Sports Perspective: Wildcat mid-season report - The Explorer: Columns

Sports Perspective: Wildcat mid-season report

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Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 4:00 am | Updated: 2:02 pm, Thu Jan 31, 2013.

Despite getting off to a 17-2 overall record and a top 10 ranking, the Arizona Wildcats are sitting in third place within the Pac-12. Behind Oregon and UCLA, both teams that beat the Wildcats, Arizona (5-2) continues to fight for the top spot in the conference.

With only 11 games remaining in the regular season, all of which are conference match-ups, the Wildcats must begin to focus in on their defense. In order for the Wildcats to be successful, it seems as if they have to limit their opponents to under 70 points. So far this season, they are 14-0 when the opposing team has not scored 70 points. When they have surpassed that number, Arizona is 3-2.

Although there may be additional flaws, it is essential that the Wildcats fix their defense first because through good defense, more scoring occurs. On average, the Wildcats’ score 1.096 points per possession which makes them the 12th most efficient offense in college basketball. With a few more defensive stops per game, Arizona may well be on its way to dominating the opposition. 

After the game against Arizona State University, freshman forward, Brandon Ashley admitted to the lack of defensive effort saying, “Honestly, I just focused on defense a lot more. Earlier in the season I was focused on how many points and rebounds I was getting, not necessarily whether I was stopping the person that I was guarding. Changing my perspective and focusing more on defense, that definitely helped me out a lot.”

The real question is how will Arizona improve its defense? 

Wildcats head coach Sean Miller has been working on improving the defense by sticking the freshman, Ashley, on talented senior forwards Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom. By guarding them, he has been forced to become quicker and more versatile allowing him to defend both a perimeter forward and a low-post savvy forward. 

As a result, Miller will have a team that is much more versatile and better prepared to play any team in the country. 

On the other side of the court, the Wildcats are clearly a team all about possession and getting the best shot, rather than just the first open shot. Due to their slower tempo of play, the Wildcats will have to rely more on their veterans for offense. Players like Hill, Nick Johnson and Mark Lyons have proven all season that they can step up offensively in big games as they lead all scorers on the team.

In the end, the key to success for the Wildcats lays in the hands of both the veterans and the freshman. When it comes to attacking the hoop at critical times, the ball should stay with the players who have done it before. On defense, the big freshman forwards must step up and get stops in order for Arizona to be successful.

When it comes down to it, the Wildcats have all the necessary pieces in order to be a great team. However, the only way they will achieve their ultimate goal is by understanding and executing their specific roles. If that is accomplished, the WildCats will be a scary match-up for any team they face in future.

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 30

Boys Golf (3 p.m.)

Mountain View at Haven Golf Course

Ironwood Ridge, Buena, Catalina at Rincon (Dell Urich)

Girls Volleyball (4, 5, 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at CDO

Maricopa at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Vista Grande

Poston Butte at Catalina Foothills

San Miguel at Pusch Ridge

Freshman Football (6 p.m.)

Maricopa at Marana

Wednesday, October 1

Girls Golf (3 p.m.)

Mountain View vs. Ironwood Ridge (Omnu Tucson National)

CDO, Sunnyside at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Sabino at Catalina Foothills

Cross Country (4:30 p.m.)

Ironwood Ridge, Sahuarita at Flowing Wells (Columbus Park)

Marana, St. Gregory at Catalina Foothills

Girls Volleyball (4, 5, 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

CDO at Ironwood Ridge

Freshman Football (6 p.m.)

Mountain View at Salpointe

Catalina Foothills at CDO

JV Football (6.p.m.)

Marana at Maricopa

Salpointe at Mountain View

CDO at Catalina Foothills

Thursday, October 2

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Mountain View, St. Gregory’s, Pusch Ridge at Marana

Girls Volleyball (4, 5, 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Poston Butte

Catalina Foothills at Flowing Wells

Pusch Ridge at Willcox

Varsity Football (7p.m.)

Maricopa at Marana

Mountain View at Salpointe

Catalina Foothills @ CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Rincon

Friday, October 3

Boys Golf (all day)

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Santa Rita/Flowing Wells Invitational

Girls Vollyeball (all day)

CDO, Catalina Foothills at Falcon Invitational

Cross Country

Catalina Foothills, CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Desert Twilight Festival

Varsity Footbal (7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at San Tan Valley

Saturday, October 4

Boys Golf (all day)

CDO at Santa Rita/Flowing Wells Invitational

Swimming (all day)

Catalina Foothills, CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Brophy/Xavier Swim Invitational

Girls Volleyball (4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Desert Christian

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