The Wildcats closed out the regular season in style, crushing the Stanford Cardinal 91-69. Here’s a look at the statistical storylines from Arizona’s last tuneup before post season play.
14,655 – Attendance for the Cats’ last home game. Arizona feasted on the energy of the home crowd in last week’s destruction of the Bay Area schools in Tucson. As has been the case all year, the Zona Zoo and McKale crowd were rowdy and the players fed off the intensity in an emotional senior night performance.
Big credit goes out to the students and passionate fans that have supported the team at McKale all year long. With the team finishing out the season strong they will look to carry that momentum into the Pac-12 Tournament, where they have also had a distinct crowd advantage.
25 – Arizona points off turnovers. The Wildcats’ defense frustrated Stanford all night, forcing them into 15 turnovers and countless bad shots. Arizona’s perimeter players swarmed the ball and the post players did a good job of limiting post shots despite a foul-ridden game.
What’s more interesting, though, is that Arizona had just 5 fast break points despite all those turnovers. What that means is the Wildcats made Stanford pay for their mistakes with solid execution in the half court, something that critics have pointed out about Arizona’s offense.
If the offense continues to execute, Arizona will be a tough out in elimination play.
19 – Seconds the Wildcats didn’t have the lead. To be clear, Arizona never trailed. The 19 seconds they didn’t hold the lead, the game was knotted at 0-0. Matt Korcheck opened the game with a dunk and the Wildcats never looked back, extending the lead to 25 at one point.
In their last two games, the Wildcats have blown out their opponents and appear to be rounding into form at the right time. Sean Miller is known for having his team play their best basketball in March, so the best could be yet to come.
10 – Arizona players that scored in the game. The Wildcats moved the ball well and capitalized on what the defense gave, which resulted in a balanced effort offensively. Ten of the eleven Arizona players who entered the game hit a basket, with seven players scoring 8 or more points.
When Arizona gets scoring from the reserves, the offense as a whole runs much more smoothly. The Wildcats have gotten into trouble at times when the offense stagnates because of one on one play, but when they move the ball they get easier looks.
5.5 – Assists per turnover for TJ McConnell. McConnell put together a typically brilliant game with 10 points, 11 assists, and 3 steals. All season the most impressive aspect of McConnell’s game has been his ability to facilitate the offense, and he was once again in top form against Stanford. He committed just 2 turnovers to 11 assists in 25 minutes of play.
The 11 assist performance was his second in a row, giving him 22 assists and an absurdly low 2 turnovers in that span. McConnell has proven again and again that his steady point guard play is the key to Arizona’s 28-3 record.
That’s the kind of stuff a player of the year is made of.