Coast 2 Coast Hoops
Saturday’s showdown between Arizona and Arizona St is a game with plenty to get excited about. Not only is it another installment in a heated in state rivalry, but both teams have their eyes on the Pac-12 title. Here are three things Wildcats fans should hope to see this weekend when Arizona travels to Tempe.
We want to see a classic Arizona run. Former UCLA Bruin Jason Kapono used the term “spurt of death” to characterize Arizona’s ability to break games open with big runs. This year’s Wildcats have actually rattled off some impressive runs of their own: 26-3 over 8:41 at Texas Tech, 27-8 over 6:53 vs Colorado, and runs of 21-4 and 23-6 against Long Beach St are a few of the best.
If the Wildcats can put together a big run and force an uptempo game, the Sun Devils may have trouble keeping pace. ASU ranks 10th in the Pac-12 in tempo according to kenpom.com and has put up games of 55, 65, 72, and 65 points during conference play.
We want to see the freshmen play well. It’s no secret that the three freshmen in Arizona’s rotation have all struggled mightily at points this season. Kaleb Tarczewski has had trouble finishing in the post, Brandon Ashley has been feast or famine, and Jerrett’s shooting has been inconsistent. But at the same time, all three have shown flashes of brilliance, whether it be a Tarczewski dunk, an Ashley and-1, or a timely Jerrett three pointer.
“They aren’t going to come in and be the 3rd pick in the NBA draft in 5 months,” Sean Miller said of the freshmen. “But it’s a process and it’s a process they are more than happy to go through. They work hard everyday. As you grade our freshmen and look at them, they are going to continue to develop and become really good. That’s one of the exciting things about our team, we have a number of first year players in key roles and hopefully they can continue to develop.”
Despite flashes of brilliance though, we haven’t seen all three play well at the same time. If Arizona gets a consistent and effective effort out their three young post players, Arizona St will have a tough time matching the talent and versatility of the Wildcats’ frontcourt.
We want to see Jahii Carson get shut down. Before I get your hopes up, it’ll be extremely difficult to shut down a player like Carson. An elusive and lightning quick point guard, Carson loves to get into the teeth of the defense and make plays. He’s averaging 17 points and 5 assists this season, and is by all means the engine that makes the Sun Devils’ offense go. And he’s coming in hot too, scoring 20 points in back to back games at the Oregon schools.
If Arizona’s guards can limit Carson’s penetration and force him into bad shots, ASU will have to go out of their comfort zone to put points on the board and Arizona should be in good position to score its 16th win of the season.
SPECIAL PointGuardU Private Forum Offer. Click the link below.