After sweeping UCLA and USC this weekend, Arizona plays its third home game in a row and faces rival ASU on Wednesday night (7:00 pm│ESPN2). ASU is 14-12 on the season and 4-9 in Pac-12 play which is next to last, only ahead of Washington State. The two teams played their Pac-12 openers against each other on January 3rd in Tempe and Arizona won 94-82.
Tra Holder vs Kadeem Allen – Holder is ASU’s best player and averages 15.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists a game. In the previous matchup Holder had 24 points and was 3-6 from three-point range and made all seven of his free throw attempts. Limiting Holder is the key to slowing down the Sun Devils. Allen is still dealing with a respiratory infection and hasn’t been himself. Hopefully he will be closer to one hundred percent when the teams face off as he has the size and athleticism to keep Holder in check.
Eric Jacobsen vs Kaleb Tarczewski – At 6’10” and 240 pounds Jacobsen is the only ASU player with the size to matchup against Tarczewski. He is averaging a modest 6.7 points and 4.9 rebounds a game. Getting Jacobsen in foul trouble will be a point of emphasis as Arizona has a decided advantage in size against ASU. Tarczewski did not play in the previous meeting due to an injured left foot and has been averaging 10 rebounds since the Oregon game and has been a defensive anchor down low. His size and physicality making it tough for opponents to score and get easy looks in the paint.
Parker Jackson-Cartwright has been playing some of his best basketball the last couple games. Filling in for Kadeem Allen, PJC has really been pushing the tempo and done a tremendous job running the team. PJC and Gabe York have great chemistry, with PJC often finding York for open three pointers on the wing by pushing the ball up court for early offensive opportunities. PJC also hit 7 out of his last 12 three pointers, taking open ones in the flow of the offense after feeding the post players first.
Arizona should be able to dominate the smaller ASU players down low with Tarczewski, Ristic and Anderson. ASU will try to counter the size disadvantage by spreading Arizona out on defense and isolating their smaller athletic players against our bigs. It will be an interesting matchup but Arizona has more options and can counter with Tollefsen and Trier.
What To Look For
Turnovers. Arizona did a great job taking care of the ball against UCLA and USC, committing 9 and 11 turnovers. They will aim to keep the turnovers at 10 or under against ASU, getting quality looks in the paint against the Sun Devils.
Defense. Arizona played a tremendous first half against USC limiting the Trojans to 30 points but let down in the second half. There were numerous defensive breakdowns that led to open Trojans knocking down three pointers and allowing them to get back into the game.
Intensity. Playing against ASU always brings about a different intensity. Arizona will try to jump on ASU early and take control of the game.
ASU is a struggling team under first year coach Bobby Hurley. They got a big win last week against USC and have been playing better as of late. The Sun Devils would love to get a win at McKale Center to salvage their season. Hurley tried to show he isn’t intimidated by Arizona by getting ejected in the waning moments of the first matchup in Tempe. Arizona will look to show they will always be the big brother school and how much ground Hurley has to cover to get in the same class.
Arizona has five consecutive wins and will continue to push for the regular season conference championship. With Oregon losing both games to Cal and Stanford this past weekend and USC losing to ASU and UA, Arizona is tied for first place with five games remaining, three of which are at home.
Allonzo Trier wore the Kobe XI BHM against UCLA and the KD8 BHM against USC.