Arizona Preview

One man's foul is another's spectacular play. Arizona star forward Derrick Williams put the Wildcats (28-7) on his back by making a hard play on the ball in the Wildcats' first round game against Memphis.

Some shouted for the foul, and the replay certainly shows some contact. But none was called on the play, and Williams's block served as the clutch play that propelled the Wildcats into the round of 32. That Williams made the big play for the Wildcats doesn't exactly come as a surprise. The lottery pick is a big part of the reason the Wildcats pose a potential problem for the Longhorns Sunday in Tulsa. The Wildcats rank as the country's 20th most efficient offense, thanks largely to a 54.3 effective field goal percentage (10th in the nation). They also get to the free throw line at a high rate and shoot three-pointers well.

Why do the Wildcats score so highly in those categories? Well, largely because Derrick Williams does well in those areas. His offensive efficiency rating is third nationally among players who utilize at least 24 percent of their team's possessions. He's also in the top 10 nationally in free throw rate and in fouls drawn per 40 minutes. In the latter category, he ranks as the top player in any of the major conferences.

His effective field goal percentage also puts him in the top-10, and he's a 60.3 percent shooter from three-point range. In short, Williams is a monster, a versatile player who attacks the basket off the dribble and has a mean face-up game. He's averaging 19.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

He has to, because the Wildcats lack a true back-to-the-basket post man. In fact, Williams, at 6-foot-8, is the Wildcats' tallest starter and the only one over 6-6.

No other Wildcat averages in double-figures, but that doesn't mean that Williams is a one-man show. Arizona has had five different players score at least 20 points in a game this year, with seven players scoring at least 16.

That makes the Wildcats difficult to prepare for, as somebody different is capable of stepping up every night. Lamont Jones can attack the basket, as can Kyle Fogg, though both have struggled at times with their long-range shots. That's not a problem for Kevin Parrom, who serves as the team's bomber off the bench. And forward Solomon Hill can do a little bit of everything.

Jamelle Horne is an undersized four who is capable of big things, like his 16-12 outing against Stanford earlier this year. Jesse Perry is another undersized high-energy forward, the type that the Wildcats seem to employ in bunches.

Those athletes allow the Wildcats to get out and pressure the perimeter, where they're fourth-nationally in three-point percentage allowed. But the lack of size also hurts when defending the interior, the soft underbelly of a mediocre Arizona defense.

With Williams and any one of the supporting cast firing, the Wildcats can score with anybody. But their lack of defense should make for a big day for players like Tristan Thompson and Jordan Hamilton attacking the basket. If Gary Johnson can slow Williams just enough to keep his teammates out of foul trouble, the Longhorns can write themselves a ticket to the Sweet Sixteen.

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