Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats’ RPI improves while conquered opponents continue to win


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Former Arizona director of basketball operations Ryan Hansen, who now serves as a radio commentator for the Wildcats, came up with the stat of the year on Twitter last night:

Duke, San Diego State and Michigan are an astounding 36-2 since losing to Arizona, which bolsters the Wildcats’ RPI.

Taking it further: New Mexico State is 8-2 and UNLV 10-3 since losing to the Wildcats. UCLA is also 3-1 since its loss to Arizona and ASU swept Utah and Colorado after losing 91-68 to the Wildcats.

Arizona currently ranks No. 2 in the RPI behind Kansas. The Wildcats have the No. 20-rated strength-of-schedule. The Jayhawks are also No. 1 in that category.

The Pac-12 has six teams in the RPI’s Top 50 — Arizona (No. 2), Colorado (No. 22), UCLA (No. 23), Oregon (No. 37), Cal (No. 43) and ASU (No. 46).

Arizona’s overall record against the Top 50: 6-0.

Utah has an RPI rating of No. 116 but the Utes are 2-2 against Top 50 teams. They have beaten UCLA and No. 48 BYU. They have an inexplicable 49-46 loss at No. 156 Washington State.

It will be strength vs. strength with the Utes’ hot shooters going against Arizona’s stringent defense.

Utah ranks third in the nation shooting 50.8 percent from the field. Arizona is No. 3 nationally allowing opponents to shoot only 37 percent.

The Utes’ junior guard Delon Wright is sixth nationally with a 61.5 percent mark from the field.

Arizona has faced two players ranked in the top 50 in field-goal percentage — NAU forward Max Jacobsen (No. 20) and Texas Tech forward Jaye Crockett (No. 37) — and they were a combined 6 of 14 from the field in losses to the Wildcats.

The important stat is the lack of shots taken. Nick Johnson will have the responsibility of trying to shut down Wright.


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ArizonaLogo utahlogo

UTAH (14-5, 3-4) VS.
NO. 1 ARIZONA (19-0, 6-0)

Tip: 6:07 p.m. MST
Television: Fox Sports 1 (Justin Kutcher/Jarron Collins)
Radio: Arizona IMG Sports Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 91; XM 91
Rankings: Arizona – No. 1 AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Pol; Utah – Not ranked in either.

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Per NCAA national statistic rankings out of 345 Division I teams
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Arizona is No. 1 and 18-0 despite deficiencies with total steals, free-throw shooting and number of three-pointers made. Arizona is solid with its rebounding, defense in particular in the lane and overall shooting percentage. The Wildcats are taking smart shots by taking advantage of their size inside. Two free-throw categories have emerged as a concern: Made and attempted. The Wildcats have missed 151 free throws which leaves them with 303 made, which ranks 160th nationally.

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[/ezcol_1half_end] 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


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