Make that seven in a row for Arizona.
And is Russ Pennell going to be the Pac-10 Coach of the Year?
Mike Montgomery (California) and Lorenzo Romar (Washington) can certainly make a case, as could Herb Sendek (Arizona State). But as long as the Wildcats don't collapse down the stretch it's looking more and more like Pennell deserves the award, particularly following Saturday's 84-72 thrashing of UCLA.
It's incredible -- as I detailed in Thursday's column -- the way Pennell has been able to inherit a bad situation, take some early lumps and still position Arizona for a 25th consecutive NCAA tournament. The Wildcats have gone from 11-8 (2-5 in the Pac-10) to 18-8 (8-5 in the Pac-10) in a matter of roughly three weeks, and even if they lose every remaining road game (at Arizona State, Washington State and Washington) they'll still finish with a winning record in the Pac-10 as long as they don't take a home loss to California or Stanford.
Translation: This is going to work out OK.
That's my prediction.
And though it probably won't land Pennell the Arizona job on a fulltime basis -- athletic director Jim Livengood is aiming much higher, according to everything I've been told -- what it should do is let Wildcat fans enjoy this season that seemed destined to be a debacle before it even started. Then when it's all over and done, Pennell will get to listen to other schools that will almost certainly be interested in his services, because he'll possess the type of coaching credentials that can't be ignored, plus a Pac-10 Coach of the Year award to boot.