Coming off two impressive and much needed home victories, Arizona starts off the bay area road swing against Stanford on Thursday night (9:00 pm│P12N). Stanford is 10-6 on the season and 3-2 in Pac-12 play, having won their last game against rival California. Arizona has beaten Stanford eleven straight times, with its last lost coming in the 2008-2009 season.
Rosco Allen vs Ryan Anderson – Allen is Stanford’s best player and leads them in scoring and minutes at 14.6 points and 32.2 minutes. A skilled 6’9” player, he can stretch the floor with his outside shooting and has made 7 out of his last 15 three pointers. Anderson regained his form and confidence, with a solid weekend against Washington and Washington State, where he averaged 18 points and 8.5 rebounds. It will be a fascinating matchup, as Anderson will need to be able to defend Allen on the perimeter and move his feet well without fouling. On the other end, it will be important for Anderson to get Allen into foul trouble down low.
Marcus Allen vs Kadeem Allen – Marcus averages 12.9 points and 1.8 steals a game, runs the Cardinal offense well and is very active defensively. Kadeem is coming off a steady weekend where he was focused and avoided lapses. He was able to knock down 3 out of 5 three pointers which is huge as opposing defenses have been sagging off and daring him to shoot from the perimeter. With Allonzo Trier out a couple more weeks, it will be important for Kadeem to continue to look for his shot and shoot the ball confidently.
Parker Jackson-Cartwright really elevated his play the last two games. He was able to set up his teammates with precise passes all weekend and had 18 assists to only 3 turnovers, good for a phenomenal 6:1 assist to turnover ratio. PJC also knocked down 3 big three pointers in the first half against Washington State. Coach Miller has remained steadfast in his belief in PJC’s shooting ability, as he struggled with his confidence and outside shot earlier this season. PJC provides a great change of pace, and was able to manage the game and balance when to set up his teammates and when to shoot.
Justin Simon averaged 16 minutes, 7.5 points, 3 rebounds and a steal against the Washington schools. More importantly, Simon was productive with more playing time and was 7-9 from the field, which shows he is taking and making good looks and isn’t forcing the issue. Much like PJC, Simon brings a different dynamic when he enters the game. The next step for Simon will be avoiding turnovers and knocking down free throws.
What To Look For
Defense. Arizona’s defense was better against Washington and Washington State, but still needs improvement. Arizona will need to be locked in from the opening tip against Stanford, avoid being down and having to claw back into the games like their previous road trip against UCLA and USC. Being able to contain the Cardinal dribble penetration and kick game will be key.
Turnovers. Arizona had 14 turnovers against Washington and 12 against Washington State which is a decent number for playing at home. However, to win on the road the number will need be 12 or less.
Offensive Efficiency / Scoring. Arizona averaged 94.5 points this past weekend, which is a remarkable number with Trier out of the lineup. The three point shooting of Kadeem Allen, Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Mark Tollefsen really opened up the offense. Arizona was much more efficient and played smart offensive basketball. ex) going inside and out two times on one possession against Washington State which resulted in a PJC three pointer.
Stanford is a smart, balanced team that plays a more methodical pace than the Washington schools Arizona just beat. All five Stanford starters score in double figures and the Cardinal are ranked 5th in RPI and have played the 5th toughest strength of schedule. Arizona will need to be patient, focused, and locked in defensively for the whole game. Winning on the road this Pac-12 season is a tough task, but Arizona is playing some of its best basketball and ready to get a solid road victory at Maples Pavilion.