Johnson ready for familiar opponent

Nick Johnson believes that the familiarity with San Diego State is beneficial. Read on to see why, his thoughts on his defensive matchup, and more.

Some may downplay the fact that Arizona played San Diego State earlier in the season, but that's not the case for Nick Johnson.

"We know their personnel," Johnson said. "I think all of us pretty much know their team as a whole. We watched them throughout the year and when they were on ESPN, the Kansas game when they got that win at Phog Allen.

"Just being more familiar with them really makes a difference. We played Weber State and did not have a chance to watch them all year, Gonzaga a little bit, but not as much. Just knowing what their personnel consists of definitely makes it more comfortable."

There was plenty to be learned from that game and Johnson is hoping to apply it to Thursday's matchup.

"I mean, they're long and athletic just like us, so they like to press a little bit, create turnovers," Johnson said. "I think that's going to be the key to the game as far as us just doing what we do, be a defensive team like we have been all year.

"Take care of the ball when they try to pressure us and stuff like that and take good shots on offense. The way we've been playing on offense the last few weeks, I think that we can continue that and I think we can win the game."

Johnson will guard Xavier Thames at times, but will also have the challenge of guarding a bigger player as well.

"I've guarded a variety of players throughout my career," Johnson said. "If it wasn't a point guard, it was a shooting guard, if it wasn't that, you can look at last year in the Sweet 16 and I guarded Deshaun Thomas.

"Going back to those matchups and remembering what I did to not let them get the ball. I am a little smaller than them, but that means I am a little bit quicker. I can front when other bigs can't and I am trying to use my size to my advantage. I am not a shrimp, I have a little weight on me, and so I can bang back a little bit."


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