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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


The Pac-12 Tournament is all about redemption for Arizona

Griffin Riley
Arizona freshman Nico Mannion dribbles past the Gonzaga defense during the first half of the Arizona- Gonzaga game.

Revenge. Even though head coach Sean Miller and the rest of the Arizona men’s basketball team treat every game the same and don’t think about revenge, it’s hard not to with the bracket set up the way it is. 

The opening game has Arizona facing off against the University of Washington team it lost to only four days ago. Should the Wildcats win that game they would then face USC, another team that beat them. If Arizona keeps winning, it could set up potential games against Oregon in the quarterfinals and maybe UCLA or ASU. Arizona is 3-7 against those teams, but every game was competitive and close.

We won’t look ahead though because Arizona did just lose to Washington a couple nights ago. and they very well could again. Both games in Seattle and Tucson were very competitive, besides the first half of the game in Tucson.

“Quick turnaround and playing the same team that we prepared for and just finished playing, that’s also much different,” Miller said. “The fact the game is on Wednesday instead of Thursday is a unique situation for really both teams.”

The Huskies held Arizona to only five made field goals in that first half in Tucson, and Arizona was staring at a 15-point halftime deficit. The second half was a 180 degree flip, but Arizona couldn’t quite do enough to come out victorious.

The good news for Arizona fans is that Miller seemed to figure out who needs to guard Washington’s Isaiah Stewart. Christian Koloko caused many problem for Stewart when he was in, and while there’s been no mention of a starting lineup change, expect Koloko to come in early if Zeke Nnaji and Stone Gettings struggle with Stewart.

The Wildcats are also going to need their 3-point shooting to show up with the kind of zone defense that Washington plays. Max Hazzard’s status is still unchanged and there has been no word about if he’ll play or not. Dylan Smith will play but will have a mask on after taking brutal elbow from Stewart in Saturday’s contest. Last time out, Smith was the leading scorer for Arizona with 19 points on 6-10 shooting from three. 

“[Smith’s] doing well, I’ll put him in the same category as [Gettings],” Miller said. “There’s not a lot of athletes in any sport that can overcome a concussion, a facial fracture like tone had. And [Smith], he broke his nose, took a hard shot and played a great second half. Hasn’t missed anything, hasn’t missed practice. And I’m sure he’s really, really sore, but we expect him to play.”

If Arizona hopes to go on a run at some point during the Pac-12 tournament and the NCAA tournament, it’s going to need contributions from everyone, particularly Gettings and Jemarl Baker. 

Since the UCLA game on Feb. 8, Baker has gone 3-17 from three. Gettings hasn’t made a three since the Oregon game on Feb. 22 and hasn’t made consecutive shots from long distance since the Washington State game on Feb. 1. 

They need to step up for Arizona to have any chance, not just to win the game against Washington but if they want to make a deep run in the Pac-12 tournament and get them a better seed for the NCAA tournament.

Arizona vs. Washington round three takes place today at 2:30 p.m. in Las Vegas, Nev. at the T-Mobile Arena.

Follow Jack Cooper on Twitter.

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