Arizona vs. Stanford: Steve Rivera’s breakdown of the game • Wildcat notes • Players to watch
UA’s Nic Wise must step it up in every way. He’s struggled the last couple of weeks with foul trouble, a sign he’s probably trying to do too much when he has the ball. A number of the fouls have been on the offensive end. UA’s Kyle Fogg needs to hit a jumper or two to keep defenses honest. He hasn’t been as effective as he has been. Stanford’s Landry Fields is deceptively good. So is Mitch Johnson. But Wise should be the guy here.
If Jordan Hill doesn’t score more than 20 points and pull down at least 12 rebounds, it’s a sign he’s tired. UA’s big man played like he wasn’t hurt on Thursday against Cal. Chase Budinger has stepped up his game but he needs to do more in crucial times. Many of his points are coming too late. Still, he’s better than Stanford’s Lawrence Hill and Josh Owens. UA has a big edge here.
UA plays defense a bit better than Stanford does. That’s not saying much, but it’s an advantage. Stanford ranks ninth in field goal percentage defense at 47.4 percent. UA is fifth at 43.7. UA mixed a zone and some man-to-man against Cal. I’d expect the same Saturday.
It’s a must-win game for the Wildcats to keep alive hopes for a 25th straight NCAA Tournament bid. In a season full of drama, UA will get the win but will have to win at least two more in the Pac-10 Tournament to get to the Big Dance.
Prediction: Arizona by 6
UA-STANFORD SERIES AT A GLANCE
All-time meetings: UA leads 48-29
Pac-10 meetings: UA leads 44-22
Longest UA win streak: 15 (1989-95)
Longest Stanford win streak: 5 (1937-58)
Current series streak: Stanford, 4 in a row
Earlier this season: Stanford 76, UA 60 (Jan. 4 in Palo Alto, Calif.)
Last season: Stanford 56, UA 52 (Jan. 17 in Palo Alto); Stanford 67, UA 66 (Feb. 16 in Tucson); Stanford 75, UA 64 (March 13 in Pac-10 Tournament)
First meeting: Stanford 44, UA 28 (1937 in Tucson)
UA BASKETBALL NOTES
Horne gets his chance
Arizona started sophomore Jamelle Horne for the first time since facing UCLA on Jan. 15, and he came through with 13 points and nine rebounds against California in Thursday’s 83-77 loss at McKale Center.
“We just wanted to give him a jump-start,” UA interim coach Russ Pennell said. “I thought he did a good job, especially the first half. Hopefully that will fuel him and get him going.”
With Horne starting, Zane Johnson went to the bench. Johnson played 18 minutes, going 0 for 2 from the floor.
“It was nothing Zane did, but more about Jamelle,” Pennell said.
Pennell said Horne likely would start Saturday against Stanford.
Reporters asked Pennell if he’d start senior forward Fendi Onobun on Senior Day, the final regular season appearance at McKale. Pennell said that won’t happen. Backup guard David Bagga is the other senior.
Against Cal, Pennell said, reserve guard Brendon Lavender played well for the second straight game.
“Brendon gives us a lot of effort and energy when he comes in,” Pennell said.
“He’s not playing a lot of minutes but (he’s playing) meaningful minutes. And that’s what matters.”
Despite not practicing all week, UA big man Jordan Hill played against Cal as if he’d never suffered a severely sprained left ankle at Washington a week ago.
“He’s a quick healer,” Pennell said. “I was a little concerned he’d be sore (Friday) but he said he felt great.”
Saturday: Stanford (16-11, 5-11) at Arizona, 5:30 p.m. TV: FSNA. Radio: 1290 AM, 107.5 FM
How teams match up
71.8 Points per game 72.8
47.2 Field goal % 46.0
67.8 Points allowed per game 67.7
43.1 Foes’ field goal % 47.4
‘We’re a team that has a chance for the NCAA Tournament. Now everything is in our hands.’
UA interim coach, on his team’s postseason chances.
School Conf. Overall
Washington 13-4 22-7
UCLA 12-5 23-7
California 11-6 22-8
Arizona State 10-7 21-8
Arizona 8-9 18-12
USC 8-9 17-12
Washington State 8-9 16-13
Oregon State 7-10 13-15
Stanford 6-11 17-11
Oregon 2-15 8-21
Thursday’s games: California 83, Arizona 77; Stanford 74, Arizona State 64; USC 80, Oregon 66; UCLA 79, Oregon State 54
Saturday’s games: Stanford at Arizona, 5:30 p.m.; California at Arizona State, noon: Oregon at UCLA, 1:30 p.m.: Washington State at Washington, 3:30 p.m.; Oregon State at USC, 6 p.m.
1. James Harden, ASU 20.8
2. Jordan Hill, UA 18.4
1. Jon Brockman, Washington 11.3
2. Jordan Hill, UA 11.1
1. Jerome Randle, California 5.1
6. Nic Wise, UA 4.5
1. Taj Gibson, USC 2.8
2. Jordan Hill, UA 1.9
Montgomery has UA’s number
Re: UA loses to California
Let’s hire Montgomery.
There is a word that fits this team: crummy.
They played fairly well for an uncoached team that had never heard of a man-to-man defense.
Mike Montgomery has always had Arizona’s number. He showed once again that he is a smarter coach than anybody in Arizona.
They stomped on us, then rubbed our face in it. There is no excuse for allowing an average team to humble us.
On the bright side, at least we’ll get one more crack at ASU if the boys can somehow remember how to win Saturday.
At last, good old Lute is out the door and headed for some coaching honors he well deserves. I think he waited too long to leave and the program suffered. Now you guys can talk about the good old days. I hope the future is bright for Arizona but it looks doubtful now.
Arizona played well. Cal’s Randle just played better. Chase attacked the basket. Jordan was Jordan. Nic got into foul trouble again, which always hurts. Nice to see Horne contributing. We needed a bit more from Fogg and Zane, who we know can do it, but overall it was a great battle and Randle wasn’t to be stopped. Let’s beat Stanford and make a run in the Pac-10 Tournament to improve our case.