Breakdown: Arizona vs. Arizona State

Arizona will travel north to face rival Arizona State on Saturday. Read on to find out more about the game, including statistics, a positional breakdown and a score prediction.


Arizona at Arizona State
Feb. 7 at 2 pm
TV: ESPN2
Maples Pavilion

ARIZONA

ARIZONA STATE
Overall Record
20-2 (.909)
11-11 (.500)
Location Record
4-2 (.666) on the road
10-2 (.833) at home
Scoring/G: PF&PA(Rank)
74.9 (34)
58.2 (18)
69.7 (122)
64.2 (123)
Rebound Margin/G: RM (Rank)
7.5 (17)
3 (98)
Steals/G:
S (Rank)
7.5 (56)
6 (203)
Assists/G: A(Rank)
13.8 (101)
13.9 (92)
Field-Goal Percentage: FG%(Rank)
49.4 (9)
45.3 (85)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 3FG%(Rank)
36.1 (95)
37.1 (65)
Field-Goal Percentage Against: FG%(Rank)
39.7 (55)
43.7 (223)
Ranking:
Coaches' Poll
#6
NR
Ranking:
AP Poll
#6
NR
Ranking: KenPom
3 (.9606)
53 (.7855)
RPI
4 (.6723)
114 (.5335)
Point Guard

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
PG: PG: T.J. McConnell (6-1, 195, Sr.) vs. Tra Holder (6-1, 180, Fr.)

Holder has gone from basically not playing at all to starting at the point. He’s probably the best point guard on the roster, but that is not saying much. Holder is shooting 31 percent from the field and can be forced into turning the ball over numerous times. This is not the best matchup for him and the guess is that McConnell and company attack him throughout the game.
Shooting Guard

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
SG: Stanley Johnson (6-7, 245, Fr.) vs. Gerry Blakes (6-4, 195, Jr.)

Blakes turned the ball over eight times in the previous matchup due in large part to Arizona’s size and pressure. The Wildcats are going to present the same challenges, but Blake won’t have the ball in his hands at much because he is now playing his more natural position. As long as Johnson keeps him off the three-point line, Arizona will be more than fine. Defensively, this is one reason why the Sun Devils will have to play zone.
Small Forward

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
SF: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (6-7, 220, So.) vs. Shaquielle McKissic (6-5, 200, Sr.)

McKissic scored 24 points against Oregon and 17 against Oregon State in the previous game. Although he may not be that good of a scorer, it shows what happens when he is able to get into a flow. The issue here is that there aren’t many players that are able to get into a flow when guarded by Hollis-Jefferson. The goal here will be to make life difficult for McKissic, which thus makes life difficult for his teammates.
Power Forward

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
PF: Brandon Ashley (6-9, 230, Jr.) vs. Jonathan Gilling (6-8, 220, Sr.)

Gilling is a three-point shooter. If he is not hitting them, he probably is not doing much else. Ashley is going to have to guard beyond the arc, but the positive aspect of that is that Gilling is not aggressive off the dribble and he is not stronger than Ashley. On the flip side, we don’t see any way Gilling is able to guard Ashley if he establishes aggressive basketball early in the game.
Center

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
C: Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0, 245, Jr.) vs. Eric Jacobsen (6-10, 255, Jr.)

This is a pretty good matchup for Tarczewski because Jacobsen is not a player that is going to stretch the court or overpower him. Arizona will likely try to get its big man going early, but it is more important that he attacks the glass and defends well. Frankly, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t.
Bench

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
Bench: Since the last meeting, Savin Goodman’s minutes have decreased and he is coming off the bench. Bo Barnes is probably the biggest bench threat the Sun Devils have because he is a shooter and all bets are off when players like him get going. Still, Dusan Ristic would start on ASU and you might be able to make a case for Elliott Pitts and Gabe York also.
Coaching

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
Coaching: Sean Miller vs. Herb Sendek

This might be one of the few times since arriving at ASU that Sendek has not coached up to his team’s true talents. The Sun Devils have guys that can make an impact, but they have yet to reach their potential and struggle because of it. You can’t say the same thing for Arizona and Miller.

Outcome

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
71
59
Prediction: Often times, the better team loses on the road. It’s the nature of the Pac-12 and every road game is a dangerous one. However, Arizona is clearly the better team here and there are enough guys on this year’s team to remember what happened last season. This game is likely close early, but won’t end up that way.

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