Arizona Basketball

Notebook: Arizona Wildcats vs. Boise State Part II




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— Today’s game will be the earliest Arizona will play two games against the same non-conference opponent.

— Arizona and Boise State will meet for the second time in ten days with third place of the 2015 DirecTV Wooden Legacy on the line. It will mark the first time since the 2000-01 season that Arizona has faced an opponent twice in the same non-conference portion of the schedule. The Wildcats beat Illinois 79-76 in the Maui Invitational before losing to the Illini 81-73 in Chicago three weeks later. The two teams went on to meet for a third time that season in the Elite Eight of the 2001 NCAA Tournament with the Wildcats advancing past Bill Self’s team with an 87-81 victory.

— In the first meeting with the Broncos at McKale, Arizona’s guard trio of Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Gabe York and Kadeem Allen were especially effective. Using our site’s productivity rating, the trio combined for 70 productivity points in a combined 74 minutes (.946 rating). York scored a career-high 23 points with four 3-pointers. Allen and Jackson-Cartwright were 9-of-13 from the field for 24 points and eight assists with only three turnovers.

Previous meeting:

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— In the three games since, starting with the Northwestern State game, the production of the three guards has gone south with the entire team. They have combined for a productivity rating of .399 (93 productivity points in 233 minutes). After the victory over Boise State, Arizona’s team productivity rating was at .667 (400 productivity points in 600 minutes. The Wildcats are now at .545 after slipping to a rating of only .429 (268 productivity points in 625 minutes) over the last three games.

— Reasons? Arizona’s lineup has been unsteady with Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski missing at least one game with foot problems in the last three games. Sean Miller has used eight different starters over the same span. The Wildcats are a cold 8 of 58 (.138) from three-point range over the last three games. They also have 38 turnovers to go with 32 assists over the last two games. Miller said after Friday’s loss to Providence that his team is hurt most by poor shooting from beyond the arc and turnovers.

— Defense on the perimeter and wing is a serious concern. That area was a strength last season with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. The Wildcats lack the kind of lockdown defender Miller had at the wing and perimeter spots with Hollis-Jefferson and Nick Johnson over the last few years. Opposing players on the perimeter have gone off on the Wildcats, including Boise State wing player James Webb III (27 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the field), Santa Clara guard Jared Brownridge (44 points on 11-of-29 shooting from the field and 15-of-15 from the free-throw line) and Providence guard Kris Dunn (19 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field). Webb, Brownridge and Dunn combined to make 27 of 56 shots from the field and 26 of 31 from the free-throw line. The abundant trips to the line indicates Arizona’s defenders have experienced trouble guarding attacking wings and guards, usually a step behind, reaching in and fouling.

— Arizona’s loss to Providence was also a difficult one to swallow in terms of the Wildcats’ RPI, which stands at No. 222, 11th in the Pac-12. Only Washington State (No. 275) is lower. Had the Wildcats held on to their late 58-51 lead, instead of allowing Dunn to take over, their RPI would likely be in the 50’s because the Friars are at No. 12. The Wildcats could have enhanced it further with a matchup against Michigan State today. Arizona has potential RPI boosting games in the non-conference remaining against No. 91 Gonzaga, No. 82 Fresno State, No. 115 Missouri, No. 173 UNLV and No. 23 Long Beach State before Pac-12 play starts. The Wildcats will actually benefit from a win over Boise State today because the Broncos have a better RPI (No. 159). If the Wildcats are anything less than 5-1 against Boise State, Gonzaga, Fresno State, Missouri, UNLV and Long Beach State, it’s going to be pins-and-needles time come March if the Wildcats do not finish in the top two or three of the conference. The best-case scenario for Arizona is to of course run the table in the remaining non-conference slate and be 12-1 entering the ASU game on Jan. 3. But the games against the six teams ahead of them presently in the RPI — especially at Gonzaga — will not be easy judging from how Arizona has played lately starting with the Northwestern State game.


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NO. 11 ARIZONA (5-1)

Tip Time: 2:30 p.m. MST
TV: ESPNU (Steve Quis/Brad Daugherty
Radio: Arizona IMG Sports Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)

Overall: Arizona leads 1-0
At Neutral Sites: Never met
Current Streak: Arizona won 1
Sean Miller vs. Boise State: 1-0
Last Meeting: Arizona won 88-76 in Tucson (11-19-2015)

Site founder and award-winning sports journalist Javier Morales has published his first e-book, “The Highest Form of Living”, a fiction piece about a young man who overcomes a troubled upbringing without his lost father (a Vietnam War POW) and wayward mother through basketball and hope. His hope is realized through the sport he loves. Basketball enables him to get past his fears. His experience on the court indirectly brings him closer to his parents in a unique, heartfelt way. Please order it at Amazon (for only $4.99) by clicking on the photo:

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)

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Present RPI ranking of non-conference opponents Arizona has played. The Wildcats’ RPI rating is No. 222. Boise State has an RPI of No. 159.
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Rank: Overall school ranking.
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[table “” not found /] publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He has also written articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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