Arizona Basketball

Notes and Numbers: No. 11 Wichita State vs. No. 6 Arizona

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— A lot of emphasis will be placed on Wichita State’s senior guards Fred VanVleet, Ron Baker and Evan Wessel, rightfully so, but what do the Shockers have on the frontcourt to challenge Kaleb Tarczewski and Ryan Anderson? Gregg Marshall’s team will give up a lot of size to the Wildcats as Wichita State starts 6’8″ and 260-pound center Shaquille Morris and 6’6″ forward Zach Brown at the other forward spot on the front line. Morris and Brown combine for 13.6 points and 6.4 rebounds a game. Anderson tops those two by himself — 15.5 points and 10.1 rebounds a game. Tarczewski averages 9.4 and 9.3. Arizona’s reserve centers Chance Comanche and Dusan Ristic (combined 9.3 points and 5.4 rebounds a game) would be standouts on Wichita State’s roster. This will be a classic game of Wichita State trying to neutralize Arizona’s size advantage by penetrating off screens, drawing double teams and kicking off for open jumpers or layups by attracting double- and triple-teams on VanVleet especially. …

— Two of the nation’s two freshmen will be on display at the wing, off-guard positions with Arizona’s Allonzo Trier and Wichita State’s Markis McDuffie (the Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year). The 6’8″ McDuffie is his league’s youngest freshman just shy of 18 years, 6 months while Trier is already 20. Statistics guru Ken Pomeroy ranks McDuffie as the MVC’s fourth-most efficient offensive player at 106.5. Trier is ranked No. 21 in the Pac-12 in the same category but his rating is higher than McDuffie’s at 112.6. With VanVleet and Baker the primary offensive options — combining for 632 of the Shockers’ 1905 field goal attempts (about one-third) — it is difficult for McDuffie to post numbers like Trier. McDuffie shoots 42.8 percent from the field (80 of 187) and only 31.9 percent from beyond the arc (22 of 69). Despite missing seven games with a broken right hand, Trier, who plays in a more uptempo offense, has made 118 of 250 attempts (47.2 percent) and 38 of 104 (36.5 percent) from three-point range. …

Sean Miller is 7-1 in the NCAA tournament first round in his 12 years as head coach. He has won seven consecutive games since losing with Xavier as a No. 14 seed against Gonzaga 79-75 at Salt Lake City in 2006. He is 13-2 in the opening weekend (first and second rounds) of the NCAA tournament, including an 8-0 mark at Arizona. Dating back to his Xavier years, he has a 12-game winning streak in the opening two rounds. … Marshall is 4-7 in NCAA tournament first round games but he started 0-5 in that regard with Winthrop before coaching the Eagles to an upset as a No. 11 seed (sound familiar?) over Notre Dame in the 2007 tournament before losing to Oregon in the second round. Marshall has taken Wichita State to five consecutive NCAA tournaments. In the previous three he has survived past the first and second rounds including reaching the 2013 Final Four. …

— In Wednesday’s press conference, Miller compared the impact of VanVleet to Wichita State’s team with how T.J. McConnell captained the Wildcats last year. “He reminds me a lot of T.J. McConnell, and Fred should take that as the ultimate compliment,” Miller said. “In our program, he’s the standard when it comes to winning, playing the game, and helping his teammates. Fred, I think his poise, how under control he is on offense, how he makes the right play almost every time, and yet he’s over 40 percent as a three-point shooter. Watching him on defense, I love the way he defends, and I’ve already talked about him and Baker. When you have two senior guards who embody those types of qualities as defenders, it makes life tough for their opponent.” … As a senior last year, McConnell averaged 10.4 points, 6.3 assists and 2.2 steals per game. He had about a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio averaging only 2.1 turnovers a game. VanVleet this season is averaging 12.1 points, 5.7 assists and 1.6 steals per game. VanVleet is averaging only 1.7 turnovers a game, so his assist-to-turnover ratio is about 5-to-1. Incredible. …

— With VanVleet’s controlled style of play don’t count on Wichita State beating itself. Opponents have proven to be more blundered against Wichita State’s defense. Opponents have finished with as many or more turnovers than field goals 11 times since VanVleet returned from his hamstring injury on Dec. 5. Wichita State ranks No. 2 in the nation in turnover margin compared to opponents at plus-5.5 per game. Utah had 19 turnovers and only 14 field goals in its 67-50 loss at Wichita State on Dec. 12. Utah beat Duke a week later at Madison Square Garden. …

— The last time Arizona played Wichita State was 61 seasons ago, on Dec. 29, 1954, when Hadie Redd — the first African-American hoops player at Arizona — starred for the Wildcats. The Shockers were simply called “Wichita” back then. They beat Arizona and Redd 87-64 in Wichita on a Wednesday night in the first game of a holiday tournament there. Redd scored 16 points to lead the Wildcats, who were coached by Fred Enke Sr. Teams from the West have scheduled series with the Shockers since Marshall’s team has come on to the national scene. Sure Arizona fans wouldn’t mind a home-and-home with them as long as Marshall is there. …

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NO. 11 WICHITA STATE (25-8)
VS. NO. 6 ARIZONA (25-8)

Tip Time: 6:20 p.m. MST
TV: TNT (Ian Eagle/Chris Webber/Len Elmore)
Radio: Arizona IMG Sports Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)

THE SERIES
Overall: Series tied at 1
Neutral Court: First meeting
Current Streak: Wichita State won 1
Last Meeting: Wichita State won in Wichita, 87-64 (12-29-54)
Sean Miller vs. Wichita State: First meeting.

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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PRODUCTIVITY REPORT
ARIZONA PAC-10/12
PLAYERS OF THE YEAR:
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Previous game:
OREGON 95, ARIZONA 89 (OT)
PRODUCTIVITY RATING

* — STARTERS
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ARIZONA’S 1,000-POINT SCORERS
Overall
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Before Arizona
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1987-88 (by end of that season)
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Before Arizona
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THREE-POINT GOALS SEASON
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THREE-POINT FIELD GOALS CAREER
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MOST CAREER BLOCKED SHOTS
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MOST BLOCKED SHOTS TEAM
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ARIZONA’S TOP SCORING CENTERS
Rank: Overall school ranking.
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MOST CAREER REBOUNDS
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MOST SEASON REBOUNDS
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MOST CAREER VICTORIES IN GAMES PLAYED
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MOST CAREER STARTS
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ARIZONA SCHEDULE/PRODUCTIVITY RESULTS
*-John Wooden Legacy in Fullerton/Anaheim (Calif.)
**-Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas (Nev.)
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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