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Arizona vs. Arizona State: Steve Rivera’s breakdown of the game • Wildcat notes • Players to watch


Advantage: ASU

Few guards in the conference are playing better than UA’s Nic Wise. He needs to continue his unbelievable pace. Kyle Fogg has been a perfect sidekick, taking only the shots he feels he’ll hit. He’s been good defensively, too. They’ll have to keep Derek Glasser from scoring from the perimeter. Good luck. And then there’s the case of stopping James Harden, who will probably go for 20-plus.


Advantage: Arizona

Arizona’s duo of Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill are too much for ASU. Hill should get his double-double, which would be his 16th this season. Budinger needs to hit the boards. Jeff Pendergraph is a double-double waiting to happen. Can he get help near the basket? That will be key for ASU.


Advantage: ASU

The tempo will be the key. If ASU can get UA to slow down and play its style – which should happen – UA will be hard-pressed to score more than 70. Another ugly game looks inevitable after ASU won the first contest 53-47. UA’s zone defense has made huge strides. ASU’s zone defense has too, but it’s a little bit better because of the style of play.


I’ve debated this one all week. UA is on a roll and playing as though its life depends on every win. ASU, too, has played well. I still feel UA will have to prove itself on the road against good teams, and ASU is a good team. Arizona has enough to win but will fall short. Just short. ASU by 2.

Prediction: ASU by 2


All-time meetings: UA leads 138-76

Pac-10 meetings: UA leads 44-20

Longest UA win streak: 17 (1945-52)

Longest ASU win streak: 15 (1958-65)

Current series streak: ASU, 3 in a row

Earlier this season: ASU 53, UA 47 (Jan. 21 in Tucson)

Last season: ASU 64, UA 59 (OT, Jan. 9 in Tempe); ASU 59, UA 54 (Feb. 10 in Tucson)

First meeting: UA 41, ASU 17 (1913 in Tucson)


Hill on a list of nation’s top 10 players

FoxSports.com’s Jeff Goodman lists Jordan Hill in his top 10 college basketball players of the year. He comes in at No. 9. Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin is No. 1.

“With the Wildcats’ recent surge, the athletic big man makes his return to the Top 10 while averaging 18.2 points, 11.3 rebounds and a pair of blocks per game,” Goodman writes. “He had 22 points and 13 boards in a win against UCLA this past week.”

Hill will have a tough time come Sunday in facing ASU’s Jeff Pendergraph, who ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in rebounds at 8.0. Hill is first at 11.3.

Hill is averaging 18.2 points per game, good for third in the conference. Pendergraph is averaging 13.7 points per game (17th).

Arizona interim coach Russ Pennell said the two have a “respect” for one another after each worked out together last summer for NBA guys.

“This is going to be a pivotal position in this game,” Pennell said. “It could be as simple as who can stay on the floor and not foul?’ I know they both bring the best out of each other and it’ll be fun to watch.”

Other locker room, please

Pennell, a former ASU assistant under Rob Evans in the late 1990s and early 2000s, said his biggest memory of the UA-ASU rivalry is that he couldn’t beat UA. Well, not consistently anyway.

He said going up to Wells Fargo Arena may be a little weird, with the strangest part being in the opposing team’s locker room.

“I’m sure I’ll see some old friends and they’ll smile at me and then probably hold up signs that say, ‘Kill U of A.”


Arizona (18-8, 8-5) at Arizona State (20-5, 9-4)

When: 8 p.m. Sunday

Where: Tempe


Radio: 1290 AM, 107.5 FM

How teams match up

Arizona ASU

72.2 Points per game 70.1

47.8 Field goal % 48.4

66.5 Points allowed per game 58.5

42.4 Foes’ field goal % 40.6


‘To me it was a form of admiration that we wanted to catch them and beat them.’


Arizona interim coach and former ASU assistant, on how ASU viewed the Wildcats earlier this decade.


Thursday’s scores: UCLA 85, Washington 76; California 78, Oregon 60; Oregon State 66, Stanford 54; USC 61, Washington State 51.

Saturday’s games: Washington State at UCLA, 1 p.m.; California at Oregon State, 3 p.m.; Washington at USC, 5 p.m.; Stanford at Oregon, 6 p.m.

Sunday’s game: Arizona at Arizona State, 8 p.m.



1. James Harden, ASU 21.3

3. Jordan Hill, UA 18.2


1. Jordan Hill, UA 11.3

2. Jon Brockman, Washington 11.2


1. Jerome Randle, California 5.1

6. Nic Wise, UA 4.6


1. Taj Gibson, USC 2.7

2. Jordan Hill, UA 2.0


Conf. All

School W L W L

Washington 10 4 19 7

Arizona State 9 4 20 5

California 9 4 20 6

UCLA 9 4 20 6

ARIZONA 8 5 18 8

USC 7 6 16 9

Oregon State 6 8 12 13

Washington State 5 9 13 13

Stanford 4 9 15 9

Oregon 0 14 6 20


Can’t let ASU beat Cats four straight

Re: UA-ASU basketball rivalry

It is an awesome rivalry, now we need to fight back, them winning four in a row will be devastating. Watch Hill dominate Pendergraph. We can’t play slow ball with them. Gotta have up-tempo for a victory. Go Cats!


I don’t think ASU having one good year, maybe two good years can be called a rivalry. All you have to do is make Harden dribble to his right and he will give up the ball because he can’t dribble with both hands.


Cat fans should appreciate the fact that ASU is now fielding a competitive team which benefits UA by not giving the other Pac-10 opponent a walkover (example: UCLA last week) before we play them each week!


E-mail: sports@tucsoncitizen.com. Call: 573-4635.

Nic Wise

If he doesn’t play well the team doesn’t play well. If he can continue to hit from the perimeter it will free up his ability to drive to the basket. Getting to the basket against ASU’s zone may prove tough, however.

Chase Budinger

Budinger has been on a huge roll the past three weeks. Twenty-point games, big shots from the perimeter and going after rebounds. He’s been the player many expected him to be. Can he continue? He’ll have to.

Jeff Pendergraph

Pendergraph is considered one of the better big men in the conference but he’s no Jordan Hill. Yet he played almost evenly with Hill in the first game, grabbing 14 rebounds and scoring 11 points. He’ll be key for ASU.

James Harden

He is probably the player of the year in the Pac-10 and leads the league in scoring. Some have projected him to be a top-five pick in this summer’s NBA draft. His most difficult task is hitting the outside jumper.

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