Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats, ASU have most arduous Pac-12 trek down stretch


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Quick notes of the Territorial Cup, hoops style …

>> Arizona and ASU do not play the L.A. and Washington schools in the second-half of the Pac-12 season, because of the unbalanced schedule, which means they have the most difficult trek down the stretch. Washington (No. 72 RPI), USC (No. 132) and Washington State (No. 166) are not on the horizon. Neither is UCLA (No. 16). Other than not playing the Bruins in Tucson, which is unfortunate and a noticeable void, the Wildcats’ lofty RPI should not be affected with their remaining schedule.

The five road teams Arizona must face, starting tonight against ASU, are a combined 64-8 at home.

>> Anybody have a guess as to how many Arizona fans will help fill Wells Fargo Arena? Before 2010, the capacity was approximately 14,000. Capacity was reduced to 10,754 to make the arena more “aesthetically pleasing” with a wall of Sun Devil greats in place of seats on the upper concourse.

I am guessing about 30 to 40 percent of Wells Fargo will be Arizona fans, which means about 3,000 to 4,000 fans. In an arena that small, Arizona’s fans will be heard loud and clear.

“It’s obviously our biggest rival, so it’s definitely a bigger game in a sense to all the fans,” said junior guard Nick Johnson, who is from Gilbert. “It’s definitely a good thing to hear the ‘U of A’ chants while you’re playing.”

>> Another question: Whose famous birthday will Bill Walton mention today on Valentine’s Day? Hugh Downs, Jack Benny, Gregory Hines or Carl Bernstein (of Woodward and Bernstein fame)?

>> Since his hire at ASU in 2006, Herb Sendek is 2-8 against Lute Olson and Sean Miller. He was 5-0 against the interim staffs of Kevin O’Neill, Russ Pennell and Mike Dunlap in 2007-08 and 2008-09.


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ArizonaLogo ASUlogo

NO. 2 ARIZONA (23-1, 10-1) at
ARIZONA STATE (18-6, 7-4)

Tip: 7:05 p.m. MST
Television: ESPN (Dave Pasch/Bill Walton)
Radio: Arizona IMG Sports Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
National Radio: Sirius 85; XM 85
Rankings: Arizona – No. 2 Associated Press Top 25/No. 3 USA Today Coaches Poll. Arizona State – Not ranked in either.


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MN-Magic number to win regular-season title
z-Eliminated from regular-season title contention

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PAC-12 RPI (
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Per NCAA national statistic rankings out of 345 Division I teams
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Arizona is No. 2 and 23-1 despite deficiencies with total steals, free-throw shooting, number of three-pointers made and now three-point shooting percentage (35.0). In Pac-12 games, Arizona is shooting only 31 percent from three-point range.

Arizona is solid with its rebounding, defense in particular in the lane and taking care of the ball (an early-season problem). Arizona’s free-throw percentage is a major concern, with the Wildcats’ ranking of 276 out of 345 teams.

McConnell leads the Pac-12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.93). ASU’s Jordan Bachynski leads the nation with 4.46 blocked shots per game. Jermaine Marshall leads the conference shooting 43.8 percent from three-point range. Nobody has taken more shots (357) than Jahii Carson in the Pac-12 but nobody has made more (157) either.

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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 and Lindy’s College Sports.


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