Arizona Basketball

Opponents paying for running afoul against Arizona Wildcats


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Kadeem Allen exemplifies Arizona's aggressive ability of taking the ball to the hoop, drawing fouls, against Long Beach State in transition (YouTube video)

Kadeem Allen exemplifies Arizona’s aggressive ability of taking the ball to the hoop, drawing fouls, against Long Beach State in transition (Pac-12 Networks video)

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Only once has an opposing player not fouled out against Arizona. That was against Providence, the only team to beat the Wildcats in the completed non-conference schedule.

Long Beach State’s Nick Faust, who led the 49ers with 17 points in their 85-70 loss to Arizona on Tuesday night, became the 17th opponent already to foul out against the Wildcats in 13 games.

Last season in 38 games, 26 players fouled out against Arizona.

The opponent season record for foul outs is 38, set in 1974-75. Opponents are on pace to have at least 40.5 foul outs by the time the regular season ends. That does not include the postseason.

What it all means: This is Sean Miller’s most difficult team to defend in his seven seasons at Arizona.

None of the players in the 10-player rotation have an offensive deficiency. They may get mired in a shooting slump like Parker Jackson-Cartwright or struggle from beyond the three-point line.

But the reality is Miller does not have to game plan around players who could adversely affect the offensive flow.

None of the players are primarily defensive-minded (Rondae Hollis-Jefferson). The post players can score in different ways — Dusan Ristic with his fundamental moves and positioning and Kaleb Tarczewski (when healthy) with his ability for put-backs and to command space around the hoop with his size.

At the core of Arizona’s attack are the guards — Allonzo Trier, Gabe York and Kadeem Allen — and the unstoppable play of Ryan Anderson within 10 feet of the basket.

All of them can finish. Trier and York especially can make opponents who fall back to defend the lane pay from beyond three-point range.

Trier, York, Allen and Anderson combine for 215 free-throw attempts (163 made). Add Ristic to those numbers and it’s 259 attempts with 188 made. Divide the attempts by the 13 games, and that equals 19.9 free throw attempts per game — from a core of five players — not including Tarczewski, forward Mark Tollefsen or the rest of the team.

Arizona attempted 32 free throws against Long Beach State and made 28. Nobody can stop the Wildcats if they shoot free throws like that with the way their core players are drawing fouls because of their aggressive style.

Arizona has made more free throws (246) than the opposition has attempted (209).

Another reflection of Arizona’s aggressiveness is its rebounding with a plus-12.8 average over opponents. The Wildcats out-rebounded Long Beach State 40-20.

Arizona out-rebounded Providence 43-22 and led by seven points with about five minutes remaining. That’s when Kris Dunn, saddled by foul trouble all game, came alive and carried the Friars to a 69-65 win. Dunn, Ben Bentil and Rodney Bullock finished with four fouls each. One more foul against Dunn and Arizona is unbeaten heading into Pac-12 play.

Judging from the way opponents are fouling out, Arizona will more often than not get that one foul that it needs.

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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 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:
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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).

SEASON PRODUCTIVITY RATING
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ARIZONA 85, LONG BEACH STATE 70
PRODUCTIVITY RATING

* — STARTERS
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com 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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