Going for its 44th consecutive home victory Sunday evening, the Wildcats will face the 5-3 Missouri Tigers. Coming off the victory over Fresno St, the Wildcats are still riding momentum gained from the huge away win at Gonzaga last Saturday.
Arizona will have to go with some new lineups with the absence of Kadeem Allen, who will most likely miss a few games with a sprained right ankle. While PJC will get another shot at running the offense, it will be interesting to who backs him up. Pitts, York, and Trier can all run the point in a pinch, or perhaps Miller will give Justin Simon a chance to earn some more playing time.
Averaging 18 points per game over the last three outings, the most impressive stat Allonzo Trier has produced in this stretch is that he has reached that average while only taking 26 shots. Trier is probably the most talented offensive player on the Cats, and his inane ability to draw fouls and get to the line is already paying dividends for him. Arizona will continue to lean on him to be a go to scorer and someone who is always willing to push the ball up the court.
With huge seconds halves in the past two games, Gabe York is taking on a leadership role in his senior year. York, more than any other Wildcat player, truly has the ability to get hot from three-point range. Going into the conference schedule, Arizona will surely come upon games where they rely on these runs from York.
Missouri is led by freshman forward Kevin Puryear, who is averaging 14 points and 5 rebounds per game. While Puryear is a willing shooter from deep (2-11 from three-point range), he does most of his work in and around the paint. At 6’7, Puryear will face tough matchups against Arizona’s big men.
Guards Wes Clark and Terrence Phillips will try to open up the Arizona defense with their three point shooting. Missouri, like in years past, still runs a guard dominated offensive rotation. Long since removed from their days of emulating Nolan Richardson’s “40 minutes of Hell” style of play, the Tigers still like to push the ball with their guards and as such, are turnover prone (13 per game).
Another matchup against a physically overmatched but aggressive underdog, the Cats will rely on their ability to defend the three point line, control the boards, and drive to the hoop with ease. Continued consistent performances from Ryan Anderson are what the Cats will expect from this point on, as he has been their most reliable player thus far. Good team defense, strong performances from what will likely be the Cats big three for next few weeks (Trier, York, and Anderson), and overcoming yet another blending of the lineup should lead to number 44 in a row at McKale.