Breakdown: Arizona vs. California

Arizona will look to lock up the Pac-12 regular season Championship on Thursday night against the Cal Golden Bears. Read on to find out more about the game including stats, a positional breakdown, and a score prediction.


California at Arizona
Mar. 5 at 7 pm
TV: ESPN
McKale Center

ARIZONA

CALIFORNIA
Overall Record
26-3 (.897)
17-12 (.586)
Location Record
15-0 (1.000) at home
5-4 (.556) on the road
Scoring/G: PF&PA(Rank)
75.4 (26)
58.5 (17)
66.6 (190)
66.1 (157)
Rebound Margin/G: RM (Rank)
8.7 (5)
0.9 (162)
Steals/G:
S (Rank)
7.1 (72)
4.2 (335)
Assists/G: A(Rank)
13.6 (102)
12.7 (169)
Field-Goal Percentage: FG%(Rank)
48.6 (10)
44.1 (135)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 3FG%(Rank)
35.1 (135)
35.3 (124)
Field-Goal Percentage Against: FG%(Rank)
39.3 (31)
41.7 (113)
Ranking:
Coaches' Poll
#6
N/A
Ranking:
AP Poll
#5
N/A
Ranking: KenPom
3 (.9650)
124 (.5844)
RPI
7 (.6545)
95 (.5361)
Point Guard

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
PG: PG: T.J. McConnell (6-1, 195, Sr.) vs. Jordan Matthews (6-3, 205, So.)

Matthews is a pretty straight forward evaluation. If his three ball is falling, the rest of his game picks up and he becomes one of the most dangerous scorers in the game. If not, he is an average player. McConnell has to make sure to keep him off the three-point line. Matthews finished with 16 points in the first meeting, but also took 16 attempts. If he puts together that type of game, Arizona can live with it.
Shooting Guard

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
SG: Stanley Johnson (6-7, 245, Fr.) vs. Jabari Bird (6-6, 198, So.)

Bird was just coming back from injury in the first meeting and basically did nothing. Fast forward to this game, and Johnson is the one struggling offensively. Bird has been extremely aggressive the past four games and has scored at least 14 points in three of them. He can’t guard Johnson and there really isn’t anybody on Cal that can, which is why Arizona got 18 and 9 from him in the first meeting. Bird is a dangerous player, but that does not make him better.
Small Forward

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
SF: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (6-7, 220, So.) vs. Tyrone Wallace (6-5, 200, Jr.)

Cal has absolutely no chance of winning this game if Wallace does not play well. In the first meeting, Arizona put Rondae on him for the majority of the game and he finished with six turnovers. You’ll likely see much of the same on Thursday. Wallace is going to have the ball in his hands quite a bit, but Hollis-Jefferson is about as good as it gets defensively. Offensively, Rondae is stronger and it would be nice to see him aggressive early.
Power Forward

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
PF: Brandon Ashley (6-9, 230, Jr.) vs. Dwight Tarwater (6-6, 230, Sr.)

This was a weird matchup in the first meeting because both players fouled out. In reality, Ashley is a much better player than that first meeting and this game probably is not for Tarwater. He’s not going to be able to guard Ashley and we can’t see how he is going to score either. This is a nice opportunity for Ashley to put together one of his better games in weeks.
Center

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
C: Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0, 245, Jr.) vs. David Kravish (6-10, 240, Sr.)

Kravish has given Arizona some fits in the past because he is able to stretch the court and that gives Tarczewski trouble at times. In the first meeting, Kravish went for 16 and 11 and Tarczewski 10 and 3. In fact, Tarczewski only played for 20 minutes in that game because Arizona chose to go a bit smaller and Dusan Ristic put together a nice game. With the way Tarczewski has been playing as of late, he is the better player. Still, this is the matchup to keep an eye on.
Bench

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
Bench: Gabe York is playing the best basketball of his life and it isn’t even close. He is more confident, getting the ball in the lane, and defending well. Mix that with some decent minutes from Elliott Pitts, Parker Jackson-Cartwright, and Dusan Ristic, and Arizona has the best bench in the conference. Sam Singer will come in as a three-point threat, but the reality is that he is only shooting 26 percent from behind the arc.
Coaching

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
Coaching: Sean Miller vs. Cuonzo Martin

It’s hard to judge Martin off this season because Cal isn’t very talented. The issue is that it isn’t getting any more talented and that falls on the head coach. Miller has been doing it longer and coaches the best team in the Pac-12.

Outcome

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
78
58
Prediction: There’s no reason California should be in this game, let alone win it. Arizona won by 23 at Cal earlier in the season and the Wildcats can get sole possession of the Pac-12 title with a win. With Hollis-Jefferson containing Wallace and Arizona having the advantage at every other position, we think the Wildcats start quick and never look back.

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