Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats Productivity Report: Road warriors head into Eugene for marquee game

Production away from the comfort of McKale Center indicates the kind of toughness Sean Miller has instilled in his team.

Arizona has yet to lose in a true road game through six of them so far this season, making the Wildcats one of only three programs in the nation with that feat. No. 1 Gonzaga (6-0) and No. 17 Maryland (6-0) are the other two schools with perfect away records.

The Wildcats will be put to a difficult test today in Eugene, Ore., against No. 13 Oregon.

Last year, Oregon went into McKale Center and ended the Wildcats’ 49-game home winning streak with an 83-75 win. The Wildcats are hoping to avenge that loss by snapping Oregon’s 39-game home-winning streak.

Since Miller’s first season at Arizona in 2009-10, he is 89-51 (.636) away from McKale Center. The Wildcats are 36-20 (.643) at neutral site locations.

Arizona’s record in the last three-plus seasons is 49-19 (.721) on the road, including 21-8 (.724) at neutral sites.

Lauri Markkanen has shown the most grit on the road averaging 14.5 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting an amazing 53.3 percent from 3-point range (24 of 45). He also has made 40 of 45 (88.9 percent) of his free throw attempts away from McKale Center.

The most unsettling stats on the road can be turnovers and allowing offensive rebounds. Those can be mentally taxing on a team trying to keep the opposing crowd out of the game.

Arizona’s perimeter players — Kadeem Allen, Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Rawle Alkins, Kobi Simmons and Allonzo Trier — combine for 110 assists with 79 turnovers away from McKale. Their numbers at home: 156 assists and 73 turnovers (better than 2:1 ratio).

The Wildcats average exactly 12 turnovers on the road — the number Miller has reiterated to be the ceiling in a game. That number can’t be exceeded today.

Much like he did at UCLA — one of the most impressive road wins in the program’s history — Jackson-Cartwright can be the calming influence as a lead ball-handler against the Ducks. He has 34 assists with 16 turnovers on the road compared to Allen’s 27 assists and 19 turnovers. Jackson-Cartwright had four assists and one turnover against UCLA, albeit against the Bruins’ suspect defense.

The Wildcats had 19 turnovers, yes 19, in the loss to Oregon last season.

Arizona’s defensive rebounding on the road has proven to be mostly effective.

The Wildcats have 289 defensive rebounds on the road compared to 111 offensive rebounds for opponents, a respectable 72.3 percentage of not allowing second chances. In McKale Center this season, Arizona’s defensive rebounding percentage is slightly better at 73.6, which means Arizona is generally just as assertive on the boards on the road.

Oregon will try to live off second chances following Dillon Brooks’ penetration and the attack of other perimeter players.

The Ducks defeated Arizona last year largely because of their offensive rebounding effort. Arizona had 24 defensive rebounds but allowed 13 offensive rebounds, which is a defensive rebounding percentage of only 64.9 percent.

Therefore, the most important numbers for Arizona today: 12 turnovers or less and a defensive rebounding percentage of at least 72 percent. If the Wildcats do that, they will once again feel at home on the road.

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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FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! 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, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, 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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