Arizona Wildcats Basketball Travels to Tempe for Round 2

Recap from this weeks edition of the radio interview show “Wildcat Basketball Weekly” with Arizona Wildcats Basketball Coach Sean Miller and The Voice of the Wildcats Brian Jeffries.

The subject of “brackets” starts coming up in February, this can easily distract the team who has 9 more PAC 12 division match up games left in their season.  Per coach Miller, “There are a lot of distractions for the team…[we] focus on how was practice today?”

Of the 9 PAC 12 games left, 5 are on the road and 4 are at home.  This week the Arizona Wildcats (20-2, 4-2 Away) play only one away game against their rivals the Arizona State University (ASU) Sun Devils (11-11, 10-3 Home).  This is the second match-up with ASU this season; the winner of the first match-up was the Wildcats.

The game will be played this Saturday, February 7, 1:30 PM PST on FOX.   Discussing the upcoming game, coach Miller explained, “The next game is really the only game that matters…we are responsible and working collectively to be the best we can be in each and every one of these games.”

On what affects performance in a game he explained, “Our performance is a product of what we do every day in practice…we are concentrating on how we can be the best we can be for each game.”

Jan 30, 2015; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats guard T.J. McConnell (4) shoots the ball during the second half against the Oregon State Beavers at McKale Center. Arizona won 57-34. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Brian asked the coach about how guard T.J. McConnell is playing, the coaches response was as follows: “He is our most consistent player…similar to Nick Johnson….TJ does it on both sides of the court for us…he is our floor general.”

There are 7 days between their last game and this next game and coach miller feels that the only thing they can control is how ready they are.  The team is taking on an Arizona State team that shoots the 3 pointer exceptionally well who will be playing on their home court.  Arizona State is 10-3 on their home court; Arizona is 4-2 away.  What can the team control? Per the coach, “We can control how ready we are how prepared we are.”

Arizona State shoots the most 3 pointers in the PAC 12 division and they are at their best when Bo Barnes and Johnathan Gilling make their 3’s.  They are going to bring it all their desire to win to this game Arizona because they have something to prove as well as this being a revenge game for them.  Hopefully the student section’s “Curtain of Distraction” does not affect our players…you are giggling, but read this research on the “Curtain of Distraction” and its effectiveness, a per HarvardSportsAnalysis.org written by By Austin Tymins:

“Since visiting teams only directly face the student section in the 2nd half, we can easily see if the stunt has an effect. On the face of it, it seems so. Teams shoot 68.6% in the 1st half and 60.6% in the 2nd half on free throws, while there is not a detectable difference in FT% between the 1st and 2nd half nationally. In the table below, we can see how each opponent has performed at the line against the Sun Devils at home.”

In the last game Arizona had an overall high shooting percentage than ASU, around 50% for FG and 3-pointers vs. around 30% for ASU.  Both teams were even on shooting percentage for Free Throws and fouls committed (20 vs 21).

Prediction: Arizona 70 – Arizona State 55

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