Where: Pullman, Washington
When: 8:00PM (Mountain)
TV:Pac 12 Network
Radio: Wildcat Radio
The #8 Arizona Wildcats (18-2, 6-2) looks to sweep the Washington schools on Saturday when they take on the Washington Sate Cougars. WSU (11-10,2-6) is in the bottom quarter of the Pac 12 with just 2 wins (both against the last two teams in the Pac). Washington State did have a 9-point halftime lead against #10 Oregon two weeks ago before the Ducks dismanteled them in the second half, winning by 7. We all know the Cats are suceptible to starting the game slow, so lets look inside Miller’s Chalkboard for the keys to taking control early and not finding themselves down early:
Stop Brock: WSU is led by Brock Motum, and has been for the past few years. Last year, Brock tortured our undersized big men for 46 points and 14 rebounds in the two contests against the Wildcats. Although the Cats won both games, they will need some great defense from their big men to keep Brock from leading an upset. If the Cats can control Brock, they will win the game. He is averaging 18.9 points and 6.6 rebounds a game this season. Other Cougars to be on the lookout for include; Mike Ladd (G) who averages 11.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists a game and Royce Woolridge who puts up 7.7 points a game and leads the team in assists at 2.6 a game.
Team Ball: How much more improved did Arizona look when they played USC compared to when they played UCLA. Night and day right? Yeah I understand they are two completely different opponents, but that doesn’t dismiss the fundamentals of the game. Arizona really spread the ball well around on offense against USC compared to one-on-one basketball against UCLA. Arizona will need to execute team defense and offense every game this year if they wish to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament come March. I expect Sean Miller to reiterate this concept into the boys and will look for the team to improve tremendously in all aspects of the game, especially on defense. This was again seen in the ladder of the Washington game Thursday night.
Rebounds: Arizona will need to keep Brock and the Cougars off the glass, limiting their second chances as well as creating more for ourselves. Sean Miller re-inserted Chol into the rotation and I think Chol will play a big role come Saturday with his effort on the defensive end. The big freshman will need to keep improving as they have thus far in the season and contribute on both ends of the floor. likes to distribute the minutes among the usual 8-9 players and will do the same Saturday. How the players come out and take advantage of their gifted talents will depict the outcome.
Prediction: The Wildcats sweep up North and win easy Saturday night 74-61.