The Race is on! The race for the Pac-12 Basketball regular season title that is, as Arizona Basketball looks to get back on track against Washington.
With the regular season almost halfway over, the Arizona Basketball team (13-6, 3-3) will look to stay in the conference championship race with a big road game on Thursday night in Seattle against the Washington Huskies.
However, the challenge ahead may not be so easy for the “Jekyll & Hyde” Wildcats, who since starting the season hot at 8-0, have gone cold, going just 5-6 in their last 11 games, even falling out of the national rankings yet again.
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Things are still a little raw, as last Saturday, the questionable second half benching of sharp-shooting senior Max Hazzard by Arizona Coach Sean Miller may have contributed in another heartbreaking, one point loss to rival ASU. As we’re unfortunately all familiar, the Wildcats blew a 22-point lead.
In his press conference earlier in the week, Miller had said “I gotta do a better job of putting our players in a position to be successful”. And hopefully Miller and the team takes it to heart.
As it stands, the team currently sits in fifth place in the conference standings, and the Wildcats surely cannot afford to drop another game.
Meanwhile, the Huskies are also looking to rebound, following a one-point loss at Utah, and two, tough overtime losses within their last four games. Although Washington (12-9, 2-6) is currently in the conference cellar, it is still anybody’s race. Only four games separate first place (6-2) and last place (2-6) teams.
Stud freshmen Zeke Nnaji for Arizona, and Isaiah Stewart for Washington, look to go head-to-head in an enticing match up of big men. Their incredible season numbers are also very similar as these star frosh each lead their teams in points, rebounds & blocks respectively.
But Washington’s slower-paced style of play, alongside their vaunted, 2-3 zone defense, that could cause the Cats problems.
If Arizona can’t hit some timely outside shots and have more issues with turnovers, it will be extremely difficult to come away with this crucial victory. Rebounding is sure to be a key in this game as well!
Can the Wildcats finally execute down the stretch and get back on track with a huge win in Seattle? Or will they continue to struggle making enough big plays when the game is close and remain winless on the road?
At Zona Zealots, we’re hopeful the Cats can come away victorious, and improve significantly from that loss to ASU. As always, Bear Down, Arizona!