What they're saying: UA vs. WSU Part II

Arizona is facing Weber State on Friday and there is plenty of reaction. Read on to see what newspapers, websites, and more are saying about the game.

Arizona's opening game of the NCAA Tournament is only days away and here are what numerous analysts throughout the country are saying about the Wildcats.

"There are four double-figure scorers, indicative of a team not vulnerable to upset due to one cold shooting night, and four players with at least 20 blocks on the season as well.

"Opponents simply will not be accustomed to the way the Wildcats attack the ball in every sense, an adjustment few teams will be able to simulate on short notice. Indeed, Arizona has a top 10 rebounding margin nationally, averaging 8.5 more boards per game than opponents.

"Not only is there very little space to score, there are also very few opportunities with the Wildcats cleaning the glass that way. SI prediction: Beat Weber State in second round, beat Oklahoma State in third round, beat San Diego State in Sweet 16, beat Creighton in Elite 8, lose to Wichita State in Final Four."

- Brian Hamilton, SI.com

"They are so athletic," Rahe said. "Their guards are athletic and they are long inside. But even more than physical ability, they are so well-coached defensively. They just don't make mistakes. They are never out of position. Their one-on-one defense — guarding the ball — is terrific. You mix their athleticism with great coaching and you've got something special."

- Randy Rahe, Salt Lake Tribune

"The Ogden, Utah-based Wildcats won the Big Sky regular-season and tournament championships, but here's the bottom line: They haven't played top competition. Weber State played BYU and UCLA in the non-conference season but lost both. Overall, the Wildcats haven't beaten a top-150 RPI team. Then there's this: No No. 1 seed has lost to a 16 seed. UA's chance for advancement: 93 percent."

- Doug Haller, AZ Central Sports

"If they have one potential area of concern, it is the depth. After the injury to Brandon Ashley, Hollis-Jefferson stepped in, but the three front line guys are the only ones really in the rotation. When they need a break, Arizona goes a little (emphasis on "a little") smaller by moving Nick Johnson over while Gabe York is on at a guard position, or grabbing a few minutes with 6'5 Elliott Pitts at small forward.

"Arizona is basically a 6 man rotation with Pitts adding a handful of minutes. The television timeouts should keep them fresh, the concern will be Gordon or Tarczewski getting in early foul trouble."

- Jason Lisk, The Big Lead

"Doubts crept up again this season when sophomore forward Brandon Ashley went down with a season-ending foot injury on Feb. 1. No way could the Wildcats survive without one of their best players was what they heard.

"Again, they refused to listen, using the perceived slight as chip-on-their-shoulder motivation to win the Pac-12 regular-season title and reach the conference championship game.

"Now, the Wildcats are hearing it again.

"Not in the opening game. No one is really expecting Weber State to take down Arizona on Friday in San Diego; no No. 16 seed has ever beaten a 1 and the desert version of Wildcats appear to be too deep and athletic for the ones from Utah.

"The supposed problem for Arizona comes after that, possibly on Sunday by ninth-seeded Oklahoma State if the Cowboys get past Gonzaga in their opening game."

- John Marshall, AP

"Arizona spent much of the season ranked No. 1 in the country after winning its first 21 games of the season, so it's no surprise it settled into the West frontrunner.

"What could ruin the Wildcats' possible march to their first Final Four since 2001 is a region seemingly packed with sleeper cells. Teams such as No. 6 seed Baylor, No. 7 seed Oregon and No. 9 seed Oklahoma State started the season with promise, hit a rough patch, then ended the season strong. Each of those three teams spent time ranked in the top 20 and finished the season performing like teams capable of making a long tournament run."

- C.L. Brown, ESPN

"Arizona was clearly the committee's second-best team: Behind Florida, Arizona has the clearest path to the regional final. Its second round matchup is against either a dangerous Oklahoma State team or everyone's favorite underdog, Gonzaga. Still, the Wildcats have a very favorable draw, given they show up -- and there's no reason to think they won't."

- Evan Hilbert, CBSSports.com

"Weber State is highly rated in several offensive categories, but its deficiencies on the other end of the floor are impossible to ignore. The Wildcats force opponents to turn the ball over on just 13.6 percent of their possessions, which ranks 347th out of 351 Division I teams.

"And while they excel at defending the three-point arc – just 22.4 percent of opponents' shot attempts have come from three-point range, the lowest percentage in the country – they are vulnerable on the inside. Weber State has blocked only 5.8 percent of opponents' two-point field goal attempts, which also ranks 347th in the count."

- Chris Johnson, SI.com


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