Scouting Report: Cats welcome back Jay John

Former Arizona assistant Jay John returns to McKale Center and that could be the only intrigue in this game. The Wildcats have wrapped up the Pac-10 regular season title and the top seed in the Conference Tournament. Oregon State is in as well, but would love to knock off the No. 1 Wildcats.

No. 1 Arizona (23-2, 15-1) vs. Oregon State (13-12, 6-10)
Date: Thursday, March 6, 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)

LAST TIME OUT: Arizona held off a tough Stanford club and came away with a 72-69 win on the road. The Beavers edged out USC 61-60.

LAST MEETING: Arizona beat the Beavers 80-65 in Corvallis as Hassan Adams' 14 points led five Wildcat players in double figures.

BACKCOURT: This is a weakness for the Beavers. They have four capable bodies, but no one who gives opposing coaches nightmares. Jimmie Haywood is a solid scorer on the wing. When Haywood is hitting from the outside, he is dangerous.

Freshman Lamar Hurd has been a solid assist man, averaging 4.0 apg. He's not much of a scorer, averaging only 6.4 ppg and is no threat from the outside, making just one three-pointer in only six attempts.

. Floyd North III gives the Beavers another tall guard. The 6-4 sophomore hits the boards well but is just an average scorer. He's a poor outside shooter, so the Wildcats will not be afraid to double off of North or Hurd.

James Nash is a solid, if unspectacular, guy off the bench. He has played some key minutes and is good all around, hitting to boards and dishing the ball.

David Lucas has spelled Haywood of late at small forward and is proving to be a decent scorer off the bench.

The Wildcat guards are vastly superior to the Beavers'. The Cats only real chore is in trying to slow down Haywood. Expect Salim Stoudamire to get the initial assignment on Haywood if the Cats go man to man.

Both Stoudamire and Jason Gardner are playing great and will get the bulk of the minutes. Salim is shooting great and Gardner is running the offense to near perfection. Hassan Adams and Chris Rodgers are getting spot minutes, Adams as an offensive spark and Rodgers as a defensive stopper.

FRONTCOURT: The Beavers have two of the better big men in the Pac-10. Phillip Ricci is a banger who has some skills. The 6-9 center leads the team in scoring (17.0 ppg) and rebounding (8.5 rpg) and is the team's best player. He is a certain all Pac-10 pick and could garner attention for Player of the Year.

Brian Jackson is a more finesse player in the post. The 6-9 Jackson is a decent scorer (12.6 ppg) with a nice stroke. He is not real aggressive inside and does not rebound as well as the Beavers would like (5.1 rpg), however, he is a threat from beyond the arc.

Derek Potter gives them some size off the bench. The 6-11 sophomore isn't used for much more than a player to spell Jackson and Ricci. He has played more than 12 minutes only twice, and has seen his playing time diminish in recent weeks.

With a lack of depth in the post, the Beavers may be forced to go small at times to give Ricci and Jackson a breather.

The Wildcats continue to go with Channing Frye, Rick Anderson and Luke Walton in the post. Isaiah Fox is playing just spot minutes, but could see his role increase if one of the slighter Wildcats gets into foul trouble trying to bang with Ricci.

OUTLOOK: This could be the letdown game for the Wildcats. After wrapping up the Pac-10 and before senior day on Saturday, the Cats could be overlooking the Beavers. Honestly, that may be the only way the Wildcats can be beat. With the exception of Ricci, the Wildcats are vastly superior to Oregon State at every position. The Cats should win easily.

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