Arizona Basketball returns to action with tune-up game

Dec 5, 2020; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats forward Ira Lee (11) shoots over Eastern Washington Eagles guard Kim Aiken Jr. (24) during the first half at McKale Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 5, 2020; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats forward Ira Lee (11) shoots over Eastern Washington Eagles guard Kim Aiken Jr. (24) during the first half at McKale Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

After having some time off Arizona Basketball (5-0, 0-0) finally returns to action with a tune-up game against the California Baptist Lancers (3-2, 0-0).

After coming away with the grind it out victory against UTEP this past weekend, the Arizona Basketball team finally returns to action, looking to extend their winning streak to six-straight games.

With Stanford looming this weekend, I know a lot of hype will be put into that game, however, the Wildcats cannot lose focus as California Baptist University comes to town.

Arizona Wildcats
Arizona Wildcats /

Arizona Wildcats

Despite the Wildcats being heavily favored against the Lancers, CBU will present a bit of a challenge. With a 3-2 record, they are talented team that likes to push tempo, and they shoot quite well from beyond the arc. They even almost came away with the upset against USC just a few weeks ago.

If the Wildcats take care of business, this is a team they should ultimately blow out, however, the focus and intensity have got to be there, and this is another opportunity for the Cats to settle their roster and find their rhythm before squaring off with Stanford on Saturday.

If the Cats are going to win, they are going to need another solid performance, and it also means bringing the effort and intensity as well. Even though they have looked pretty good this year, the competition has indeed been inferior, and it is hard to gauge just how good this team is in the early parts of the season.

If they are going to win, these are the Keys to the Game:

Bring the Intensity & Focus: Arizona has done a rather good job of bringing the intensity and focus each game, however, unlike any other games this season thus far, their first major test against Stanford this weekend is looming.

For a young team that is still trying to settle their roster and rotation, this game is an important one, and it’s one in which Arizona can’t take too lightly.

Bring the intensity and bring the focus, and take it to CBU before preparing for Stanford this weekend.

Find your Consistent Scorers:  So far this season, the Wildcats have gotten quite the contributions from the transfers James Akinjo and Jordan Brown. Additionally, Jemarl Baker and Ben Mathurin have been quite the pleasant surprise this season as well.

However, as the Wildcats still try to settle their rotation, we don’t know who will be able to keep up the high level of production as the season progresses.

Arizona is going to need to continue to find their consistent scorers, and using this as a tune-up game to settle their rotation isn’t a bad thing.

Work for Good Shots: Arizona has been a surprisingly good shooting team this season, however, their game against UTEP wasn’t one of their better games. After going a combined 59-104 (.567) from the field, and 25-50 (.500) from three the previous two games, the Wildcats finished just a meager 22-56 (.393) and 0-9 (.000) from three.

For this game, Arizona is going to have to work for good shots. Don’t force anything, just take what the defense gives you and find your rhythm again.

Game Information:

Date: Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

Time: 5:00 PM MST (Arizona Time), 4:00 PM PST

Location: Tucson, AZ – McKale Center – Tucson, AZ (14,545… 0)

Line: -20.0 Arizona

Television: Pac-12 Network

Radio: Arizona IMG Sports Network Arizona Wildcats (Try TuneIn Radio)

Team Records:

  • Arizona Wildcats (5-0, 0-0):  Arizona is undefeated and playing well, albeit against inferior competition. This game is a winnable one for the Cats, but they got to take care of business.
  • California Baptist Lancers (3-2, 0-0): The Lancers are a fairly competitive team, having already taken USC to overtime, before coming away with the 95-87 loss in Overtime.

All-Time Record: 0-0. Based on my research this is the first meeting between the Wildcats and the Lancers.

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Hopefully, the Cats can come away victorious on Wednesday evening and as always, Bear Down, Arizona!