There was a lot of banter this week as to how successful a year this was for Arizona Athletics, that coming with the end of the softball and baseball seasons.
Arizona Softball made it to the Super Regionals for a fifth straight season.
The majority of programs across the country would kill for a streak like that but it also marked the 8th straight year the Wildcats did not advance to the Women’s College World Series.
Here in Tucson that is a bit of a disappointment. I say bit because ultimately you can’t argue with a program that consistently makes it as far as Mike Candrea’s outift does.
They used to be a national championship contender but for almost a decade now they’ve been just a step lower which certainly isn’t a bad thing.
UA Softball got about as far as I expected they would this season. I did not see them going to the WCWS, especially after losing 9-of-12 to three Top 5 teams during Pac-12 Conference play.
I also did not see Arizona Baseball getting into the NCAA Tournament.
Jay Johnson’s crew had to battle through several key injuries to players like Randy Labaut and Cal Stevenson and unfortunately it caused them to be wildly inconsistent.
There were times I looked at that team and thought they could play deep into June and then times when they couldn’t even get out of their own way.
To me ultimately you don’t deserve to be in any tournament if you’re under .500 in league play which is why I was floored Mississippi State Softball made the NCAA Softball regionals after going 7-17 in the SEC.
The latest Learfield Directors' Cup standings are out and there will be an additional release on June 7.
The release last week included the final numbers from three sports, women’s water polo, women’s beach volleyball and men’s indoor volleyball.
The Wildcats only play one of those sports so their standing did not change much.
UA finished the Winter Sports in 61st place. A placement that is likely as low as the athletics program has ever had.
The Wildcats are currently in 62nd place as beach volleyball did not make the NCAA Tournament and thus received 0 points.
That placement will obviously get a huge boost with the standings that will be released next week.
Those standings will include women’s golf where Arizona rallied in dramatic style to win the national championship.
UA will receive 100 points for finishing first.
Softball will receive a 9th place finish which is given to teams that lose in the Super Regional round. That is worth 64 points.
Those two women’s sports alone should boost Arizona back into the Top 40.
The Wildcats could pick up additional points for men’s and women’s track depending on how those teams compete at the upcoming NCAA Championships.
UA’s lowest ever placement in the Learfield Director’s Cup was last year when the Cats finished 42nd.
This year only six of the program’s 12 teams in the Fall and Winter scored points.
Some of the most consistent teams in the past (women’s volleyball, gymnastics and women’s indoor track) came up empty for UA.
So as far as performance on the field overall, this is not going to go down as one of the better years for Arizona (since score has been kept).
But of course athletic department performance is not just about what happens on the field.
It’s also about what happens off the field and in the classroom.
I will take an extensive look at that as well once all the numbers are in.
Athletics Director Dave Heeke announced in his weekly Wildcat Wednesday that the department's cumulative GPA for this recently completed spring semester was 3.028, the highest ever for one semester.
How I rank the academic side will be based on placements on the Pac-12’s All-Academic teams and only include overall number of 1st team selections and in sports in which UA competes.
So far in looking at the five Fall sports and two additional sports the Wildcats rank 9th in the conference in 1st team Academic All-Americans.
UA fans will not be pleased to hear that Arizona State is tied for first but likely will be pleased that USC is last.
Again we will flush through all of these numbers when the final report cards are in as well as give our final opinions on how this year will be remembered in terms of performance.
We already know how it will be remembered in terms of off-the-field publicity.
Copyright 2018 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.
7831 N. Business Park Drive
Tucson, AZ 85743