Arizona Basketball

Three top storylines: Arizona Wildcats at Washington State Cougars



The last time Arizona played at Washington State on Feb. 2, 2013, Solomon Hill made this 60-foot shot before the buzzer at halftime (YouTube video screen shot)

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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)

*Starters. List includes players who average at least 10 minutes a game.
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NO. 7 ARIZONA (21-3, 9-2) AT WASHINGTON STATE (11-13, 5-7)
Tip Time: 4:31 p.m. MST
TV: Fox Sports 1 (Aaron Goldsmith/Casey Jacobsen)
Radio: Arizona IMG Sports Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
Overall: Arizona leads, 58-16
In Pullman: Arizona leads, 25-9
Current Streak: Arizona won 7
Last Meeting: Arizona won, 60-25, on Jan. 2, 2014
Sean Miller vs. Washington State: 7-2

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Top three storylines for tonight’s game:

1. No place like home … or Pullman

The Wildcats venture today to Pullman, Wash., where they have the best road record against Pac-12 teams with a 25-9 record.

After losing two consecutive games at Washington State, including an embarrassing 68-50 setback in Sean Miller’s first season in 2009-10, the Wildcats have won three consecutive games there.

Because of the unbalanced schedule in the Pac-12, this will be the first time Arizona will travel to Pullman in more than two years (Feb. 2, 2013, was the last game there).

The Wildcats are playing Washington State for the first time since Arizona beat the Cougars 60-25 at McKale Center on Jan. 2, 2014. That was under methodical coach Ken Bone. He was replaced this year by Ernie Kent, who has the Cougars averaging 70.5 points a game.

Kent had a 5-2 run against Arizona while at Oregon before losing four straight, including two against Miller, before his firing there in 2010.

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2. Arizona road warriors (for most part) under Miller.

Since Miller was hired in 2009-10, Arizona has compiled a 37-26 (.587) record in true road games. The Wildcats’ 37
true road wins overall and 29 Pac-12 road victories are both conference bests over that time frame.

Arizona’s three losses on the road this season are three games Miller and the Wildcats look back on with disdain. UNLV, Oregon State and ASU are a combined 10-14 against opponents after defeating Arizona. When the NCAA tournament selection committee convenes next month those losses will be viewed as potential “bad” losses, although Oregon State remains unbeaten at home.

Road sweeps are difficult to come by. This is the Wildcats’ 23rd two-game conference road trip under Miller. He will go for only his seventh road sweep in that span.

The most difficult road trip looms in two weeks against Colorado and Utah. In the program’s history, Arizona is 11-26 at those Rocky Mountain schools.

3. Who is this guy?

Raise your hand if before the season you knew about Josh Hawkinson? Anyone? … Anyone?

The Washington State sophomore forward will be a bear to handle for Arizona’s Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski defensively and on the glass. Ashley and Tarczewski have been scrutinized for the lateral quickness on the defensive end. Hawkinson will provide a good test of that and their physical toughness.

Hawkinson is averaging a double-double per game. He leads the Pac-12 with 10.7 rebounds per game and ranks 12th in scoring with 14.8 points per game. He’s No. 1 in the league with 15 double-doubles and leads the league with 8.8 defensive rebounds per game.

Nationally, Hawkinson ranks in the top 10 in the following categories: Second in defensive rebounds per game, fourth for double-doubles and 10th in total rebounds.

Last season, Hawkinson averaged just 1.2 points and 1.6 rebounds a game in 6.4 minutes an outing.


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Present RPI ranking of the Pac-12.
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Present RPI ranking of Arizona’s non-conference opponents.
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[table “” not found /] publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also has published articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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