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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Lineup may be varied

    UA forward Jordan Hill goes up for a shot against Oregon guard Bryce Taylor during the Wildcats 84-74 loss Jan. 5 in McKale Center. Hill will come up big tonight when Arizona plays at Stanford and its twin powers Brook and Robin Lopez.
    UA forward Jordan Hill goes up for a shot against Oregon guard Bryce Taylor during the Wildcats’ 84-74 loss Jan. 5 in McKale Center. Hill will come up big tonight when Arizona plays at Stanford and its twin powers Brook and Robin Lopez.

    As seen in nearly the entire season up to this point, UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill is predicted to play roster roulette with the Arizona men’s basketball team when it faces Stanford in Maples Pavilion tonight at 9.

    Going up against a team with seven players 6-foot-8 or taller – including 7-foot twins Robin and Brook Lopez – coupled with the fact that the Wildcats (11-5, 1-2 Pacific 10 Conference) are not the healthiest bunch right now, O’Neill has to decide whether he wants to play a big or small lineup against the Cardinal (13-3, 2-2).

    “”If we decide to go small, then we’re kind of telling them they have to match up with us,”” O’Neill said. “”And we’re saying that we know they can hurt us on the boards, but we can hurt them other ways.

    “”At some point during every game, we’re going to be playing small,”” he added. “”It’s whether we start that way or not.””

    Whether O’Neill goes big or small, 6-foot-10 forward Jordan Hill is part of the equation.

    Even after rolling his ankle at Houston on Saturday and sitting out of practice Monday and Tuesday, Arizona’s main big man, Hill, said he will play, adding 14.4 points and 8.1 rebounds.

    “”The Hill kid is as improved as anyone in our country, let alone our conference,”” said Stanford head coach Trent Johnson. “”He’s quick to the ball and he’s very active. He’s shooting the mid-range jumper very well and he turns his shoulder very well.””

    The status of 6-foot-7 forward Bret Brielmaier

    It’s very important for all of us to be healthy because we’re not like past U of A teams that has had eight or nine guys that can jump right to the NBA.-Jawann McClellan, guard

    was not as clear earlier in the week, as he was still sore from re-injuring a separated shoulder.

    O’Neill said that 6-foot-11 center Kirk Walters, who averages 10.1 minutes over seven games this season, will play this week, but he is not sure how much.

    Six-foot-6 forwards Jamelle Horne and Fendi Onobun are also expected to help the Wildcats size up.

    “”For him to give us 17 minutes of his effort (in Houston) I thought was significant,”” O’Neill said of Onobun. “”Hopefully he’ll be able to continue that because we’re going to need his body.””

    But O’Neill said exactly how much time players will get and who will actually play is based on the health of the team when it comes time for tipoff.

    “”The funny thing is that I might be the healthiest one and that’s never been said,”” said guard Jawann McClellan, who did not play in Arizona’s last game against Stanford after injuring his left shoulder in practice – the only game he missed all of last season. “”It’s very important for all of us to be healthy because we’re not like past U of A teams that has had eight or nine guys that can jump right to the NBA.””

    And not even McClellan is at full health, having dealt with shoulder issues all season.

    “”Having to guard and (moving) around a lot and coming through screens a lot, I just bump my shoulders,”” he said. “”It pops out of its socket sometimes.””

    After winning their last nonconference game of the season Saturday, the Wildcats have nothing but Pac-10 teams on the menu for the rest of the regular season.

    “”We have to start getting wins in conference now,”” McClellan said. “”We have to get these two games this week.””


    BREAKDOWN

    Tale of the Tape:
    Arizona at Stanford

    Guards
    Advantage: Arizona
    The Wildcats need Jerryd Bayless’ mid-range game to be on with not many opportunities likely to be available at the rim.

    Forwards/Center
    Advantage: Stanford
    Arizona has Jordan Hill. Stanford has Brook and Robin Lopez. Two is greater than one.

    Intangibles
    Advantage: Stanford
    Both teams have the talent to finish near the top of the conference standings, and they both could badly use a win with two losses already on their ledgers. The Maples Pavillion crowd could make the difference.

    Prediction
    Arizona figures to keep it close in what should be a grind-it-out affair, but a foul-prone Hill playing on a gimpy ankle won’t get enough help up front for the Wildcats to win their seventh in a row in this series.
    Stanford 67, Arizona 61

    – compiled by Michael Schwartz


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