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

The Bounce: Cats should be motivated vs. Devils


Advantage: Even

Arizona’s Nic Wise knows he can play with these guys. And actually, the only player better than Wise in the backcourt for ASU is James Harden. But that’s saying plenty. Harden will be the guy to stop first. He’s always been. Harden hasn’t hurt UA, but he’s due. Expect Wise to have a career game when the Wildcats need it the most at the Pac-10 Tournament.


Advantage: Arizona

UA junior Jordan Hill is the best big man in the conference – period. He’ll show it this time. Arizona junior Chase Budinger is one of the league’s better forwards. He’ll show it. ASU senior Jeff Pendergraph has come a long way since his freshman year. He’ll get his points, but it won’t be enough.


Advantage: ASU

Not sure whose “D” is better because each has its flaws. If Arizona can extend its zone (and it can), it should give ASU fits. But the Sun Devils’ zone has been solid all year. It ranks third in the league at 40.9 percent in field goal defense; UA is just shy at 43.3. That’s enough of a difference to give ASU the edge.


Arizona has had its chances against the Sun Devils this season, losing in Tempe 70-68 and at home 53-47. I like Arizona’s chances in a neutral setting: Staples Center in Los Angeles. Plus, the Wildcats might have more to play for – ASU is already in the NCAA Tournament – and it will be tough for the Devils to win three straight against UA this year.

Prediction: Arizona by 5


All-time meetings: UA leads 138-75

Pac-10 meetings: UA leads 44-19

Longest UA win streak: 17 (1945-52)

Longest ASU win streak: 15 (1958-65)

Current series streak: ASU, 2 in a row

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)


Onobun unsure of status

Arizona senior reserve Fendi Onobun isn’t sure if he’ll play much the rest of the season, saying he’s in a wait-and-see mode.

But he made the most of his chance in Saturday’s win over Stanford. In four minutes – two fewer than his season average – he hit both his free throws and his only shot.

“The thing we love about Fendi is that we can call on him on a moment’s notice,” UA interim coach Russ Pennell said. “What I’ve told Fendi is that it’s unfortunate that he’s playing behind a guy of Jordan Hill’s caliber. I feel comfortable enough to put him in.”

Same goes for freshman Brendon Lavender, who has become a key reserve lately. “I like his progress,” Pennell said. “I liked his ball pressure and his guarding is pretty good.” Lavender has come on because of the suspension of freshman Garland Judkins.

Judkins still away from team

Pennell had no new news on Judkins, only saying that he continues “to be out indefinitely.” Judkins has not been with the team since being suspended for the third time last month for unspecified reasons.

Budinger, Hill honored

For the first time, UA’s Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill were among 10 players named to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association all-district team Tuesday.

The others: James Harden, ASU; John Bryant, Santa Clara; Jon Brockman, Washington; Darren Collison, UCLA; Matt Bouldin, Gonzaga; Patrick Christopher and Jerome Randle, Cal; and Patty Mills, Saint Mary’s.

STEVE RIVERA, srivera@tucsoncitizen.com


Arizona (19-12, 9-9) vs. No. 23 ASU (22-8, 11-7), noon Thursday; first round of Pac-10 Tournament. TV: FSNA. Radio: 1290 AM, 107.5 FM

How teams match up

Arizona ASU

72.7 Points per game 69.6

47.9 Field goal % 47.8

68.5 Points allowed per game 59.8

40.9 Foes’ field goal % 43.3

‘It’s disappointing when you lose to your rival. In both games, I thought we played well but didn’t get it done.’


UA interim coach, on losing twice to ASU


Wednesday: No. 8 Oregon State vs. No. 9 Stanford, 6 p.m.; No. 7 Washington State vs. No. 10 Oregon, 8:30 p.m. (TV: all FSNA)

Thursday: No. 4 ASU vs. No. 5 UA, noon; No. 1 Washington vs. OSU/Stanford, 2:30 p.m.; No. 3 Cal vs. No. 6 USC, 6 p.m.; No. 2 UCLA vs. WSU/Oregon, 8:30 p.m. (all FSNA)

Friday: ASU/UA vs. Washington/OSU or Stanford, 6 p.m.; Cal/USC vs. UCLA/WSU or Oregon, 8:30 p.m. (all FSNA)

Saturday: Championship, 3 p.m. (CBS)



1. James Harden, ASU 20.8

2. Jordan Hill, UA 18.5


1. Jon Brockman, Washington 11.5

2. Jordan Hill, UA 11.0


1. Jerome Randle, California 5.0

6. Nic Wise, UA 4.6


1. Taj Gibson, USC 2.9

2. Jordan Hill, UA 1.9


School Conf. Overall

1. Washington 14-4 24-7

2. UCLA 13-5 24-7

3. California 11-7 22-9

Arizona State 11-7 22-8

5. Arizona 9-9 19-12

USC 9-9 18-12

7. Washington St. 8-10 16-14

8. Oregon State 7-11 13-16

9. Stanford 6-12 17-12

10. Oregon 2-16 8-22

Chase Budinger
UA needs a double-double from the junior before he likely goes to the NBA. He’s capable of it, but he must get beyond his comfort zone (a fast-paced game) and make things happen, starting with 3-pointers.

Jamelle Horne
Still one of the Pac-10′s more physically gifted players, the UA forward hasn’t put it together for a consistent period. Why not now? It’s possible but a lot has to fall right. Attacking the basket would be a good start.

Derek Glasser

He killed UA in the first game and hit some big shots in the second. The junior ASU guard is a 42.6 percent 3-point shooter and can be the X-factor for the Sun Devils. He’s cunningly good on the perimeter and a tough competitor.

Rihards Kuksiks
The Latvian couldn’t miss against UA in the last meeting – even from beyond the 3-point line. UA’s zone will be tested again. He’s an underrated player in the league, but the Cats know they must contain him.

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