Breakdown: Arizona vs. Washington State

Arizona will open Pac-12 play on Thursday night against Washington State. Read on for a complete positional breakdown, statistics between the two teams, and more.

Washington State at Arizona
Jan. 2 at 8 pm
TV: Pac-12 Network
McKale Center


Overall Record 13-0 (1.000) 7-5 (.583)
Location Record 9-0 (1.000) at home 1-1 (.500) on the road
Scoring/G: PF&PA(Rank) 76.3 (102) 56.7 (6) 70.7 (226) 63.8 (40)
Rebound Margin/G: RM(Rank) 12.5 (4) 4.0 (86)
5.4 (257) 5.9 (213)
Assists/G: A(Rank)
15.5 (44) 11.9 (247)
Field-Goal Percentage: FG%(Rank) 49.2 (23) 44.3 (189)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 3FG%(Rank) 38.4 (54) 31.6 (237)
Field-Goal Percentage Against: FG%(Rank) 37.2 (12) 43.1 (165)
Ranking: Coaches' Poll #1 N/A
AP Poll
#1 N/A


10 (.6496) 150 (.5103)
Point Guard

PG: T.J. McConnell (6-1, 195, Jr.) vs. Royce Woolridge (6-3, 180, Jr.)

Woolridge is absolutely not a point guard, but he has to play one for the Cougars. He averages as many turnovers as assists and will basically look to score first every time. He does have some scoring ability and is aggressive, but that is not always a good thing. McConnell should be able to have his normal game offensively and succeed on defense, which is why he has the advantage.

Shooting Guard

SG: Nick Johnson (6-3, 200, Jr.) vs. Que Johnson (6-5, 205, Fr.)

In terms of potential, Que might be in the best shape on his team. He is not there yet, but you will see glimpses throughout a game. He shoots pretty well from behind the arc and although he does not do much else, he also won't turn the ball over. Nick should be able to do just fine on defense and offensively hit his mark. As long as Que does not get hot from three, Arizona will be just fine here.

Small Forward

SF: Aaron Gordon (6-9, 225, Fr.) vs. Dexter Kernich-Drew (6-7, 190, Jr.)

This is a really bad matchup for the Cougars. Gordon is bigger, stronger, and more athletic. Our guess is that Kernich-Drew is going to need some help on this one or it is going to be a long night for him. We would like to see Gordon aggressive on the glass, especially with the size difference and overall ability to do so. This is a good opportunity for him to start his Pac-12 career on a high note.

Power Forward

PF: Brandon Ashley (6-8, 230, So.) vs. D.J. Shelton (6-10, 250, Sr.)

Shelton is the perfect example of a player that thinks his skill set is something that it really is not. He's obviously got the size, but he is shooting 41 percent from the field a season after he shot 37 percent. A big reason for that is because he doesn't go inside and instead has a tendency to drift out to the perimeter. For instance, he takes three shots from behind the arc each game and is hitting at a 17 percent rate. That's awful and there's no reason to shoot them, but he is doing it more than last season. We suppose he could get hot, but Ashley is easily the better player.


C: Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0, 235, So.) vs. Jordan Railey (7-0, 245, Jr.)

We're going to figure Tarczewski is healthy and ready to play, so he has the advantage here. Railey is basically the type of big man you would want to bring off the bench for 10 minutes or so a game, but he plays close to 20 for the Cougars. He is averaging four points and three rebounds per game and there is not much reason to think Tarczewski will let him be a factor on Thursday.


Bench: The Cougars will likely stick with a seven-man rotation that includes forward Junior Longrus and guard Ike Iroegbu. Longrus is good for a few points and rebounds per game and will probably play close to 20 minutes. Iroegbu is a scorer in that he is going to come in and get his shots up in a hurry. He may not hit them, but he is asked to try to add instant offense, though he can be wild at times. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Gabe York are better than both, so Arizona gets the advantage here.


Coaching: Sean Miller vs. Ken Bone

Ken Bone may lose his job at the end of the season. Sean Miller will not lose his job at the end of the season. Ken Bone may finish last in the conference. Sean Miller will not finish last in the conference. We could probably keep going, but you get the point.


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Prediction: Washington State wasn't going to win this game with DaVonte Lacy, but him being out takes away any possible intrigue. This is a team that recently lost to UTEP by 13 points and that was with Lacy. The Cougars don't score, rebound, or shoot the ball well and that isn't a recipe for winning against anybody on the road.

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