Despite concerns, it is too early to worry

Arizona was less than impressive in their Tuesday night win over NAU. Although they escaped with the win, it should have been more one-sided. While it is disappointing, it is way too early to write this team off, although there is now a laundry list of concerns about the team as well.

One game is not enough to pass judgment on. The Cats did not look particularly good before NAU went on their 13-0 run and despite fending off the Lumberjacks and the fact that the game was in doubt in the final minute will have many Wildcat fans nervous.

There is no doubt that there are issues in the post. The Cats scored just 12 points from the inside and were out rebounded by the Jacks. Even worse was the fact that Jordan Hill could not avoid foul trouble. He scored eight points but lost a ton of minutes to a game that was called tight.

More curious was the fact that other than Bret Brielmaier the Cats did not use the bench to bolster the middle. Mohamed Tangara played one minute and Kirk Walters and Alex Jacobson did not see any time at all. It seems that the Cats will need to get Fendi Onobun healthy and/or develop trust in the bench. The inside play must be better, especially come Pac-10 play when almost every team has solid post players.

The Wildcats' shooting percentage was not good enough either. Although Kevin O'Neill felt that the Cats took good shots and just missed, it did look at times like they were rushing stuff. The Cats probably need a little bit better ball movement and can't settle for the three-point shot as much as they did. When they were moving the ball, the Wildcats got some really good looks inside.

Defensively the Cats allowed the Jacks to shoot 45% from the field and 50% in the second half. They never forced them out of their sets or made them uncomfortable.

They also showed a lack of killer instinct, a problem the past few years. They led by double figures for much of the game and led by 16 before the big run, but obviously never put them away.

I also wonder if the Cats have enough offensive firepower. Chase Budinger and Jerryd Bayless seem as if they will be able to get theirs and Jawann McClellan should be a reliable third scorer, but after that there are doubts. Jordan Hill and Jamelle Horne need to step it up. Horne was held scoreless, and took some questionable shots from the outside.

On the bench only Nic Wise seems like he can provide consistent scoring. Although Daniel Dillon did a nice job against NAU, but can he be relied upon game after game.

The good news is that the Cats turned the ball over just five times, but you'd expect that taking care of the ball that well would lead to a much bigger margin of victory. The two second half turnovers led to six Lumberjack points and seem to come at the wrong time.

The jury is still out on Jawann McClellan's long term health, but he showed great leadership and hit a big bucket to close out the 13-0 NAU run and made some big plays in the final few minutes.

Jerryd Bayless scored 18 and dished five assists. For the most part he took good shots and did avoid getting caught too deep.


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