McConnell ready for challenge

T.J. McConnell will likely guard Xavier Thames on Thursday. read on for his thoughts on that matchup, outside pressure, and more.

Arizona's first matchup with San Diego State was in November, but T.J. McConnell feels the Wildcats can still draw on some things they saw in that meeting.

"It was so long ago, but I remember we executed," McConnell said. "They had a great press obviously and we have to be ready for that. We made some big free-throws down the stretch and I kind of feel like it will be the same type of game."

McConnell says that the strategy has not changed much from that game, as Arizona simply needs to do what it does well.

"Just trying to do the same thing we did last time," he said. "We have to be ready for their press and defense and we have to execute on offense."

Xavier Thames is easily SDSU's best offensive player and McConnell will get the challenge of containing him on that side of the ball.

"Xavier Thames is in the top two of the NCAA Tournament in scoring, so we have to be ready for him," McConnell said.

"He is a knock down shooter and when he is hot from the three point line it feels like their whole team is rolling, so we have to contain him on the offensive end."

In addition, it would not be a surprise to see McConnell be a little more aggressive on the glass due to the fact that is where the Aztecs' strength is.

"When San Diego State is offensive rebounding, they are pretty hard to beat," McConnell said. "We guards and the big men have to do a good job of boxing out and getting rebounds because that is a big part of their game."

The Wildcats will enter the game as favorites and there will be added pressure because of it. However, McConnell says that will not be an issue on Thursday.

"I think we will be fine," he said. "We are not too worried about the environment and the outside world; we are just ready to play. We have to be ready on both ends."


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