, football game, hockey game. It's ridiculous how bad it's gotten. And I think what this will do is it will bring back freedom of movement into the game. But it's something we have to stick with. And if coaches and players are going to be stubborn about it, they're going to get whistled for fouls.
"And if the commissioners and supervisors aren't strong about it, then the referees are going to be allowed to back slide and slip back into the old way of just letting things go.”
Bilas also said the Pac-12 has improved a great deal and said he did think the "transfer culture" that Ducks coach Dana Altman has cultivated in Eugene is sustainable.
This season, Oregon is expected to challenge Arizona for the Pac-12 title with the help of UNLV transfer Mike Moser and Oregon transfer Joseph Young, among others.
"They had to upgrade the talent and then it's proven successful for him," Bilas said. "Also, he's built up a lot of trust with players that are looking to transfer because they've seen other guys go in there and have a tremendous amount of success, both individually and collectively as a team.
"Dana Altman spent time coaching junior college players. He's a junior college coach. He understands how to mesh things together with older players that know how to practice and knows how to play... It's worked out really well for Dana -- he's one of the great coaches in the country that doesn't get credit for it, in my opinion."
USC big man Omar Oraby is proud of being an Egyptian.
Colorado forward Chris Jenkins has already decided to transfer. Since he redshirted last season, he'll have only two-and-a-half seasons left to play elsewhere unless he gets a waiver or plays below Division I.