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Arizona Wildcats Preview and Game Thread

The Huskies go up against possibly the best team in the conference in Arizona

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Sunday 1/29/17

Tip-Off Time: 12:30 PST

TV: Fox

Radio: Komo 1000

Arizona Statistics:

Record: 19-2 (8-0)

Points For per Game: 76.2 ppg (93rd)

Points Against per Game: 63.0 ppg (20th)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 116.7 (24th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 92.3 (16th)

Arizona Key Players:

C- Dusan Ristic, Jr. 7-0, 245: 11.9ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.0apg, 56.4% FG, 75% FT

Ristic is the muscle for the Arizona twin towers and loves to get dirty in the paint. If he played as many minutes as the rest of the starters he would definitely average a double double as his rebounding rate stats are fantastic.

F- Lauri Markannen, Fr. 7-0, 230: 17.0ppg, 7.7rpg, 1.0apg, 52.7% FG, 83.9% FT, 50.5% 3pt

The 7-footer from Finland is a likely one and done candidate and is expected to be a top-10 pick in this year's NBA draft. He'll be a poor man's Kristaps Porzingis at the next level but in college is 5th nationally in offensive efficiency. He's taking 5 three-point attempts per game and making half of them while also posting a lower turnover rate than anyone on the Huskies and rebounding better than Sam Timmins. There is simply no one on the UW roster who is capable of matching up with him.

G- Rawle Alkins, Fr. 6-5, 220: 11.9ppg, 5.4rpg, 2.1apg, 42.5% FG, 74.7% FT, 36% 3pt

Alkins is the 2nd of Arizona's trio of 5-star freshmen, finishing 21st in ESPN's recruiting rankings last year. He's been solid but not spectacular across the board without being asked to do much on this roster. When the opponent's 4th option is this good you know they're fantastic.

G- Kobi Simmons, Fr. 6-5, 175: 11.8ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.5apg, 42.3% FG, 79.5% FT, 34.8% 3pt

Kobi is the last of the stud newbees. He and Alkins' raw and advanced statistics are almost identical except for Alkins is a much better rebounder. It still hurts that Simmons ended up at Arizona at the last second without even taking an official visit as the 20th ranked player in the class. The difference between Arizona and UW is if he played at UW he'd be forced to play big minutes and would bolt after a year but it's likely he has to stay in Tucson another year to put up enough stats to make the leap.

G- Kadeem Allen, Sr. 6-3, 205: 9.9ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.0apg, 44.1% FG, 75.8% FT, 44.4% 3pt

Allen is the lone senior on this Arizona squad and mostly serves the role of distributor and sharp shooter. He doesn't shoot often but hits at a high percentage. He also has a very high turnover percentage for a point guard so if UW has any chance it will need to force him into mistakes.

The Outlook

It's very tempting to just leave this section blank because realistically, UW has a 0% chance in this game. However, gives us a 4% chance so I guess I'll go ahead and write something. In addition to all of the talent outlined above, Arizona also just got back Allonzo Trier two games ago who is returning from a banned substance suspension. Last season Trier was possibly the Wildcats best player and he almost jumped to the NBA so his return gives Arizona a disgusting amount of talent.

Arizona's rotation includes three of the top-25 recruits from this year, numbers 18 and 91 from 2015, and number 51 and an additional 4-star from 2014. Talent-wise, this is essentially what the Huskies would have looked like if both Dejounte Murray and Marquese Chriss had stayed for their sophomore seasons but better. But alas, they aren't here and David Crisp, Noah Dickerson, and Dominic Green haven't lived up to their recruiting rankings.

Normally I give detailed analysis to figure out the game will go but frankly, UW has virtually no advantages in the statistical breakdown. The only area where Arizona ranks in the bottom half of the country is in their inability to force turnovers on defense. Other than that, Arizona consistently ranks in the top-75 in every team statistic. On top of that, the dual 7-footers is a terrible match-up for a UW team with no big man depth right now and Timmins, Atawe, and Dickerson are all too slow to matchup with Markannen on the perimeter.

If UW wants to keep things close they need to change up their style, which they've shown no indication of doing so far. Arizona plays at a very slow tempo. UW has to slow things down on the offensive end and essentially try to milk the clock. The more possessions that occur, the more the talent mismatch will show itself. Arizona will take 20+ seconds to get the absolute best possible shot and it will usually go in the basket. If the fastbreak isn't there then Washington needs to do the same thing and pray they shoot above 45% from deep for the first time since the Oregon State game.


Washington Huskies- 65, Arizona Wildcats- 88