In a matter of about five hours today, the ranked Arizona women’s and men’s hoops teams will have completed their games in the state of Texas, and they will know if they can return home with unbeaten records.
The No. 20 Arizona women (8-0) will play at UTEP (7-1) at 1 p.m. Tucson time (ESPN+, KTUC 1400-AM), about an hour after the No. 12 Arizona men (9-0) finish their game against No. 18 Baylor (6-1) at Waco, Texas (ESPNU, KCUB 1290-AM).
Both teams will try to play through injuries and illnesses.
Starting power forward Dominique McBryde and backup freshman guard Mara Mote suffered ankle sprains Monday in the win over Monmouth. McBryde is doubtful to suit up because she was on crutches after Monday’s game. The senior is averaging 5.1 points and 3.4 rebounds and is one of Arizona’s best interior defenders..
The men’s team will have ailing freshmen Nico Mannion (back) and Josh Green (strep throat) who missed practices this week. Graduate transfer forward Stone Gettings is out indefinitely with a fractured cheekbone.
Some notes on the Arizona women’s games (information from the Arizona media relations department):
— Arizona has won its first eight games of the season for the first time since the 1999-00 season, when the Wildcats started 9-0.
— Dating back to last season, Arizona has won a school-record 14-consecutive games.
Some more national recognition for @AariMcdonald as she was named to the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award Watch List, which recognizes the top player in college basketball!#MadeForIt | #BearDown pic.twitter.com/XNTUyUnWf1
— Arizona Women's Basketball (@ArizonaWBB) December 5, 2019
— Arizona won seven games in the month of November for the first time in school history.
“This is by far the best Arizona team they’ve had in many, many years,” UTEP coach Kevin Baker said. “They were good last year but they added some more pieces to the puzzle. They could make a run in the NCAA Tournament. They could go pretty deep I think. They’ll be a frontrunner to win the Pac-12. I think that they are really going to be a dangerous team. As far as our team is concerned, we have nothing to lose in the game.”
— For the first time since December 2000, Arizona won three-straight games while scoring at least 80 points in each of those games.
82 – Chicago State (Nov. 12)
83 – Texas (Nov. 17)
83 – Prairie View A&M (Nov. 20)
— The Wildcats allowed just 27 points to UC Riverside on Nov. 29, the fewest since joining the Pac-10.
— Arizona’s scoring margin of 33.5 is the second-highest in the nation behind defending champion Baylor. The Wildcats have won their last four games by an average margin of 41.3 points. Arizona’s 52-point win over Monmouth is the largest margin of victory since Dec., 4, 2004.
— Arizona is second in the nation and leads the Pac-12 in scoring defense (44.1) and is the only team in the conference to allow fewer than 50 points per game.
BANG. THAT. DRUM. pic.twitter.com/IQhnaMxyTA
— Arizona Women's Basketball (@ArizonaWBB) December 5, 2019
— Junior guard Aari McDonald is 11th in the country and scoring and tops in the Pac-12 with 21.0 points a game.
— The Wildcats average more than eight made 3-pointers this season, and are getting good shooting from many different players. Five players shoot at least 47 percent from beyond the arc.
Helena Pueyo — 15-31 (48 percent)
Sam Thomas – 12-23 (52 percent)
Mara Mote – 7-13 (54 percent)
Tara Manumaleuga – 7-15 (47 percent)
Cate Reese – 3-5 (60 percent)
Some notes on the Arizona men’s game against Baylor (some information from the Arizona media relations department):
— Today’s game marks the first true road game for Arizona against an AP Top 25 team since Feb. 15, 2018, when the Wildcats defeated No. 25 Arizona State in Tempe, 77-70.
🚨GAME DAY INFO 🚨
— Arizona Basketball (@APlayersProgram) December 7, 2019
— Under Sean Miller, Arizona is 22-20 against ranked teams and are 17-11 since the start of the 2013-14 season.
— Miller is also 4-4 in true road games vs. Top 25 teams in his tenure at Arizona.
— Arizona’s 52.8 field goal percentage is second-best in the country and the 42.9 3-point field goal percentage is sixth-best in the country.
— The Wildcats are scoring 87.1 points per game this season, the fourth-most in the country this season.
— With 22 assists against Pepperdine last week, it marked the fourth time this season with 20-plus assists. The last time Arizona had four or more games with 20-plus assists in a season was 2016-17 (four times).
— Arizona Basketball (@APlayersProgram) December 6, 2019
— The Wildcats’ 162 assists through nine games ranks eighth in the country.
— Arizona has forced opponents into 146 turnovers this season, the most ever by a Miller-coached team through the first nine games of a season.
— Mannion, the reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Week, was named MVP of the Wooden Legacy Tournament last week. He averaged 16.3 points per game and 7.3 assists per contest. He opened the tournament with a game-winning running bank shot with 2.1 seconds left against Pepperdine to cap off a 16-point, 1- assist effort. He followed that up with an 11-of-14 shooting night against Penn on his way to 24 points — his third 20-point game of the season. He leads all freshmen in the country with 52 assists.
— A two-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week, Zeke Nnaji is shooting 73.4 percent from the floor this year (second nationally). He posted his second double-double of the year with 16 points, 11 rebounds vs. Pepperdine.
Zeke is listed among the top players in the country on the watch list for the @USBWA Oscar Robertson Trophy!
— Arizona Basketball (@APlayersProgram) December 5, 2019
— Redshirt sophomore guard Jemarl Baker Jr. leads the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (8.67:1).
— Green scored a career-high 24 points against Pepperdine, matching a season-best with four made 3-point field goals. He grabbed a season-high 12 rebounds vs. Wake Forest. His 15 steals are a team-high this season.
— Senior guard Dylan Smith was named to the Wooden Legacy All-Tournament team. He averaged 15.3 points and shot 6-of-9 from 3-point range over the three games, highlighted by a 20-point performance against Wake Forest in the title game.
— Senior post player Chase Jeter had his best game of the year with 19 points (8 of 9 field goals), six rebounds and two assists against Penn last week. After a 17 point, nine-rebound effort against Wake Forest, he was named to the all-tournament team.
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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.