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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


No. 11 Arizona MBB aims for redemption against Stanford

Mason Kumet
Players from both Arizona and Wisconsin help their teammates up after a messy foul by Wisconsin in McKale Center on Dec. 9. Both teams finished the game with an equal 34 fouls a piece.

The No. 11 Arizona men’s basketball team seeks redemption against Stanford University on Sunday, Feb. 4, at 6 p.m. in McKale Center. The Wildcats (16-5, 7-3 Pac-12) are coming off a dominant 91-65 victory against the University of California, Berkeley, and heading into this matchup they aim to maintain their undefeated home record when they face the Cardinal on Sunday.

History vs. Stanford

Sunday night marks the 105th matchup between the two programs. Arizona currently holds a 70-34 lead in the series and a home record of 38-9. These two teams first faced one another on Dec. 20, 1938, in Tucson, Arizona. Stanford emerged victorious, beating the Wildcats 44-28, setting the stage for their long-standing rivalry. After losing their first five matches against the Cardinal, Arizona has turned the tables and established dominance over Stanford. The Wildcats are 30-14 since 2000, including 20 straight wins between 2009 and 2020. However, the Cardinal has had the Wildcat’s number over the last year, boasting a record of 2-1, including a 100-81 win on Dec. 31 earlier this season.

Stanford players to watch

Jerod Haase, now in his eighth season as the head coach for Stanford, commands a record of 122-118. Despite his efforts, Haase has not yet guided the Cardinal to the NCAA Tournament in his initial seven seasons.

The 2023-24 season has been a rollercoaster ride for Stanford. Despite having a current record of 11-9 (6-4 in Pac-12), the Cardinal finds themselves still in the running for the top spot in the conference, trailing the Wildcats by just one game. The Cardinals’ performance this season has been marked by inconsistency, unable to win more than two consecutive games before facing a defeat. However, Stanford has secured notable victories over some conference favorites, including Arizona, the University of Utah and UCLA.

Kanaan Carlyle:

The freshman guard has been the centerpiece of the Cardinal offense since making his season debut against the University of Idaho on Dec.17. Carlyle is averaging a team-high 14.3 points per game and 2.6 assists per game. In December, Carlyle played a crucial role in Stanford’s stunning upset over the Wildcats, achieving a career-high 28 points while going 6-8 from behind the arc. He continued to impress in January, surpassing his earlier career-high with a 31-point performance against Washington State University on Jan. 18. However, despite Carlyle’s success, Stanford faced an 89-75 loss.

Spencer Jones:

The fifth-year senior saw a minor decrease in production compared to last season. Ranking fourth in scoring, Jones averages 11.5 points and four rebounds per game. Well-known for his defensive prowess, he leads the team with 1.1 steals per game, recording at least one steal in each of Stanford’s last six games. Over his last five games against Arizona, Jones has been a Wildcat killer, averaging 22.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. In December, Jones scored 21 points and grabbed four rebounds during Stanford’s upset win against the Wildcats.

Maxime Reynolds:

Reynolds ranks second in scoring, averaging 13.9 points per game while hauling in a team-high 10.3 rebounds. Reynolds has battled some inconsistency throughout the season, scoring 20 or more points four times, but has also failed to reach double figures in scoring five times. Reynolds, who stands over seven feet tall, has performed exceptionally well in Stanford’s last six matchups, averaging 14 points and 11 rebounds per game.

Wildcats to watch

The Wildcats’ robust offense is one of the strongest in college basketball, with an average of 89.3 points per game, ranking them second in the country. According to Kenpom, Arizona’s offense ranks sixth in adjusted offensive efficiency, while its defense ranks 11th.

Caleb Love:

The former University of North Carolina Tar Heel has been on a tear, averaging a team-high 19 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, both of which are career highs. Over the final six games of the month of January, Love averaged 24 points, 3.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game, recording a career-high 36 points in a win against the University of Oregon on Jan. 27. Since conference play began, Love has been the only consistent Wildcat, providing high production. Love leads the team with an average of 22.8 ppg in conference play prior to this weekend, which is nearly ten more than Arizona’s second-leading scorer, Pelle Larsson, who is averaging 13 ppg.

Pelle Larsson:

The senior is averaging 12.7 points and 3.4 assists per game, both of which are career highs. Additionally, Larsson is shooting a career-high 52.4% from the field. During the last six games of January, Larsson faced challenges related to ball security and foul trouble. The senior struggled with an average of 2.8 turnovers and three fouls per game. In two games, he collected four fouls and four turnovers, impacting his overall performance. During the Wildcats’ last matchup against the Cardinal, Larsson struggled to get his shots to fall. The senior went 2-8 from the field, scoring only six points.

Oumar Ballo:

The senior has seen a drop in production compared to last season, averaging 12.7 points and a team-high 9.1 rebounds per game. The month of January was full of inconsistencies for Arizona’s big man. Ballo averaged a respectable 10.5 points and 10.4 rebounds per game but failed to reach double figures three times over the span of seven games. However, his main struggles have come from the free-throw line, as he is shooting a career-worst 47.1% from the charity stripe. During Arizona’s win over Cal, Ballo scored a team-high 22 points while hauling in 13 rebounds.

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