Well … the TucsonCitizen.com site was down for about four hours, so the rest of the game blog never happened, although the game did. I’ll have posts on Washington’s 69-67 victory later on the site.
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Here we go … A little shoving after Kevin Parrom gets fouled hard by Austin Seferian-Jenkins while driving to the rim. Seferian-Jenkins is a studly football tight end for the Huskies who joined the hoops team recently and is helping on the glass. Imagine if Rob Gronkowski had played football for the Cats.
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A fast-paced start to the game, with Washington having the better of it, leading 14-7 with 15:04 to go in the first half. If turnovers was one of the keys — and it was, of course — than Arizona is flunking the early test, having committed four. Too careless; perhaps a little too amped up.
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The students in the Zona Zoo section in the lower bowl of McKale Center wore red T-shirts in the pregame, a stark contrast to the rest of arena. While the lights dimmed and an intro video played on the scoreboard, the students switched to white T-shirts to complete the effect.
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The pregame video at McKale showed highlights of last year’s White Out win over Washington. The place went nuts. Loudest I’ve heard it (at least in a long, long time) in the pregame.
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One of the most anticipated games of the season has arrived. The Zona Zoo student section, about 90 minutes before tip-off, was nearly full. ESPN GameDay — after telecasting two hours from McKale Center this morning — is in the house for more pre-game coverage.
It’s Arizona-Washington — the White Out at McKale.
This will be our spot for in-game updates and analysis, and here are a few things to watch as we get warmed-up:
1. Washington’s Tony Wroten
He was one of the most touted incoming Pac-12 recruits — Arizona’s Josiah Turner was right there, too, although Wroten has gotten the better of it. Wroten can freelance along the perimeter and finish with a flourish at the rim. He is averaging 17.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists.
ESPN’s Jay Bilas talked about Wroten when he met with the local media Friday.
“Last year in high school, I thought he was the best passer,” Bilas said.
“He can get to the bucket any time he wants. Really good with the ball. Terrific athlete. Long. He’s got a lot of ability. He’s a tremendous passes, but I think a lot of times the easy play is what he needs to make more often. He can hit the home run. Can he hit a double? Can he hit a single?”
Don’t worry about Wroten from beyond the arc, but he relentlessly gets inside and attacks. Sounds like a defensive job for Kyle Fogg.
Washington is very good in this area because it attacks the glass on both ends of the court and has its usual athleticism and length. Junior 7-footer Aziz N’Diaye leads the way with an average of 8.1 rebounds per game, but this is usually a team effort.
Arizona’s Kevin Parrom becomes even more important than he usually is because UA needs his size to help with the short frontcourt of Jesse Perry and Solomon Hill.
The combination of ESPN GameDay being here for a nationally televised game, the White Out and an opponent that wants to run with the Cats will make this game electric. The White Out last season was visually stunning, and this should be no different.
“The White Out last year was the single biggest homecourt advantage I have ever experienced,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said.
It’s hard to quantify, but he says Arizona’s homecourt edge is worth at least a few points. Today, that could be more.
Washington is more talented, but gotta go with the home team — which is coming off a confidence-building performance vs. Washington State — to turn in an inspired effort. The home team has won nine in a row in the series, so that seems to count for something.
I wouldn’t expect Arizona to drain 15 3-pointers like it did vs. WSU, but the Cats will hit just enough to complement its defense … winning 72-70.
And this is always worth another look: