Scouting Report: Mississippi State at Arrowhead

<B>No. 21 Arizona (4-2) vs. No. 15 Mississippi State (6-1)</B><br> <B>Date: Sunday, Dec. 5 2004</B><br> <B>Time: approx. 1:30 PST</B><br> <B>Location: Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim (17,600), Anaheim, CA</B><br>

MEDIA:
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
Pregame: 11:30 a.m. on 1290 a.m. (Brad Allis, Pete Delgado, John Schuster, Ryan Radtke, Joe Nehls)
Postgame call-in show: 1290 a.m. approximately 30 minutes after the end of the game.
TV: WGN (Rich Waltz/James Worthy)
On-Line: Arizona All Access (subscription required)
www.arizonaathletics.com
Mississippi State at a glance: Location: Mississippi State, MS
Coach: Rick Stansbury 132-65
Leading Scorer: Lawrence Roberts (16.2)
Leading Rebounder: Roberts (11.2)
Leading Assists: Gary Ervin (4.3)
Last Meeting: Mississippi State edged Arizona 75-74 in the Championship Game of the Fiesta Bowl Classic in 2000. The series is tied 1-1.
Last Time Out: Arizona cruised over Wyoming 98-70. Mississippi State defeated South Alabama 82-64.

OVERVIEW: The Bulldogs are a team that is very physical on the inside behind the strength of Roberts. Roberts is averaging a double-double, and is the team's go-to guy. With only one loss to Syracuse to their name, Mississippi State is a team that is looking pretty solid. Even though their six wins have come against lesser talents, the Bulldogs have been dominating their opponents this season.

Mississippi State's inside game is among the best in the nation. They are helmed by senior Roberts at the forward spot. The 6'9" Roberts has been averaging 16.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. Alongside Roberts is 6'5" forward Shane Power who has been adding 10 points and 4.1 rebounds per game as well. The Bulldogs also add 7'0" center Marcus Campbell to their lineup who tacks on 5.3 rebounds per game.

The rebounding battle will be key for Arizona in the game. Arizona has come out of the gates the past few games rebounding well, especially on the offensive glass. That strength will need to be present in order for Arizona to come out with the win.

The Mississippi State backcourt is strong behind 5'11" sophomore Gary Ervin. Ervin has been averaging 7.4 points and 4.3 assists per game. Ervin will create an interesting match-up for the taller Mustafa Shakur. Shakur has not been shooting the ball much lately, however his assists and rebounding game have been impressive.

The last member of the starting lineup for Mississippi State comes from 6'4" senior guard Winsome Frazier. Frazier has been putting up monster numbers this season averaging 14.3 points per game. Frazier is a player the Cats will need to be aware of at all times. He is a guy who can shoot the basketball from anywhere on the court. In addition, Arizona will need to keep Frazier off the line who has been shooting 87.5% from the stripe this season.

Once again, Arizona will need to get out early on the Bulldogs. Mississippi State has a veteran team that under the tutelage of Rick Stansbury has turned into a national power. Those veterans are good, and can score at any time. If Arizona can continue their impressive shooting performance against Wyoming, and keep the pressure on the boards, they should be able to come up with the win.

KEY MATCH-UP:Channing Frye vs. Lawrence Roberts. Frye will need to be exceptionally strong down low, and will need to hold down the 240 pound Roberts. Roberts is a player that is always able to find his way to the basket and is a 69% free throw shooter, so sending him to the line is out of the question. Frye cannot be soft down low, and some early blocks could help to bring Roberts out of his rhythm.

OUTLOOK: This game comes down to offensive rebounding. Arizona has been dominating on the offensive glass, and has been converting their second and third shot opportunities. The Cats are coming off of a great performance against Wyoming, and that momentum needs to be present against the strong Mississippi State team.


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