Every analyst seems to be talking Arizona basketball and not in a good way. Everywhere you look- from Yahoo, CBS, ESPN, to USA Today- has at least one of their analysts picking the Belmont Bruins to upset the Arizona Wildcats. All of their arguments have valid points too:
Arizona defends the three terrible; Belmont shoots 39% from long range.
Long shots means long rebounds, therefore size doesn’t play much of a role.
Arizona has gone 5-5 in their last 10.
Arizona can’t close out games.
Belmont has had success in the tourney over recent years.
Then again, we don’t call it March Madness for no reason. Any seed is susceptible to an upset come first round, except maybe a #1 seed. What makes Arizona an easy target one might ask? The controversial 14-0 start, the fast collapse, the East Coast bias, and anything else you can think of. But I’m not here to jump on the Bandwagon, I’m here to tell you why I think Arizona will make the Final Four. Let’s look inside Miller’s Chalkboard to the keys to Arizona making the Final Four:
Freshman Play: The Cats have been on somewhat of a downfall the recent months, but their freshman play has been increasing each game. The three big men for the Cats have all contributed in three important categories; points, rebounds, and blocks. They will be a big part of Miller’s game plan and I see this being a coming out party for any one of them, if not all.
Leadership: Seniors Kevin Parrom, Solomon Hill, and Mark Lyons have all been here before and know what it takes to string a few victories together. They will need to give the Cats a big basket at many times throughout the tourney if they wish to punch their ticket to Atlanta. They must play within themselves and do what they do best; trust each other. If all three are clicking on all cylinders and getting everyone else involved, there is no doubt they can beat anyone. The question is, who will show up?
Defense: Miller’s teams tend to get better on the defensive end throughout the year, not this team. They seemed to have gotten worse giving up 63 points a game, good for 96th in Division I basketball. They have had trouble closing out on shooters, limiting second chance opportunities and turning the ball over, giving the opponent easy transition points. The Cats will need to beardown and play tough defense if they wish to make it past the first round.
The Wildcats have a favorable road to success if they execute on all cylinders. They must take it one game at a time and it starts Thursday with the Belmont Bruins at 4:20 PM Tucson time. GO CATS!
Tags: Angelo Chol Arizona Wildcats Arizona Wildcats Basketball Belmont Bruins College Basketball Grant Jerrett Kaleb Tarczewski Kevin Parrom Mark Lyons NCAA March Madness Tournament Nick Johnson Pac-12 Basketball Sean Miller Solomon Hill