Arizona Basketball

We are seeing development of Arizona Wildcats’ best defensive team in program’s history


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WHAT IS PRODUCTIVITY RATING?:
PP: Productivity Points (Points, assists, rebounds, steals, blocked shots, FGs made, FTs made added together and then subtracted by missed FGs, missed FTs, personal fouls and turnovers)
MIN: Minutes played overall
PR: Productivity rating per minute played (Productivity points divided by minutes played)

ARIZONA 60, WAZZU 25
PRODUCTIVITY RATING

* — STARTERS
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ArizonaLogo WSUlogo

If the No. 1-ranked Arizona Wildcats hold their form the rest of the season, we will witness the best defensive team in the school’s history without question.

The 1950-51 team limited opponents to a record-low 30.1 percent shooting from the field and the 2011-12 team shut down opponents from three-point range (school-record 28.5 percent). However, this year’s team has already sustained defensive scoring marks that rival the best efforts of their predecessors and 17 regular-season games still remain.

In Arizona’s last four games at McKale Center, including last night’s 60-25 shutdown of Washington State in the Pac-12 opener, the Wildcats have allowed opponents to average only 40 points a game. New Mexico State (48 points), Southern (43), NAU (44) and Wazzu have failed to score more than 50 points, the longest such streak against opponents in McKale’s 41-year history.

LOWEST HIGH SCORE ALLOWED IN A SEASON
BY ARIZONA WILDCATS AT McKALE CENTER

* Eight home games remaining
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Arizona ranks third nationally allowing opponents only 54.4 points a game, including just 50.4 points at McKale Center. The highest amount scored against Arizona at McKale this season was 62 points by Cal Poly in the season opener. The lowest high score that an Arizona team has allowed an opponent in a season at McKale Center is 72 points in 1985-86, when the Wildcats’ first Pac-10 title team beat Cal 79-72 in two overtimes.

Earlier this season, Arizona doubled Fairleigh-Dickinson’s 50 points at McKale Center. The five games to this point holding opponents to 50 points or less is the most since the 1964-65 team achieved the same mark and we’re not even halfway through the regular season.

Opponents this season are shooting 36.2 percent from the field (sixth in the nation) and only 28.8 percent from three-point range after Washington State’s performance Thursday night in Arizona’s 60-25 victory. The Cougars shot a McKale Center-record low 20 percent from the field. Their record 9.4 percent shooting in the first half resulted in only seven points, another McKale Center mark.

Arizona held host San Diego State to a season-low 60 points in a 69-60 win on Nov. 14. The No. 21 Aztecs have won 10 straight games since.

The Wildcats held Duke to a season-low 66 points in a 72-66 win at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 29. The seventh-ranked Blue Devils have won five consecutive games since that game.

Washington State played without its top scorer DaVonte Lacy, who underwent an emergency appendectomy last Saturday. He is averaging 18.9 points a game.

Arizona coach Sean Miller, whose defense-first mentality has made the Wildcats the No. 1 team, acknowledged the absence of Lacy but said the Wildcats “can only control what we do”. 

“I thought we played efficiently on defense,” Miller said. “A lot of guys took pride in getting stops. The pace of the game was a little slower than we would have liked (with only 60 points against Washington State’s zone defense after the Cougars missed a shot, which happened plenty of times).

“I thought our defensive effort was outstanding. Hopefully, like we have talked a lot about, that it remains with us throughout. That’s the bigger question.”

 
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TOP FIVE ARIZONA REBOUNDING TEAMS
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ARIZONA OVERALL PRODUCTIVITY RATING
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ARIZONA PAC-10/12
PLAYERS OF THE YEAR:
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ARIZONA AS NO. 1 TEAM
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ARIZONA SCHEDULE/PRODUCTIVITY RESULTS
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WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report, Lindy’s College Sports and TucsonCitizen.com.

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