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Friday at 7:30 p.m.
McKale Center, Tucson, Arizona
Arizona: Def. No. 2 Maryland 71-67
Def. No. 5 Florida 75-71
Def. No. 22 Texas 88-74
Def. No. 5 Illinois 87-82.
Pepperdine: Def. No. 11 UCLA 85-78
Def. USC 78-77.
Arizona: at No. 19 Michigan State, 74-60
at Oregon, 105-75.
Pepperdine: at Santa Barbara, 68-51
at Oregon, 88-64
vs. Georgia, 91-74
PG-Jason Gardner, 5-10 Jr. (21.8ppg, 3.9rpg, 4.1apg, 1.7spg, 43%FGs, 39% 3's)
SG-Salim Stoudamire, 6-1 Fr. (8.9p, 1.3r, 31%FGs, 33% 3's)
F-Luke Walton, 6-8 Jr. (12.8p, 7.7r, 5.4a, 1.7s, 42%FGs)
F-Rick Anderson, 6-9 Jr. (13.9p, 6.6r, 1.1bpg, 49%FGs, 40% 3's)
C-Channing Frye, 6-10 Fr. (7.8p, 5.9r, 1.8b, 54%FGs)
PG-Micah McKinney, 6-3 Soph. (3.8p, 3.5a, 35%FGs, 38% 3's)
SG-Craig Lewis, 6-3 Sr. (13.1p, 2.2r, 1.4s, 47%FGs, 43% 3's)
G-Terrance Johnson, 6-5 Soph. (14.5p, 3.3r, 47%FGs, 35% 3's)
F-Jimmy Miggins, 6-6 Jr. (15.9p, 6.8r, 2.4a, 1.9s, 48%FGs)
C-Cedric Suitt, 6-11 Sr. (3.2p, 3.7r, 2.0b, 50%FGs)
Arizona (three deep):
SG Will Bynum, 5-10 Fr. (6.4p, 2.2r, 1.8a, 28%FGs, 26% 3's)
F/C Isaiah Fox, 6-9 Fr. (5.8p, 5.0r, 43%FGs)
PF Dennis Latimore, 6-8 Fr. (2.0p, 3.0r, 30%FGs)
Pepperdine (five deep):
PF Boomer Brazzle, 6-6 Jr. (8.0p, 3.8r, 41%FGs)
PG Devin Montgomery, 6-0 Jr. (7.6p, 3.0a, 35%FGs, 33% 3's)
C Will Kimble, 6-10 Soph. (6.3p, 4.1r, 55%FGs)
SG Gary Colbert, 6-3 Jr. (4.8p, 2.1a, 46%FGs, 33% 3's)
Michael Westphal, 6-3 Jr. (4.5p, 41%FGs, 30% 3's)
Based on sheer numbers and depth. The Waves have six players classified as guards while Arizona has only three. Wildcat point guard Jason Gardner is the best of all the guards on the floor but Pepperdine is very quick and can cause havoc on both sides of the ball with its perimeter play. Senior Craig Lewis is deadly shooting from outside and sophomore wingman Terrance Johnson is coming off a career-high 24 point game. McKinney is an excellent passer and has had games of ten and eight assists.Frontcourt Edge: Arizona.
Center Channing Frye has improved tremendously over the last two weeks and has now become a force inside for the Wildcats. Teamed with versatile junior forwards Walton and Anderson, Frye makes Arizona's frontline daunting for most opponents even though none of the three starters are very bulky or strong. Fellow freshmen Fox and Latimore come off the bench to provide quality depth as well.
Pepperdine forward Jimmy Miggins is a junior college transfer from Los Angeles Community College and has made the transition to division one basketball appear seamless. He is a force down low and occasionally shoots three-pointers as well. Suitt is the primary shot blocker for the Waves, averaging two per game.Key Matchup: Rick Anderson vs. Jimmy Miggins
Anderson and Miggins are similar players, in that both are inside-outside threats. Anderson is the better pure shooter but Miggins is quicker and the better defender. Anderson will try to use his three-inch height advantage over Miggins when he posts up inside while Miggins will use his speed to keep up with the Wildcat junior.Keys to an Arizona victory:
*Play better perimeter defense
The Wildcats got destroyed at Oregon, primarily because they played poor defense on the perimeter. The Ducks made 13 or their 22 three-point tries and a majority of them came on wide open looks. While being young and inexperienced is a decent excuse, the Wildcat perimeter trio of Gardner, Stoudamire and Bynum know that in order to be in contention for the Pac-10 title they have to do a much better job defensively.
*Use the homecourt to its advantage
This will only be the second game Arizona has played in McKale Center and first in nearly a month. Kansas beat Arizona 105-97 way back on December 1st and since then the Cats have played five games away from home, going 3-2 over that stretch. Now that the Cats are finally back home, they should be a little more comfortable from a shooting standpoint and breakout of their long shooting slump. Freshmen Wildcats Dennis Latimore and Will Bynum could emerge during the weekend tournament by settling into comfortable rhythms at home.
*Get Channing Frye more touches inside
The freshman phenom has played so well over the past few games that he has earned the right to have more opportunities to score down low. Gardner and Walton should be able to find Frye many times against the shorter Waves and Channing should continue his stellar play with jump-hooks, offensive rebounds for put-backs and face-up jumpers from 15-feet. The better he plays inside, the easier it will become for guys like Gardner, Stoudamire and Bynum outside.Prediction: 90-77 Arizona.