TV: Pac-12 Network
Line: Arizona -16
After easily taking care of Texas Tech on the road, #8 Arizona (5-0) will head back home tonight for a matchup against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles (6-1). Here are a few headlines to look forward to:
1. Tonight’s starting lineups
Arizona will likely start Mark Lyons (6’1″), Nick Johnson (6’3″), Solomon Hill (6’7″), Brandon Ashley(6’9″) and Kaleb Tarczewski (7’0). USM will go with Jerrold Brooks (6’0″), Rashard McGill (6’4″), Johnathan Mills (6’5″), Michael Craig (6’5″) and Dwayne Davis (6’5″). In other words, Arizona has one of the biggest size advantages they have had all year, and We’ve already seen what they have done to undersized opponents. The only USM player with some size that has received legitimate playing time is Daveon Boardingham, but he’s only 6’7″ and averages only 5 points and 2 boards a game.
2.Point Guard Play
So far this season, there has been little to criticize when it comes to Arizona’s game. One element of concern, however, appears to be Mark Lyons’ point guard play against what has so far been easy competition. He leads the team with Solomon Hill in point production (14 points per game), but has only 12 assists off of 15 turnovers (an assist/turnover ration of 0.8). Compare that to Nick Johnson’s 21 assists off of 4 turnovers (5.25 ratio) and it becomes readily apparent that this is something Lyons needs to work on.
3. Three Point Play v. Points in the Paint
Opponents have been choosing to defend Arizona’s size over their outside shot and, though they have been fairly successful at limiting the Wildcats’ big men from their full potential, have paid for it dearly in giving up the shot beyond the arc. Arizona is hitting an impressive 44% of their three point shots, and four players have been hitting them with over 45% accuracy (Parrom, Hill, Lyons, Jerrett). If USM decides to try what other teams have, don’t expect the Wildcats to be afraid to take the long shot.
4. Players to Watch
Senior Forward Dwayne Davis. Davis averages 15 points and 5 rebounds per game. He is also USM’s most deadly shooter (53% overall and 50% from three point range).
Fun Fact: Fan Favorite Max Wiekping has 6 points for the 6 minutes he has played this year for a ratio of 1 point per minute of play.