Five questions going into scrimmage

The Red-Blue game brought many questions about Arizona's basketball team. Will they be answered against Seattle Pacific? What are the five biggest ones? Read on to find out.

It may be an exhibition game, but there are still plenty of questions that people will be curious about as Arizona takes on Seattle Pacific on Thursday night.

1. How will Arizona handle Andy Poling?: The Wildcats are going to see better big men than Poling this season, but he averaged 14 points and 7 rebounds last season and is close to seven feet tall as well. The Wildcats have enough inside depth to put plenty of bodies at Poling, but it will be good to see what Sidiki Johnson and Angelo Chol can do defensively, as we definitely did not see much of that during the Red-Blue game.

There is plenty of time and more meaningful games for Arizona to be effective in, but a good defensive performance in the interior from Arizona would definitely be a step in the right direction as it gets closer to starting the regular season.

2. The point guard battle: Josiah Turner played just fine in the Red-Blue game but, as Sean Miller said afterwards, is beginning to become a victim of hype. Turner is plenty capable of being successful, but people were actually disappointed in his performance because he did not dominate a scrimmage. There is absolutely talent there, but being able to be successful coming right out of high school takes more time than a 20-minte scrimmage.

However, Jordin Mayes is not going to let go of the point guard position so easily. He is going to get pushed by Turner but has plenty of talent himself and has that important experience as well. Playing in a scrimmage against your teammates is one thing, but a scrimmage against a team that dreams of beating you is completely another.

3. Is there a go-to scorer?: Again, this is something that we can't tell much of in a scrimmage, but Nick Johnson looked like he had absolutely no problem being the guy that can score in bunches in a hurry. It will be interesting to see if Johnson does that against actual competition or if a player like Kyle Fogg remains the player with the ball in his hands.

We have heard plenty about this Arizona team being one of balance, but would it really be a surprise to see a player emerge as a dominant scorer? Thursday could be the first step towards that happening.

4. The battle at center: Kyryl Natyazhko played well in the Red-Blue game, but the issue for him is that Johnson played better. Natyazhko has the experience, but that does not mean much when there is one player that is significantly better than the other.

We know Kyle Fogg and Solomon Hill are starting with Jesse Perry likely in there as well. The five spot, however, is more of a question mark. Natyazhko plays well enough to start because the coaching staff truly does not want him to do a ton. However, Johnson is more capable of contributing and probably has more overall talent.

The starter at center may not be something that is decided until the first game of the season, but a game like Thursday's can certainly help.

5. Does Arizona still defend the three well? Seattle Pacific will likely shoot plenty of three-pointers in order to keep up with Arizona. David Downs is the team's leading three-point shooter and has no hesitation shooting them. The Wildcats were great at defending the three last year, but Miller said after the Red-Blue game that there was plenty of defensive improvement to be had.

The team is likely going to improve with each game, but it will be intriguing to see where it is defensively against a team other than its own.


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