Arizona will again look to follow Ryan Anderson’s lead when it faces a seemingly overmatched Bradley Braves team on Monday night in Tucson. After pacing the Cats with 18 points and 12 rebounds Friday night, Anderson will now face a defense with less experience, less athleticism, and as much of a height disadvantage as the Pacific Tigers team he was able to dominate.
The Braves have a freshmen laden team, starting four along with one sophomore. The focal point of their offense is freshman guard Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye. Much in the mold of Pacific guard TJ Wallace, Lautier-Ogunleye’s ability to drive to the hoop and draw fouls is his greatest strength. Kadeem Allen will likely get the first shot at matching up with him, as he did with Wallace.
The Wildcats will continue to pound the offensive boards, especially against a team that isn’t looking to get out in transition for quick baskets.
Tollefsen, Anderson, and Tarczewski will all have favorable matchups on both sides of the ball versus the Braves frontcourt of Callum Barker (6’9), Donte Thomas (6’7), and Luuk van Bree (6’8). Van Bree is a big wing that predominantly shoots threes, and as such will be a good test for Tollefsen in the half court set. Overall, Arizona should be able to control the boards against this front line.
Like Arizona, Bradley rotates in a large stable of guards. Arizona’s aforementioned superior athleticism should allow it to stifle most drives from the Bradley guards while contesting their three point attempts. As long as Arizona can force Bradley to shoot a low percentage on three point attempts, Arizona should be able to move its record to 2-0 with relative ease.
Offensively, the Wildcats will likely again look to get Tarczewski and Anderson involved early. Following a rough shooting night, freshman Allonzo Trier will try to be more efficient in his second game for the Cats. If Kadeem Allen and Gabe York can be consistent 2nd and 3rd options on offense, the Wildcats offense will really be able to take off and find a good rhythm.
Arizona can and should use this game to test how well they can shut down a team defensively, while also focusing on limiting second chance points.
This is a game that a good team should win handily. Arizona should go up big early and be able to maintain their advantage. While even a subpar performance from the Cats likely brings a win, anything less than a dominating defensive and rebounding performance would be a disappointment as they move closer towards tough non-conference games.