Through 10 games of conference play, Arizona sits tied atop the pack with Utah at 8-2. And aside from two rough road losses, the Wildcats have looked pretty good against Pac-12 opponents. Here’s a look at the stats and story lines through conference play so far.
55 – Field goals made by TJ McConnell, which leads the team. Every commentator seems to mention that McConnell is offensively limited, but so far in Pac-12 play he has made more baskets than any other Wildcat. He’s shooting a stellar 56.7% from the field per game, a stat made more impressive by the fact that no other starter averages over 50% on field goals.
McConnell’s increased offensive output has been critical as opponents have focused on stopping the Wildcats’ talented forwards.
31.4 – Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s minutes per game, which leads the team. That’s right, after beginning the season off the bench, Hollis-Jefferson is now playing more than anyone else during conference games. That’s a testament to the significance of Hollis-Jefferson’s defensive versatility. He has routinely guarded and shut down opposing teams’ stars, cementing him as one of the top defenders in the entire country.
McConnell is averaging 31.2 minutes per game in Pac-12 play, the only other player to be averaging more than 30 minutes per game. Freshman Stanley Johnson has played the third most minutes at 29.7 per game.
20 – Stanley Johnson’s assists. Johnson, lauded mostly for his scoring ability, has proven to be a capable passer who has a knack for finding players in scoring position. His 2.0 assists per game is second only to McConnell’s 5.0 per contest.
Johnson is also just one of three players on the team with a positive assist to turnover ratio, the other two being McConnell (50 to 19) and freshman Parker Jackson-Cartwright (10 to 7).
7 – The number of players that have played in all 10 conference games so far. Though Arizona has impressive depth only five players are averaging 24 or more minutes, a sign of a shortened rotation.
Beyond the starting five, Dusan Ristic and Elliott Pitts are the two other players that have competed in each Pac-12 game. Gabe York missed a game with an ankle injury, while Jackson-Cartwright has been sidelined the last two games with a concussion.
3.6 – Dusan Ristic’s points per game. While that may not seem like an impressive number, consider that Ristic is playing just 9.7 minutes per game. At that rate, he’s one of Arizona’s best offensive players, and he’s converted a team high 62.5% shooting (15 of 24).
By comparison, Pitts is contributing 3.5 ppg in 16.3 mpg. York is averaging 6.8 ppg in 20 mpg, and Kaleb Tarczewski is averaging 7.8 ppg in 24.9 mpg.