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Citizen Staff Writer
The Bounce



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

The Bounce: Wildcats need a Horne of plenty


Advantage: Even

The Utes don’t mind going at a frantic pace but that might not work for Lawrence Borha & Co. Borha is the scorer in the three-guard lineup Utah uses, although the others (Luke Drea and Carlton Brown) can put the ball in the hoop when needed. UA’s Nic Wise will have to remain poised and come up with about three steals and have at least four 3-pointers. Kyle Fogg must have a good performance.


Advantage: Arizona

Much has been made of Utah’s 7-foot-2 Luke Nevill, the Mountain West’s player of the year. But UA’s Jordan Hill should get a double-double. Hill needs help from frontcourt mate Chase Budinger. This team has lived and died on Budinger’s play. He must step up again.


Advantage: Utah

Utah’s defense – at least in the numbers – is better than Arizona’s. But we all know it’s not about the numbers. If UA can get after it on the perimeter, extending its zone to make it tough on the shooters, the Wildcats should be able to win. That said, Arizona won’t have it easy getting shots. And sometimes the Cats can have open shots and still miss them.


Don’t get fooled by all the numbers. There are intangibles that UA has that Utah doesn’t. Athletic ability does count. And Utah doesn’t have the players the quality of Budinger, Wise and Hill – eventually those three will take their toll.

Prediction: Arizona by 7


Wildcats need a Horne of plenty

MIAMI – It’s hard to figure out Arizona sophomore Jamelle Horne.

You just never know what you’re going to get from Horne, a talented but sometimes lackadaisical player.

When asked if he was the X-factor for UA heading into its first-round game against Utah on Friday, he just smiled and said, “I’ll take what I can get.”

What Arizona has gotten is a player who has been an off-and-on starter.

Horne is averaging 6.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.

“I’m here to help anyway possible,” he said. “We need to get this thing going.”

He does feel this year is far different than last season, when UA limped into the tournament having lost four of six games.

It lost in the first round to West Virginia 75-65.

This year, UA is 1-5 in the last six, yet Horne feels a different vibe.

“Everyone is feeling great,” he said. “You can see the team morale is really good. Everyone is really loose. Last year everyone was tight. It’s a huge difference and you guys will see that (Friday).”

If UA shows it, Utah could be in trouble. Horne said when UA is on, it’s tough to handle.

“When everybody comes to play we can definitely come out and put on a great show,” he said. “Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen every single game.”


No. 12 Arizona (19-13) vs. No. 5 Utah (24-9)

When: 4:10 p.m. Friday

Where: Miami TV: CBS

Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5 FM



9:25 a.m.: Tennessee vs. Oklahoma State

11:35 a.m.: Temple vs. Arizona State

6:45 p.m.: Wisconsin vs. Florida State

How teams match up

Arizona Utah

72.2 Points per game 71.2

47.5 Field goal % 47.6

68.4 Points allowed per game 64.0

43.6 Foes’ field goal % 40.1

Key number


Percentage of No. 12 seeds that have beaten No. 5 seeds in the NCAA first round since 1985 – a 31-65 record. Sixteen have advanced to the Sweet 16.

Nic Wise
If the point guard is hitting shots, UA can beat just about anyone. But when he plays out of control, the Cats suffer. He’s calmed down a bit, but he needs to play with control vs. Utah.

Jamelle Horne
He’s the Harry Houdini of UA – one minute you see him, the next you don’t. UA needs him to show up in the NCAAs, with at least six rebounds and seven points, to help Chase Budinger.

Shaun Green
He’s Utah’s team leader on a squad that truly likes to play together. Named the Mountain West’s best sixth man, he hits 3-pointers at a 40.3 percent clip and averages 29 minutes.

Lawrence Borha
The senior guard hit a clutch 3-pointer against TCU in the MWC quarterfinals to help the Utes win 61-58. He’s probably the team’s best defender and could have duties on Budinger.

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