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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Game breakdown

The Beavers win if …

The usual zone defense can keep Arizona’s sputtering offense in the dark. While the No. 18 Wildcats did rack up 75 points in their one-point loss to OSU in January, it came with 19 turnovers — five from Beaver guard Jared Cunningham — that helped the team from Corvallis, Ore., to keep pace.

With the big men standing close to the high block, the Beavers can limit UA forward Derrick Williams’ touches and use Cunningham running along the baseline to strip him or other Wildcat penetrators who break the zone.

On the offensive end, OSU can use an extremely athletic backcourt to get easy baskets or kick out to open shooters.

The Wildcats will win if …

Simply, they get back to the basics on the defensive end. Help defense only goes so far in stopping opponents with a man-to-man defense, and Arizona will need to play with more individual accountability. If they can revert back to the defense exemplified in the month of January, the Wildcats will be in good enough shape to beat a Beaver squad without much of an offensive punch.

And facing mediocre Pacific 10 Conference teams in Oregon, Stanford and California in its past three games, Oregon State allowed more than 80 points per game, meaning the Wildcats can use this as a cure to their recent offensive woes as well.

Key players

Joe Burton, Oregon State

The 6-foot-7, 280 pound center comes off the bench, but against a small Arizona frontline, he has another opportunity to lead the Beavers past Arizona. In the Jan. 2 game in Corvallis, Burton scored 16 points in a team-high 33 minutes. His largest basket came with 28 seconds to play and gave OSU the go-ahead hoop for the 76-75 victory.

He is also a threat to put Wildcats in foul trouble. Four of Arizona’s forwards, including Williams, recorded at least three fouls against Burton and the Beavers the last time out.

Kyryl Natyazhko, Arizona

OK, so maybe this is a stretch, but it’s obvious the Wildcats will need Williams, possible starter Kevin Parrom and Co. to rebound with strong individual games. But having Natyazhko carry over his strong interior defense from last weekend would be ideal.

That’d negate all of Arizona’s problems, which include stopping penetration of OSU’s guards, keeping Burton from having a big game, and most importantly, helping Williams on defense enough to keep him out of foul trouble.

— Kevin Zimmerman

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