Line: Arizona -9
Arizona will take on UTEP tonight at McKale center for a late one at 8:00PM. UTEP did not have a great season last year (15-17), but return with a veteran team that knows how to play together. Arizona, meanwhile, has a fairly new crew of guys learning to work together, so it might be more interesting than people think. Here are some interesting facts and thoughts for tonight’s matchup:
1. UTEP head coach Tim Floyd
This man should be given a standing ovation when he enters the arena tonight. While a head coach at USC, Floyd declined to take the Arizona head coaching position when the search was in full heat–the Wildcats went with Sean Miller instead. Floyd resigned from USC soonafter due to an investigation into Floyd’s recruiting practices insued. Miller then proceeded to take Floyd’s top recruits: Solomon Hill, Derrick Williams and Momo Jones. In so, so, so many ways, Thank you Tim Floyd. Thank you very much.
2. Tonight’s starting lineups
Arizona will most likely go with Mark Lyons (6’1″), Nick Johnson (6’3″), Solomon Hill (6’7″), Grant Jerrett (6’10”) and Kaleb Tarczewski (7’0). UTEP is likely to go with with Jacques Streeter (6-0), Jalen Ragland (6’6″), Julian Washburn (6’8″), Cedrick Lang (6’9) and John Bohannon (6’10”).Therefore, it looks like Arizona has a slight advatage when it comes to size, but not by much.
Arizona’s starting lineup will feature two freshmen, while UTEP’s will feature not a single one. When it comes to depth, Arizona will have much more: Against Oral Roberts, UTEP’s starting five played for 25 minutes or more and noone off the bench got more than 16 minutes. Against Charleston Southern, Arizona only had three players go over 25 mintues and gave nine players double digit minutes.
Don’t expect Arizona’s starting five to stay out on the floor for very long. Miller took advantage of Arizona’s depth and used a barrage of combinations during the Charleston Southern game and will likely do the same.
3. Similarities and Differences
In UTEP’s season opener against Oral Roberts, the Miners gave up only seven turnovers and caused 20. Similarily, Arizona gave up only eight turnovers to Charleston Southern and caused 15. Arizona had an impressive 25 assists and UTEP had 18. In other words, both teams look well disciplined and well coached.
The glaring difference between the two teams’ opening games are three point attempts. UTEP had only seven attempts, while Arizona jacked up 32 in response to Charleston Southern’s pesky zone defense. Expect Miller to change that, as I am sure he would like to take more advantage of the size he has.
4. UTEP’s Player to Watch
Junior Center John Bohannon (6’10”). He was the leading scorer against Oral Roberts (17) and last year’s leading scorer and rebounder for UTEP. If Kaleb can’t handle him, expect Angelo Chol to get some quality minutes.