Date: Thursday, Jan. 30, 2003
Time: 6:30 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)
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LAST MEETING: Stanford dominated Arizona on the boards and beat the Cats 76-71. Stanford's early struggles were largely due to the absence of Justin Davis, but, with the losses of Casey Jacobsen and Curtis Borchardt to the NBA draft, even with Davis Stanford is a very up and down team . No one on the team is real consistent with the exception of Davis, but he's still in a knee brace and is only at about 70%. Stanford is a notch below Arizona, but the Cardinal is one of those structured teams that can shoot and could give Arizona problems. Here is what you'll see when the teams take the court in Tucson.
PG- Jason Gardner vs Julius Barnes
This is an exciting matchup as Barnes is a player that is exciting and potentially very good. He can shoot lights out or go ice cold. Early on one will be able to tell how he is going to shoot. If his shot is falling, he could have a big game. Last game against USC he scored 27 points, including 13-13 free throws. He is the one Stanford player that can really take a defender off the dribbleand he's a great athlete.
"Barnes is a great athlete," Lute Olson said. "He can penetrate and he is a momentum-type player. If he starts hitting you better not let him get shots. But that's easier said than done because of his athleticism."
Gardner is coming off an emotionally draining game in which he led the Wildcats back to an improbable win. Gardner might not come up huge in the smaller games, but when it matters most he is in control. Gardner could have problems with Barnes if Barnes shot is on, but Salim Stoudamire will draw the defensive assignment could give Barnes big time trouble. Overall Jason is the better player and always come up big against Stanford. He had a big scoring night last time the two teams met in Tucson. While Stanford is down this year compared to years past, Gardner should be ready to take on the Cardinal for the last time at home.
ADVANTAGE: JASON GARDNER.
SG- Salim Stoudamire vs Matt Lottich
Lottich is another very good shooter, but is not very consistent. He is a pure shooter but not very quick. Thus, he can't can't create off the dribble. Lottich could be matched up with Gardner if Stoudamire gets the call against Barnes. While Gardner is not the defender that Stoudamire is, Gardner is plenty quick and should be able to stay with the slower Lottich. Lottich is not a very good defender and if Stoudamire is on fire, that could be scary. While Lottich has had his games this year, he also has been down at times.
"Lottich is a great shooter in the tradition of great shooters that they've had through the years," Olson said. "There have been games where Lottich has been lights out with his perimeter shooting."
Stoudamire had the game of his career last Saturday, showing Wildcat fans what he is capable of doing. While he has been up and down due to his injury, it looks like Stoudamire is 100 percent again. To the rest of the Pac-10 that is real bad news, as Stoudamire has the potential to have huge games. Overall expect Stoudamire to have a decent game, but nothing like his 32 point outburst last weekend.
Advantage: Salim Stoudamire
SF- Luke Walton vs Josh Childress
Childress is much improved over last year when he was somewhat undersized for the college game. Childress has been one of the few Cardinal who has been steady this season. He is rebounding much better, grabbing 15 boards against USC last time out. If he can do the same on the glass and eliminate the Wildcats 2nd chance opportunities he could improve Stanford's chances. Childress is very good at driving to the basket and has an advantage over Walton in speed and quickness. He also has very long arms and is deceiving in the passing lanes. This will be put to the test as Walton is one of the best passers in the conference.
Walton is still showing the affects of his injury and didn't seem like himself in the first half of the Kansas game. He came on in the second half, but I feel his better games this season are definitely ahead of him. With Walton's nagging injury, Childress could play with Walton and could be a bigger factor. Walton is always a factor, even if his stats are not that great. With Walton still getting his legs back this is a much closer match-up than many would expect.
PF- Rick Anderson vs Nick Robinson/ Justin Davis
Davis has been out with an injury and most likely won't start. Davis is a great player, but with the knee injury he definitely isn't 100%. This could give Robinson another start, something he has been doing the past six games. Robinson has been Stanford's best defender, shutting down players like Oregon's Luke Jackson. Robinson could make things tough on Anderson defensively but shouldn't be a factor offensively. Robinson has an unrefined offensive game, looking uncomfortable often from the field. He can hit the three, but it would be in Arizona's interest to let him take it.
"The addition of (Justin) Davis is huge because he gives them interior scoring, shot blocking, and big-time rebounding ability," Olson said. "Justin is a big-time athlete."
This is a good matchup defensively for Anderson, as he is facing someone with little offensive game. Anderson is the superior player, but Robinson is tough on defense. I don't see this matchup being too one sided, but Anderson brings more to the table.
Advantage: Rick Anderson
C- Channing Frye vs Rob Little
Little has been a pleasant surprise this season for Stanford. After barely playing last season, he putting up much better numbers this year. Little is a load down low and this could make cause for some concern for Arizona. With his big body, Little can rack up rebounds in a hurry and he's usually in good position down low. Little's problem all season has been foul trouble. He commits a lot of bad fouls, usually by being overly aggressive.
"Little has done an outstanding job inside for them," said Olson. "He is a big body, has great hands, and is doing a really nice job when you look at his shooting percentage. He's done a nice job."
Little could give Frye problems down low, but Frye has a speed advantage over Little and could get Little in foul trouble. Frye has been coming on in Pac-10 play and looks to be repeating his trend from last year when he took the conference by storm. Frye and Little are actually fairly equal, but with Arizona's depth Frye should have a better game.
Advantage: Channing Frye
OUTLOOK: This is a game that Arizona should definitely win. Stanford may be the No. 1 rebounding team in the conference and that could give the Wildcats problems. Arizona's rebounding has been fantastic lately, but Stanford must control the boards they could stay in the game. The Cardinal must also hit their threes to have a chance. Stanford been stagnant on offense, but they usually get up for big games. They already have four wins over teams in the Top 25 RPI and I expect them to be up for their arch-rival. I imagine though that most of the freshmen who lost to Stanford last year are not happy about it and are looking for revenge. Arizona is superior in almost every area of the basketball game and that should leads to a big Arizona victory. But after living in Palo Alto my whole life and watching Stanford basketball since I was a kid, I would not count out a Mike Montgomery basketball team.
Prediction: Arizona 86 Stanford 71
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