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Thursday, October 23, 2014 | Last updated: 8:07am

Absolute madness: Arizona Wildcats win amid terrible Fox Sports 1 broadcasting



Arizona men basketball’s terrible offensive performance last night in Corvallis, Ore., was only outshone by the broadcast of Fox Sports 1.

Arizona made 24 of its 57 shot attempts (42 percent), and despite never finding a rhythm continued to chuck up 3-pointers as if desperately attempting to come from behind. The Wildcats made 37 percent of their 19 3-point attempts.

But as soon as the game was almost too difficult to watch, Fox Sports 1 helped all its viewers out by making it unbearable to listen to as well.

“Tarczewski took one in the Tarczewskis,” said Fox Sports broadcaster and former NBA player Marques Johnson.

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Justin Quinn/ The Daily Barometer Arizona senior guard Jordin Mayes (20) dribbles around Oregon State sophomore guard Langston Morris-Walker (13) during Arizona's 74-69 win against Oregon State at Gill Coliseum on Wednesday in Corvallis, Ore.

As Arizona continued to take ill-advised shots and allow the undermatched Beavers to stay in the game, the Fox Sports 1 broadcast kept pushing viewers away with ill-advised comments and production decisions.

With less than five minutes in the game, and Arizona hanging on to its No. 3 ranking by a thread, Fox Sports 1 took broadcasting to an all-time low.

Former NBA All-Star and Oregon State star Gary Payton, a regular on the network, was allowed to join in on the game from the Fox Sports studio in Los Angeles.

An interesting and possibly insightful move turned into a decision that was as bad as the Wildcats’ 19-30 free-throw shooting last night.

Instead of bringing colorful commentary, Payton acted as if he was at the game sitting in the Beavers’ sparse student section — yelling into the studio’s microphone at the players as a student or alumnus would. Sadly, Payton was the loudest fan who could be heard from Gill Coliseum.

After a quick minute on the air, Payton was pulled. His Beavers couldn’t hear him. They were on the wrong end of a game that was full of short runs.

The 10 ties and eight lead changes ended with the Wildcats finishing off Oregon State on 10-5 run in the final five minutes.

Luckily for Arizona, its poor performance will likely be swept under the rug. Arizona came away with the five-point road victory, and tweeters were too distracted by Fox Sports 1 to give any attention to the game.

At the end of the day, the game is behind the Wildcats. They are one game closer to March Madness and the games that actually matter.

From here on out, the Wildcats could lose to Oregon on Saturday and lose their opening Pac-12 Conference tournament game on March 13 and still have a strong enough resume to deserve a one seed in the NCAA tournament.

That doesn’t mean nothing can be learned from Wednesday’s game.

Sophomore center Kaleb Tarczewski has taken his game to another level by becoming more of an offensive threat; foul trouble in the previous two games kept him from being as effective.

When Tarczewski isn’t on the court is when Arizona might struggle the most, especially when the defense isn’t getting quick rebounds and the offense is setting up in the half court. This is a problem the Wildcats may need to address before playing a team in the tournament that also has a dominating low post presence, something many teams in the Pac-12 don’t have.

Arizona might have also been brought back to Earth. After a strong offensive showing in their previous two games at home, the Wildcats showed they are vulnerable but can still pull out victories on the road, even if the stands are half empty and broadcasters thousands of miles away are screaming.

Wednesday was good practice for the players and fans of the madness they will soon encounter.

—Follow Luke Della @LukeDella


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