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Another Look UA 60, Utah 57

Player Of The Game
Jason Washburn was probably the best player on the floor for 40 minutes. The 6-10 junior had 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. He also had a pair of blocks and did a good job keeping balls alive.

Solomon Hill was Arizona's MVP.

Arizona Player Of The Game
Solomon Hill carried Arizona for much of the second half. He finished the game with 19 points and six boards. He did turn the ball over three times. Hill was 6-7 from the field, 3-3 from behind the arc and 4-4 at the line.

Turning Point
Up just one, Mark Lyons hits both foul shots to put Arizona up three, meaning Utah could, at best, only tie the game. Lyons, who struggled for much of the game, once again came up big in the final minute of the game.

Play Of The Game

Forgetful
Arizona was instructed to foul before Utah could take the final shot, but failed to do so and the Utes got a clean look at a game tying three.

Terrible
Arizona’s starting guards were just 5-22 from the field and 2-9 from behind the arc. It gets worse if you add Jordin Mayes, add Mayes’ 0-3 then the Cats’ guards were 5-25 and 2-12.

Good
Arizona committed just nine turnover in the game and just 13 in 45 minutes against Colorado.

Inefficient
Arizona had 18 offensive rebounds, but just 10 second chance points. Conversely, Utah had eight offensive rebounds, and 11 second chance points. Kaleb Tarczewski had seven offensive rebounds, but just two second chance points.

Efficient
On a positive not Arizona had 11 points off of 11 Utah turnovers. Utah had just two points off of Arizona’s nine turnovers.

Fast Start
Brandon Ashley scored the Wildcats' first seven points. Unfortunately for Ashley, he struggled on defense and played just six minutes in the second half. He finished with 11 points on 5-7 shooting.

No Guards
An Arizona guard did not score until 6:27 left in the first half when Mark Lyons hit a straight on three.

Ugly
Arizona went scoreless over the final 4:52, but Utah only scored three points over that stretch. In fact, they scored just seven points over the final 11:11.

  • gonna be a tough trip up here to Oregon. they'll have to play much better if they want to sweep. after this week I have to think they'll drop at least one...likely to Oregon. I'll be at both showing support. I've got close to 100 friends joining me for the OSU game! RoseCityCats!

  • Wow, virtually nobody on this board commenting about the game. Is it the "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all"?

    I was at the game and I couldn't believe that we couldn't put away a really poor Utah team. I'm not going to give them credit and be classy like Sean Miller was in the postgame interview with Brian Jeffries. Asu beat these guys basically by the margin we did, and asu sucks. They've lost to Sacramento St, SMU, and Cal St Northridge. That haven't beat anyone worth a darn. The #3 team in the country, at home, shouldn't be going down to the wire against a team picked to finish 10 - 12 in the Pac-12.

    Let's start with the hangover from Colorado excuse. Ok, so we had shortened rest vs Utah. Not a problem because we have depth. No we don't have depth anymore since coach Miller has decided Gabe York is worthless and so now is Angelo Chol. I think even Jordin Mayes has lost total confidence since he only comes in for spot minutes and maybe slightly more like today when Lyons got his second foul in the first half. When your starting guards are shooting like crap, again, for the second straight game and as coaches you don't use the bench to motivate, it has me perplexed. Mayes, Chol, and York would have had fresh legs and they weren't utilized. Oh well, I guess that's why I just coach youth sports, and not at the college level since I don't get it.

    I think the worst thing said today at the game came from my wife, who after watching Kaleb fumble his way in trying to score numerous times, said she was thinking of him like Kyryl and said get him out of the game. I know he had a lot of rebounds, but a few of those came off his own missed four foot shots. He gets a pass because he's a freshmen, and light years ahead of Kyryl, but as highly ranked as he was coming out of high school he should be a bit better offensively than he is.

    Now that I got the frustration out on the keyboard let me look at the positives. Soloman had a great stats night overall. He really performed like a Pac-12 player of the year candidate today and we don't win without him. Also, our composure in the last minute was again solid. Nobody panicked and Lyons once again comes through with the two free throws to seal it. Parrom once again is solid in all areas of the game. Ashley started off strong, and I wish we would have run more plays for him early, but he kind of disappeared for awhile. I would like to see more of him on offense.

    14-0. Still means a lot to not have lost a game. Five nights from now we play Oregon. Let's see what the coaches do with these kids after two insanely close home games in which we really have played well below the level I think we are capable of. I know I'm being nit picky here, but I really thought seeing this team play early on that it had Elite 8/Final Four potential. I'm not seeing that type of team right now.

    Finally, a couple of questions for the staff. Can someone who gets the chance to interview Miller ask about the rotation now and the lack of using York, Chol, and even Mayes compared to earlier in the non conference schedule. I'd love to hear the reasoning as we struggled in the last two and using the depth may have paid off against Utah. Secondly, please help me understand this so called complex offense that Gary talks about the Cats running. Why does it need to be so complicated? It doesn't seem like we are any better then our opponents on offense except when we get helter skelter in the last few minutes. I would like to understand the philosophy more. Thanks.

  • I think you are bringing up some fair points, but I would disagree on an assumption.

    Maybe it looks different up close and personal, but I don't understand the eval of Utah, as "a really poor team."

    I don't seem them as a poor team at all. As a matter of fact, to me they look like a dark horse contender in the Pac 12. Their coach is highly regarded, they have an outstanding post man in Washburn, and they shot lights out even when we defended the 3 pt shot well. Their guards are lightning quick. They defend well, and their year long stats bear out that no one shoots well against them.

    Additionally, from now on out, every team that plays Arizona is going to give them their best shot because they are the most highly ranked and regarded team in the conference.

    I do agree on Zeus and his inability to catch and hold. I think he is going to get better, and he is definitely not the 2nd coming of Kryl or anywhere near to him.

    But you have to give credit to Utah in a big way in my opinion. They are a lot better than I thought they would be.

    Pre-season pickings may be a worthless way to size up a team.

  • Hey Catty,

    Regarding the offense, it's predicated on the high screen out top and the on-ball screen toward the wings. Spread the floor and use the screens to force the defense to react and hopefully open up dribble penetration. It's not a complicated offense to run, per say, but it's designed to be a complicated offense for an opponent to defend. The trick though is players making the extra pass to keep the constant on-ball screens occurring over and over until a mismatch is created (i.e. center gets stuck on Lyons, or Ashley's sealing a guard on the low block). Unfortunately, as Miller has stated in several post games of late (during recent offense struggles), when you're shooting off the first or second pass Arizona's offense really has yet to kick in.

    In short, every time Arizona takes a quick shot in the half court set (not transition break) they're only hurting themselves because what is a 18 footer 2 passes into the offense is usually something at the basket or a drive and kick for a wide-open 3-Pointer 5-6 passes and 2-3 on-ball screens into the offensive flow.

    Arizona can run the 5-6 passes and 2-3+ screens all very quickly because the offense is designed to move, not stand around. It can lead to a lot of points if the players would just run the damn offense and make the extra pass because improved shot selection generally leads to improved shooting efficiency because guys are actually open.

    **Granted, defenses play a role in stopping Arizona. Tonight, we saw Utah "sag" in their man-to-man, so it's disguised as a psuedo zone. However, Miller's complicated offense is designed to employ simple strategies that quickly help Arizona determine what defense a team is in. For example, if you run the high screen and also have the strong side wing diagonal cut to the opposite end of the floor it's very simple then for the PG coming off the high screen to determine whether or not the defense is really in a zone or actually in man-to-man because the screen and the D-Cut will either send the defense moving or keep guys standing in "their zone". Again, if Lyons makes one pass to the wing and someone shoots it, there's no way to determine what D the D is actually in.

    Arizona is very good IMO and I'm not panicking, but it's clear a very young and new Wildcat team needs more time on the floor together, and much more discipline and commitment to running the offense. They'll improve, no doubt, but as you guys have already mentioned this upcoming Oregon/OSU trip is going to be an incredible challenge and they need to perform and execute a helluvah lot better to win 1 game let alone sweep.

    WSR Publisher National Basketball Recruiting Analyst Football Writers Association of America U.S. Basketball Writers Association

  • Utah is a poor team. but it must be the ole adage.....coming to Tucson and pay your best game.
    Our lack of D made them look good.
    I don't give a crapola any more....I don't care if the other team scores 99 points.......as long as we score 100

  • Thanks Gary for the explanation. It helps me understand what we're trying to accomplish and why we might be struggling.

    Steve, I know Kaleb's not the second coming of Kyryl, it was more he had some Kyryl moments around the basket yesterday afternoon. I guess we'll see how Utah does in the Pac-12 and see if they're a darkhorse or not. I wouldn't be surprised though if they finish about 5-13 and won't be a factor. I still believe we made them look good yesterday more than they are good.

  • To expand on what Dazzy said, getting to 4-6 passes is really key for Miller's offense. I was specifically watching that yesterday and especially in the 2nd half. We went like 12-15 minutes in the 2nd half without passing more than twice before a shot. Then boom, had an easy lay up off the 5th pass on the next possession. The first and second passes are almost always on the perimeter and result in long jumpers. When your guards (Nick, Lyons, Mayes) are shooting 20% from the floor, you don't want those jumpers. They didn't hurt us early because at least Nick was hitting at a 50% clip like he did last year early. But with all 3 struggling early shots are fatal unless KP is playing the 2 with Solo at the 3. By the 5th or 6th pass the ball has gone into the post, high or low, at least once and has spread the defense allowing the lane for a drive and layup or an easy shot by the post player.

    Bear Down Arizona! Wildcat Sports Report, CFO AZ's Certified Tax Coach at Wildcat Tax & Accountingwww.WildcatTax.com

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