Scouting Report: Davidson Wildcats

It's a battle of the Wildcats. The Arizona Wildcats face the Wildcats of Davidson in the first round of the Fiesta Bowl Classic Saturday at McKale Center. Arizona has never lost a game in the first round of the tournament, but Davidson provides a good test.

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Davidson Wildcats (6-1) vs. No. 4 Arizona Wildcats (5-1)
Date: Saturday, Dec. 28, 2002 Time: approx. 4 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls)
TV: FSNA (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)

LAST TIME OUT: Then top-ranked Arizona was upset by LSU 66-65 in Baton Rouge. Davidson blew out Washington and Jefferson 125-44.

LAST MEETING: The Wildcats and Wildcats have never met.

Davidson is riding a six game winning streak. After hanging tough with Duke, the Wildcats have rolled. Davidson has eclipsed the 100 point mark three times and scored 125 points in their last outing.

Davidson likes to score in big numbers, averaging 92.1 ppg. They are great from three-point land, averaging just over 50% as a team. They spread the scoring around as four players average in double figures and eight average over seven points a game.

They are not great at taking care of the ball. The "other" Wildcats turn the ball over 16 times a game, so the Arizona Wildcats may try to press and expand upon those numbers.

BACKCOURT
Point guard Wayne Bernard can beat you by scoring or by passing. The 6-3 senior leads the Wildcats in scoring and assists. The Poway, CA native scores 15.3 ppg and dishes out 5.7 apg. Bernard is a very good outside shooter, knocking down 51.5% of his three-pointers.

Fellow guard Peter Anderer is equally dangerous from behind the arc. Anderer shoots 54.5% from three-point range and averages 14.9 ppg.

It's a favorable match-up for Arizona. Unlike LSU a week ago, Davidson's guards are on the small side. Bernard is 6-3 and Anderer stands only 6-1. Arizona will likely counter with Jason Gardner Salim Stoudamire. There could be a ton of three-point shots from these four.

FRONTCOURT
Davidson has good size in the frontcourt and will be one of the tallest teams Arizona has faced to date. Forwards Michel Lusakueno and Ian Johnson are 6-10 and 6-9 respectively. Both are strong on the boards and the freshman Johnson has proven to be a good scorer (14.6). Johnson shoots better than 50% from the field despite shooting poorly from behind the three-point line.

Connor Grace has been a monster on the boards, grabbing eight a game. The 6-8 Dubliner scores just 9.0 ppg, but is efficient, shooting 54.8% from the field. He has also asserted himself as of late, getting to the line 12 times in the past two games, after attempting just four free throws in the first five contests.

OUTLOOK:
Davidson is a pretty good team. They hung tough with Duke at Cameron and have beaten a couple of solid clubs. Davidson was a tournament team a year ago, and could very well represent the Southern Conference again. They are good enough to hang with the Wildcats for a while, but should not be good enough to beat Arizona at McKale. A win by Davidson is a remote possibility, but is not very likely. Arizona should win going away late.
PREDICTION: Arizona 94, Davidson 79


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