Arizona faces Boise State at home in the first game of the DirecTV Wooden Legacy tournament. The Wildcats are going up against a Boise State team that is 1-1 having bounced back from its season opening loss with a win on Monday night over NAU. Much like Arizona, Boise State hasn’t settled on a starting point guard yet and is playing seniors Montigo Alford and Mikey Thompson. The Broncos are coming off a school best 25 wins last year and a First Four appearance in the NCAA tournament.
Mikey Thompson vs Kadeem Allen – Thompson played well the first two games averaging 16 points and 3 assists on an extremely high 73% from the field and 60% from three. Allen followed up his stellar debut for Arizona with a foul plagued game against Bradley on Monday. Allen was never able to establish a rhythm with three first half fouls. Look for him to come back with a solid game and disrupt Thompson’s hot start thus far.
Anthony Drmic vs Mark Tollefsen – Drmic has been the Broncos’ leading scorer through their first two games averaging 22.5 points and shooting 50% from three-point range on nine attempts a game. Tollefsen will try to play tight defense on Drmic and run him off the line and funnel him into Kaleb Tarczewski and Ryan Anderson in the paint.
Arizona’s bench was extremely effective against Bradley and should continue against Boise State. The bench will be one of their strengths this season.
Allonzo Trier rebounded from a bad shooting game in the opener with a very efficient effort against Bradley. Trier was aggressive from the moment he got in the game, did not settle for outside jumpers and attacked the Bradley zone in transition, which resulted in hitting 14-14 from the foul line.
Elliott Pitts made his season debut against Bradley and had a career high seven assists. Pitts will play a key role in the success of the team this year. Having played two years already, he knows the system and is a good defender with quick feet. Pitts also runs very hard in transition and knows where to spot up on offense, finding the gaps while being available to catch and shoot.
What to look out for
Fouls. With the new rules and emphasis on freedom of movement, whistles were a familiar sound throughout the first two games. The Arizona players who benefitted most from the calls were Ryan Anderson and Allonzo Trier. Boise State is smaller and not as deep, getting the Broncos in foul trouble will be a big advantage for Arizona.
Defensive improvement. Only two games into the season, Arizona is not where Miller wants it to be on that end but the effort is there. Look for Arizona to continue improving on defense without fouling.
Three-point shooting. Shooting is contagious and Arizona has missed several open threes so far this season. Gabe York got it going in the second half against Bradley with back to back threes and a breakout game from long distance is on the horizon for the team.
Boise State is a good veteran team that won’t be intimidated by Arizona or McKale Center. Look for the Wildcats to find their rhythm on offense and improve on defense against stiffer competition.
For those keeping track, Allonzo Trier wore the LeBron XIII Horror Flick against Pacific and the Kobe 2 Prelude against Bradley.