Breakdown: Arizona vs. Gonzaga

Arizona will host Gonzaga on Saturday afternoon in a battle of top ten teams. Read on to find out about the game, including stats, a position breakdown and a score prediction.


Gonzaga at Arizona
Dec. 6 at 3:15 pm
TV: Pac-12 Network
McKale Center

ARIZONA

GONZAGA
Overall Record
7-0 (1.000)
7-0 (1.000)
Location Record
4-0 (1.000) at home
0-0 (N/A) on the road
Scoring/G: PF&PA(Rank)
75.9 (62)
60.3 (74)
88 (6)
58.6 (41)
Rebound Margin/G: RM (Rank)
7 (57)
12.3 (8)
Steals/G:
S (Rank)
8.9 (34)
7.1 (112)
Assists/G: A(Rank)
14.9 (75)
19.9 (2)
Field-Goal Percentage: FG%(Rank)
49.2 (31)
54.5 (3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 3FG%(Rank)
38.4 (64)
39.1 (54)
Field-Goal Percentage Against: FG%(Rank)
40.1 (109)
36 (24)
Ranking:
Coaches' Poll
#3
#8
Ranking:
AP Poll
#3
#9
RPI
23 (.6457)
4 (.6847)
Point Guard

ADVANTAGE: Even
PG: PG: T.J. McConnell (6-1, 195, Sr.) vs. Kevin Pangos (6-2, 182, Sr.)

Pangos has some absurd assist to turnover numbers so far this season and is also shooting 58 percent from the field. The opponents have not been good, but he still deserves credit for the numbers he has put up. McConnell is looking for his shot, but he has impressive assist to turnover numbers as well. Although pangs may be playing better right now, we would be surprised if either player really has an advantage here.

Shooting Guard

ADVANTAGE: Gonzaga
SG: Gabe York (6-3, 185, Jr.) vs. Gary Bell Jr. (6-2, 214, Sr.)

In last year’s meeting, Bell did not score a point in 31 minutes and was a complete non-factor. It is easy to assume that he will have a bigger impact on Saturday. York is tough to predict because when he is not hitting shots, he doesn’t impact the game in other areas. When he does, however, he adds a solid element to Arizona and helps the Wildcats tremendously. Bell is the better overall player, so we’re going to give him a slight advantage.

Small Forward

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
SF: Stanley Johnson (6-7, 245, Fr.) vs. Byron Wesley (6-4, 206, Sr.)

Wesley may win more games at Gonzaga this season than he did his entire career at USC, or at least it feels like that. Johnson continues to get better every game and Wesley is not strong enough to guard him. If Johnson is able to be physical and aggressive, he is going to come out on top of this matchup and probably by a bigger margin than some would assume.

Power Forward

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
PF: Brandon Ashley (6-9, 230, Jr.) vs. Kyle Wiltjer (6-10, 240, Jr.)

Wiltjer has done well since arriving at Gonzaga, putting up 16 points per game on 53 percent shooting from the field. We may sound like we are hating a bit here, but we’re still not convinced. He took 26 shots against Georgia and there is no way that is happening on Saturday. Against a more athletic St. John’s team., he struggled on both sides of the floor. To put it bluntly, we think Wiltjer is a bit soft on defense and see no reason why Ashley can’t take advantage of that.

Center

ADVANTAGE: Gonzaga
C: Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0, 245, Jr.) vs. Przemek Karnowski (7-1, 288, Jr.)

Karnowski was pretty darn good in last year’s matchup and got the better of Tarczewski. Offensively, Tarczewski is off to a slow start and it is hard to believe much has changed since last season with these two. We don’t think it is a big advantage, but feel like Gonzaga should have it here based not only on what happened last year, but the first part of the season as well.

Bench

ADVANTAGE: Even
Bench: Arizona catches a bit of a break with the Zags not having Josh Perkins, who was playing 20 minutes per game. Domantas Sabonis is a stud and will be a major problem for Arizona no matter who is guarding him. He is averaging 12 points and 6 rebounds while shooting a ridiculous 80 percent from the field. Hollis-Jefferson was great against Gonzaga last season, but these benches are about equal.
Coaching

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
Coaching: Sean Miller vs. Mark Few

I really like Few, but I am one of the people that feel he underachieves a bit. His roster this season is loaded and this is one of my favorite teams in the country. Still, Miller’s Arizona squad blew out what was considered to be one of his best Gonzaga teams in years and if you compare each coach’s success, Miller is certainly right there. We don’t think that there is any type of big advantage here, but do feel Miller is the better coach.

Outcome

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
75
69
Prediction: This is a tough one for me. A closer look at Gonzaga’s schedule reveals that San Diego State and Kansas State would easily be better than anybody that it has faced all season. In addition, I tend to lean to teams that defend more than teams that rely on offense. This game is going to be close, but I think Arizona will defend well enough to win and I don’t think Gonzaga can keep up with the Wildcats defensively.

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