Cats fix a few problems against the Demon Deacons

The Wildcats turned in their best all around performance against Wake Forest, the top ranked team in the nation. Unfortunately, it was not enough for the upset, but it showed the fans of Arizona that it can compete with the nation's best. Taking the problem areas that hurt the Cats against Virginia, this is how Arizona progressed against Wake Forest.

Shooting—32.6%. Luckily, outstanding defense and taking care of the ball kept us in the game, because 32.6% is just not going to get it done on a regular basis. Radenovic struggled mightily tonight, going 1 for 11. Shakur had an uncharacteristic 1-for-12 night, but at the same time, Stoudamire did well from outside, hitting 4 from 9 from down town. In the second half, Stoudamire took a few unintelligent shots, but he performed like we need him to, in the first half. I was also pleasantly surprised with Adams shooting tonight, hitting most of his mid range jumpers, and 2 of 2 from beyond the arc. The ‘Cats hope to see more of that from him in the future. Take Radenovic and Shakur away from the stats, and the Wildcats shoot 41%. This is a good sign for the Cats.

Sloppy passing/Turnovers—Taking care of the ball, and defense, is what kept the Cats in the game against the Demon Deacons. Arizona had only eight turnovers, only one of which coming from the UA guards (Stoudamire, Shakur, McClellan, Rodgers). It is excellent to see the number of turnovers in the last three games decrease from 21, to 15, to 8.

Finishing—Other than the foul discrepancy of 25 free throw attempts for Wake Forest to the UA's three, I blame this for the loss. It happened at least 10 times, including a missed lay up by Hassan Adams in a crucial possession near the end of the game. For some reason, this team cannot find a way to get the ball into the basket, from right underneath the hoop. I noticed several missed lay ups from Fox, Radenovic, Shakur, Adams, and even McClellan. There is really no way to improve this, other than to work on it individually in practice. It is something that must be fixed, as it costs the Wildcats many points every game.

Free throws—Obviously, the ‘Cats did not shoot enough to earn a proper evaluation of this. So, I will take this time to announce that I am on the bandwagon of referee critics. Both teams were playing hard, and were just as physical as each other. There is no way any team should get only 3 free throws in a game.

Hassan Adams (ENERGY!)—He brought his game and his attitude against Wake Forest. I give him the edge over Salim for player of the game, due to Salim's sub par second half. Hassan hit the outside shots, the mid range jumpers, played excellent defense, and scored 19 points. He will be an interesting player to follow, based on the games so far this year. It seems every game a different Hassan steps on the court.

The team played, arguably, the best they have all year, against one of the nation's best teams. The progress is very promising, and Wildcat fans should be in for an excellent year. There were more good things to speak of, than bad things, and it seems Arizona has finally caught on, after a season and 5 games, to what it means to play defense. Each player seems to be getting better and better with each game, with the exception of Ivan Radenovic. I-Rad appears to be getting less and less comfortable on the court, turning the ball over 3 times. He also isn't sure when he should and should not shoot, and is always very hesitant when he does shoot. With time, one should expect that he will gain more confidence. When this happens, his shooting percentage will rise.

The contest against Wake Forest has toughened up Arizona for the rest of their schedule. The U of A gears up to play Wyoming next on November 30th. Look for more improved play from the Wildcats, looking to rebound from a tough, busy week away from home.

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