Five Keys for Arizona

(Editor's note: This article was written by Brian Goldsmith of the Cat Tracks staff prior to the NCAA Tournament. It still applies as Oklahoma State and Arizona prepare for Thursday night's Sweet 16 matchup.)<br><br> The Cats may be reeling after the loss to Washington, but they have to realize that they have the potential to be as good as anyone in the tournament. There is a simple recipe for success. Well, simple to plan, not so simple to execute.

1) Get Salim Stoudamire the ball: The Wildcats have done a good job of getting Stoudamire the ball all season long. If he's hot the Cats should not hesitate to let him fire. When Stoudamire is on fire there truly is no stopping him. If he is being consistent and hitting three's the Cats can't go wrong. However, if he isn't hot Arizona must be careful to remind him to pick his shots carefully and not become too frustrated. Stoudamire must remain patient and let greatness come to him. The Wildcats must not fall into the trap of watching him go off either. Against Washington the Cats let Salim do too much and it hurt them.

2) Allow Channing Frye to dominate inside: Frye has played extremely well the last few games. He has completely dominated on the inside. If Frye has the height advantage Arizona must get the ball inside to him for almost a guaranteed basket. The defense Frye has shown this year hasn't hurt either. Frye must continue to be effective on both ends of the court. Frye must watch the ball carefully and be aware of his surroundings at all times because blocks by the big man can only help the team.

3) Let the beast become unleashed with Hassan Adams: Adams may have very well been Arizona's best player this season. However, this season he has struggled until recently. The Wildcats will need Adams on both sides of the court. He has been impressive defensively and with assists this season. He needs to keep those attributes up during the Pac-10 tournament. Adams has exploded offensively in the last few games. Arizona needs this offensive effort in order to be successful.

4) Don't hesitate to use the depth: It has been argued all year that the problem with last years' team was that it didn't have enough depth. This years' team has proved that it can go to the bench when needed. Coach Olson should not get too deep into the game before going to the bench. The trend may be to take advantage of the tournament's longer television timeouts, but the Cats have some interesting options. Mustafa Shakur has been on and off all season long. If Shakur does begin to struggle it is necessity that Arizona goes to the bench and lets Chris Rodgers in. You never know what he is capable of.

5) Control the tempo: Perhaps the Wildcats biggest problem this season is not being able to control the tempo. Recently Washington State and Washington have controlled the tempo of the game and it has hurt Arizona on both ends of the court. Washington State played too slow for the Cats' liking and the Huskies played a bit too fast. This may just be the biggest key in the Cats success. The Wildcats were national champions in 1997 and part of their success was because they controlled the tempo of the game.


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