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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona MBB preview vs Stanford and Cal

Nathanial Stenchever

The Arizona men’s basketball team bench celebrates after a massive three-point shot from Justin Kier on Saturday, Jan. 15 in McKale Center. The Wildcats went on to win the game 82-64.

January 20th at Stanford 

Tonight, the Wildcats, now ranked 3rd in the AP poll, will travel to Stanford for the first game of a three-game road trip versus the Pac-12 California schools. The Cardinal team has been playing well of late, winning 4 out of 5 games, despite dropping their last game versus Washington. 

Stanford has been somewhat a surprise this season as the departures of Zaire Williams, and Oscar da Silva left head coach Jerod Haase with some question marks going into this past summer. Despite not having a complete “re-build,” coach Haase knows his team can compete with anyone in the conference after picking up a surprise victory against the USC Trojans just last week. 

Highlighted by five-star freshman Harrison Ingram and Jaiden Delaire, they come into this contest sitting at 3-2 in the conference. From a matchup standpoint, I don’t anticipate Stanford to give any trouble to the Wildcats. However, Stanford will likely try to slow the pace of this game down and keep it in the halfcourt. 

Stanford ranks in the bottom third of the NCAA in possessions per game. Therefore, look for Arizona’s head coach Tommy Lloyd to try and push the pace right out of the gates to set the tone early. If Stanford can keep the game within the halfcourt, it will be interesting to see how Arizona responds. Arizona hopes to get their assist leader in Kerr Kriisa back, who missed the team’s last game due to a non-Covid illness. 

Tonight’s game will be broadcasted on ESPNU and will start at 9:00 P.M. MT. 

January 23rd at Cal 

Following Arizona’s matchup at Stanford, the team will travel south to Berkeley and hit the hardwood with Cal. Coming into this matchup, Cal has dropped four straight games, with almost a whole week to prepare for Arizona. 

This season has not been bright as Cal sits at the bottom of the Pac-12 as they have a 2-5 record in conference play. Despite the sluggish overall performance, they have seen promise in senior guard Jordan Shepherd who transferred in from the University of Charlotte last season.

 The typical starting lineup of Cal consists of four upperclassmen, so there is experience within this group. As seen on paper, Arizona is by far the more talented team. 

However, this can be seen as a trap game, where everyone in the program is focused on UCLA as they square off in Westwood just five days after playing Cal. It is crucial that Arizona stays the course throughout this road trip and takes each opponent game by game, as these types of scenarios will only prepare them for the Pac-12 tournament and likely the NCAA tournament come March.

Tip-off is set for 1:00 P.M. MT on Sunday afternoon in Berkeley, California. 

Follow Aidan Alperstein on Twitter


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