The Wildcats (13-7, 4-3) take on the Cougars (11-8, 3-4) Thursday night at Mckale Center in Tucson, AZ. Arizona is coming off a tough one-point loss in Boulder to the Colorado Buffs. Washington State is coached by Ken Bone in his third year . They are coming off of a big win against the California Bears. They average 71.7 points a game shooting the ball really well at 47.8% from the field and 37.7% from the three-point range. The Wildcats counter by playing really good defense, ranking 2nd in the PAC 12 holding their opponents to 40% from the field. Here’s a look inside Miller’s Chalkboard for an Arizona victory.
TAKE CARE OF THE BALL: The Wildcats seem to always have a problem holding onto the ball, especially in the beginning of the game. We turn the ball over an average of 13.7 times a game in conference play, that is just inexcusable. Most of these turnovers occur in the first half and first ten minutes of the game. We need our players to take care of the ball, and catch passes. If we continue to turn the ball over almost 14 times a game, expect us to finish middle of the PAC 12.
SCORE SCORE AND SCORE: Arizona is 8-1 on the season when scoring over 70 points and Washington State gives up an average of 74 in PAC 12 play. The Cats need to make their open threes as they have been in a slump the past few weeks. If the cats get out and run as Sean Miller said he wants to push the ball more, we should be fine. We are the more athletic team and can really prosper if we play fast paced basketball. We have the depth to run so we need to RUN and SCORE.
REBOUND: Although the Wildcats crashed the boards against Utah and Colorado well, I still think the team who rebounds better will determine the winner. We need Chol, Hill, and Perry getting their usual boards, but what I would really like to see is the guards getting in there and banging with the big boys. Josiah does a great job of this and hopefully Fogg, Johnson, B Lav and Parrom will do the same. If we win the rebound battle we have a better chance of winning the game, so hopefully we keep it up!
PARROM CATCHING HIS SWAG?: It was great to see KP finally looking like the KP of last year. This past weekend Parrom averaged 9 points and 4.5 boards in the two games played, while shooting 9% better than he has on the year (46.7% over the weekend compared to 37.8% on the year). Everyone loves KP for his all around game and toughness (see ASWHO clip), so if he can find his mojo on the latter of the season we could potentially make a run at the PAC 12. Look for Kevin to have a great game and stuff the stat sheet.
COUGS TO WATCH: Big man Brock Motum leads his team in both points and rebounds per game at 15.4 and 6.3 respectively. He is coming off a double double against Cal. Senior Guard Faisal Aden has been on a scoring tear the pat few games putting up 24,33, and 18 points in the previous contests. He averages 15.1 points per game and 3.1 rebounds a game. Junior Guard Reggie Moore does a little bit of everything for his Cougs averaging 8.9 points, 2.5 boards, 5.5 assists, and 1 steal per contest.
PREDICTIONS: Wildcats need to take WSU seriously and not look ahead to College Gameday and they will. The Cats win, 76-71.