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 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

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

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

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

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

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

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)

Swimming

Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

 

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