No. 21 Arizona (18-4, 7-2) at Stanford (11-9, 4-5)by Javier Morales on Feb. 03, 2011, under Sports
A look at what to expect Thursday as Arizona looks to take care of Stanford while trying to keep pace with Washington in the Pac-10 (more info to come at our partner site, WILDABOUTAZCATS.COM):
Matchups (Tipoff 7 p.m., Tucson time)
What’s going right: Former Arizona recruiting target Anthony Brown is evolving into one of the best freshmen in the Pac-10. Brown is averaging 10.1 points in Pac-10 games with a respectable team-leading shooting percentage of 39.5 percent from three-point range (17 of 43).
What’s going wrong: Jeremy Green, a junior, is showing why he is more of a scorer than a shooter, by leading the Cardinal with 11.6 points a game in conference games while shooting only 31.7 percent from the field (33 of 104).
What’s going right: Lamont “MoMo” Jones is doing his best impression of Damon Stoudamire by not only scoring but also getting his teammates involved. No longer looking like a one-dimensional player who looks for his own shot, Jones earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors by scoring, distributing, rebounding, and producing steals against UCLA and USC. He averaged 17 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in those games. The sophomore made 70.6 percent of his field goals (12-of-17), including all three of his three-pointers, and he also recorded three steals.
What’s going wrong: How’s this for a stat — junior shooting guard Kyle Fogg has made 24 three-pointers, which equals Derrick Williams‘ total, but Fogg has attempted 42 more (76 attempts vs. 34).
Who has the edge? Jones returns to the site (Maples Pavilion) where he made a last-second, 15-foot bank shot last year to give Arizona a 71-69 victory. What can he do for an encore? Continue his promising overall play from last week. Because of Jones’ exploits, Fogg’s three rebounds and six assists against USC were overlooked. Jones, Fogg and the increasingly assertive wing Solomon Hill are more dangerous these days than Green, Brown and junior point guard Jarrett Mann.
What’s going right: Junior power forwardJosh Owens, who redshirted last year due to a medical condition, is averaging 11.6 points and leading the Cardinal in rebounding at 6.8 per game. He has tallied five double-doubles. His 18 steals and 18 blocks are also team-high marks. Owens is also shooting 58.2 percent from the field.
What’s going wrong: Freshman forward Dwight Powell has a tendency to get into foul trouble. He leads Stanford with 60 personal fouls in 20 games, an average of 3. Powell has fouled out only once while Owens has done so three times. But Powell’s foul problems have limited his effectiveness overall.
What’s going right: Another intriguing stat involving Williams — he leads the nation with 212 free-throw attempts, which is almost more than the rest of the UA’s starting lineup combined (219). Williams has converted 158 of those attempts while the rest of the starters have made 165.
What’s going wrong: Jesse Perry (16.9 minutes per game) starts but his staying power is not as strong as others in the rotation, such as Jamelle Horne (18.7) and Kevin Parrom (18.2).
Who has the edge?: Arizona. Owens provides a good matchup with Williams because he has identical size (6-8, 230), but Williams can beat a team with his versatility (taking Owens out of his comfort zone away from the hoop). This is also the second half of the Pac-10 season, which usually signals a JC transfer such as Perry gathers some steam while a freshman like Powell hits a wall.
What’s going right: Where the Cardinal can beat a team the most is its ability to throw an abundance of big frontcourt players into the mix. Junior post players Andrew Zimmerman (6-8, 230) and Jack Trotter (6-9, 230) and freshman center Stefan Nastic (6-11, 225) combine for 10.7 points and 10.6 rebounds a game.
What’s going wrong: Seven of Stanford’s listed reserves are freshmen, including point guard Aaron Bright, who has some starting experience. This team essentially is one to two years away from being very competitive under coach Johnny Dawkins.
What’s going right: Another mind-boggling stat: Parrom, the Cats’ top reserve, averages 18.3 minutes compared to Hill’s 23.4. Guess who has more field goals made? Parrom has converted 25 of 46 for an impressive 54.3 percent. Hill has made 23 of 47 (48.9 percent).
What’s going wrong: Kyryl Natyazhko and Alex Jacobson should experience playing time to combat the Cardinal’s frontcourt depth (and distribution of fouls). Natyzahko and Jacobson combine to average only 3.4 points and 4 rebounds a game, but Jacobson showed promise last week against the Los Angeles schools.
Who has the edge?: In terms of overall talent, Arizona. If the Pac-10 had a Sixth Man award, Parrom would be a significant challenger. Freshman point guard Jordin Mayes is also maturing nicely, posting 32 assists with 18 turnovers. Stanford’s interior depth is mostly size related. How that translates to offensive production is another story as the Cardinal is last in the Pac-10 with 59.8 points per game.
Dawkins can reach the postseason this year, most likely the NIT, with a significant push toward the NCAA next season with Owens and Green as seniors and Powell and Brown a year wiser and stronger. The problem is most of the league, including Arizona, should also be improved. To date, UA coach Sean Miller has more postseason success and has shown the ability to achieve immediate high-level success. It appears Dawkins is slowly but surely getting Stanford close to what it once was a decade ago. How long can the Cardinal faithful wait for that to happen? Advantage: Miller.
When it comes to coaching, depth and particular contributors on the perimeter (the surging Jones) and frontcourt (overbearing Williams), the Wildcats have what it takes to take care of business against Stanford. The game is in Palo Alto, however, and the Cardinal has shown the ability to force opponents into playing their slow-down, grind-it-out style of play. Jones has struggled in that type of game atmosphere this season. UCLA and USC allowed him to roam freely with a soft man-to-man containment with little or no help defense. This won’t be pretty, but when involved in a conference title race, winning ugly ain’t bad. Arizona 68, Stanford 63.
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