Arizona Basketball

Notebook: Arizona Wildcats vs. USC




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— USC is clicking in Andy Enfield’s third season, demonstrating that maybe Pat Haden knew what he was doing after all when he hired him in 2013. Today’s game will be a contrast in styles. Arizona is more about penetration and getting high percentage shots off the break or in its halfcourt set, while USC likes to jack up threes and shoot the ball as quickly as possible following an opponet miss. USC has made 137 three-pointers, No. 1 in the Pac-12 and tied for 38th in the country. In the last four seasons, USC has finished 11th or 12th among Pac-12 teams in three-pointers made. USC is averaging 41.1 percent from beyond the arc (13th in the country), while its opponents are shooting 31.1 percent from long-range. Arizona, meanwhile, ranks 290th in NCAA Division I with 5.5 three-pointers per game.

— USC’s Bennie Boatwright (32), Katin Reinhardt (30), Jordan McLaughlin (27) and Elijah Stewart (27) all rank in the top 15 among Pac-12 players in three-point baskets made. No other conference team has more that two players in the top 15. The good news for Arizona is its three-point shooting defense ranks relatively high at No. 47 (30.8 percent allowed). The problem is UCLA made 50 percent of its three-pointers (11-of-22) in Thursday’s 87-84 loss in which Arizona’s defenders looked lost tracking down the Bruins’ shooters, especially Bryce Alford, coming off high screens. If Arizona defended two of those attempts better with communication and hustle fighting through screens, it’s a different outcome.

— Speaking of hustle and defense, it will be interesting what lineup Sean Miller goes with after he mentioned following the UCLA loss that changes might be made to shore up his defense. Kaleb Tarczewski is coming off one his best games at Arizona with 12 points and 12 rebounds showing demonstrative tenacity around the hoop the coaching staff has begged from Dusan Ristic to display. Tarczewski also had two blocked shots. He definitely has a presence of a dominating center as long as he puts himself in the right position. The other defensive change should be freshman Justin Simon earning more minutes in place of Mark Tollefsen, who has shown improvement but is still adjusting to a high level of play after three years at in the West Coast Conference. People tend to forget that Tollefsen was hardly recruited out of high school and he played at a mid-major before this season. It’s a huge transition.

— Add Tarczewski: He became the 50th Arizona player to reach 1,000 career points in the game at UCLA. He now stands at 1,006, only two points shy of Matt Muehlebach for No. 49 on the Arizona career scoring chart. Tarczewski is also chasing Muehlebach’s record for most victories by an Arizona player in a career. Muehlebach has 109, which is 11 more than Tarczewski’s 98. Gabe York has 93 career victories. How’s this for a stat?: Tarczewski and York appear en route to join Sean Elliott and Anthony Cook (1985-89) as the only other Arizona senior duo to each achieve at least 104 career victories. Elliott and Cook each were part of 105 victories.

— York is also chasing 1,000 career points despite playing in a limited reserve role through most of his first two seasons in Miller’s program. York has bided his time behind Nick Johnson and Stanley Johnson the last three seasons and now has 832 career points, 200 already this season with 16 regular-season games already. His career-high for a season was 340 points last season.

— Two of the Pac-12’s best freshmen will be on display today with Boatwright and Arizona’s Allonzo Trier on the perimeter. Boatwright, a 6’10” player with NBA size, is averaging 12.1 points and 5.3 rebounds. He currently leads the Trojans with 32 three-pointers made, is
fifth in scoring and third in total rebounds (72). Trier ranks eighth among Arizona freshmen in the last two decades with four 20-point games already. He won’t catch Jerryd Bayless’ mark of 16 20-point games in 2007-08 but he can catch Derrick Williams’ nine such games in 2009-10. He has already passed the Pac-12’s last two freshmen of the year — Aaron Gordon and Stanley Johnson — each of whom had three 20-point games.

— Balance vs balance today: USC has six players averaging 9.8 or more points and eight players have averaged 3.1 rebounds or more in the first 16 games. Seven different Trojans have scored at least 16 points in a game this season. Arizona has seven players who average 8.2 points or more and seven with at least 3.3 rebounds a game. Arizona has eight players who have scored at least 12 points in a game. Both teams have shown a tendency to commit a lot of turnovers with USC averaging 13.2 after having 15 against ASU on Thursday. Arizona is averaging 12.8 turnovers a game but the Wildcats have improved in that category with only 16 against ASU and UCLA (eight each game) after committing 30 in the previous two games against UNLV and Long Beach State.


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NO. 7 ARIZONA (13-2,1-1) VS.
UCLA (9-6, 0-2)

Tip Time: 5:10 p.m. MST
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Kevin Calabro/Don MacLean)
Radio: Arizona IMG Sports Network (Brian Jeffries/Jeff Dean)

Overall: Arizona
In Los Angeles: Arizona leads 63-41
Current Streak: Arizona won 2
Sean Miller vs. UCLA: 8-3
Last Meeting: Arizona won 87-57 in Tucson (2-19-15)

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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Previous result:

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Two straight games happened only once before in Sean Miller’s first season (2009-10) at Arizona.

Rank: Overall school ranking.
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Present RPI ranking of non-conference opponents Aizona has played according to The Wildcats’ rating is No. 17.
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Present RPI ranking of Pac-12 teams according to

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*-John Wooden Legacy in Fullerton/Anaheim (Calif.)
[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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