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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona basketball ready to roll with two home exhibitions this week

Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildca
Arizona guard Kobi Simmons (2) soars up to the basket in the slam dunk contest during the slam dunk contest before the red and blue scrimmage at McKale Center on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016.

The Arizona basketball season begins on Nov. 11, but the Wildcats will host two exhibition matchups this week. They face the College of Idaho Coyotes on Tuesday night and the Cal State Chico Wildcats on Sunday afternoon.

The Coyotes have already opened their season and officially stand at 1-1. The matchup with Arizona will not count toward the official record of either team.

Coming from the NAIA, the Coyotes have already competed in a pre-season tournament and lost in the final round. After a 17-13 season last year, the College of Idaho failed to win a game in its conference tournament.

The Wildcats of Cal State Chico are coming off a 22-7 season that saw them fall in the first round of the Division II NCAA Championship Tournament. They have two exhibitions scheduled before heading to Tucson to face Arizona.

Head coach Sean Miller said in his Monday press conference that his rotation in Tuesday night’s game will reflect what the rotation would be if the game officially counted.

Miller raved about the improvement of numerous players heading in to the exhibition games, and it is safe to assume that he will employ a number of different lineups in the two exhibitions this week.

Miller commented on the improvement of junior center Dusan Ristic, who he named the best player in practice over the last two weeks, and continued to rave about the versatility of this year’s team. He called sophomore center Chance Comanche’s improvement a “night and day difference” and hinted Comanche will see time at the power forward position along with his traditional role as a center.

Miller compared freshman guard Kobi Simmons to former Wildcat stand-out Nick Johnson, and transfer Keanu Pinder garnered high praise as well. Freshman Rawle Alkins earned the day’s highest praise.

“Rawle Alkins is better than I thought he would be,” Miller said at the Monday presser. “I can’t believe how coachable he is.”

The biggest question on the minds of all Tucsonans is star sophomore Allonzo Trier’s status. Miller and the athletics program have been mum on his status since Oct. 14, after the Red-Blue Game. Miller would not comment on Trier’s status for Tuesday’s exhibition.

Many will read into Trier’s playing time (or lack thereof) against the College of Idaho, but proceed with caution. There are only rumors out there, and nothing concrete. Regardless of Tuesday, his status will be known for certain when Arizona faces Michigan State in Honolulu next week.

Arizona tips off with College of Idaho Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and Cal State Chico on Sunday at 4 p.m. Both exhibitions will be televised on Pac-12 Networks.

Follow Christopher Deak on Twitter.

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