May 24, 2024


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What to check out for when Arizona travels to Tempe to facial area ASU on Thursday

Arizona head mentor Sean Miller had his weekly press convention on Wednesday, Jan. 20, previewing tonight’s rivalry matchup versus Arizona Condition at 7 p.m. MST. 

Anything went by the reserve other than when Miller dropped an harm update about freshman guard Kerr Kriisa. Miller mentioned Kriisa also experienced a concussion though breaking his nose in apply last week, and his initial scheduled return for Feb. 6 is in issue now, and there is no timetable for his Arizona debut. 

Kriisa was a really rated 4-star prospect in this year’s recruiting class and is meant to add loads far more shooting and playmaking. 

“I wish we ended up a much better defensive team,” Miller said. “Our protection is not the place we want it to be.” 

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That was Miller’s response when requested about his team’s protection and the minimal improvement they’ve proven on that stop. He is incredibly plainly not content with the defensive efficiency his workforce has demonstrated this calendar year, as Miller has often experienced fairly gritty teams. This is new for him, and it appears to be to be having him alive. 

Miller definitely has excellent motive to be upset as the Wildcats could not stop a plastic bag in a breeze in its losses to UCLA and USC previously in the 12 months. Arizona can’t take part in the postseason this calendar year, but when they return a lot of this squad subsequent yr, they are heading to be envisioned to be a lot-enhanced and make a deep postseason operate. In March, you just can’t make a deep run without the need of remaining equipped to count on and rely on your defense to get stops down the extend or to spark up a operate. 

Miller was also questioned about the level guard matchup between Remy Martin and James Akinjo. Right after going on a several minutes rave of Remy Martin, he finally bought back to the first concern of the matchup.

“It’s not James vs. him,” Miller reported. 

Miller does not want this to turn out to be a match of one particular-on-one with the other eight men playing cheerleader. This Arizona crew moves the ball a lot better than previous squads, and they are so effectively rounded and deep. It would be smart to get anyone included by preserving that ball pinging. 

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Akinjo can get a little dribble delighted and use up the shot clock seeking to uncover his possess shot. That kills the offense and ruins the strength of the crew whilst the other four guys stand and enjoy a person dribble. Arizona is at their best when Akinjo is in attack/playmaker mode, and he wants to bear in mind that in his initial rivalry matchup. 

What to watch for tonight

Rivalry game titles are usually different from normal season games, specially game titles on the road, followers or not. That becoming reported, Arizona should really not drop this match, and it shouldn’t be that close.

The Solar Devils are at an very disappointing 4-6 overall and 1-3 in the meeting. They’ve experienced their reasonable share of postponed online games like Arizona, but so has the total state. Miller has been irritated with his team’s protection all time, but this should be the defensive “get right” recreation. 

As lengthy as Arizona arrives out wide awake and plays really hard from start off to finish, they need to be capable to halt ASU head mentor Bobby Hurley’s straightforward “isolated, a single-on-one and get out of the way offense” that just doesn’t fly in school unless of course you have Christian Laettner on your workforce. 

Freshmen wings Dalen Terry and Bennedict Mathurin will have their fingers full with 5-star freshman Josh Christopher. Christopher is averaging 16.5 details, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists on an effective 46% from the industry. Christopher has been praised for his iso shot-developing all period but his off-ball motion has been criticized. 

Mathurin and Terry are actually rather great matchups for him as they are lengthy, speedy and athletic. As extensive as they continue to be in entrance of him and make existence tricky, he will give up the ball and start out to fade absent from the game on equally finishes. 

The backcourt matchup, as Miller talked about, won’t be straightforward seeking to quit Martin and Marcus Bagley from finding buckets. Their greatest wager may be to operate a pack line defense to contest all the slashes and drives to the rim. 

This could be a excellent game for Jordan Brown as extended as he’s playing bodily in the restricted area. The X-element for the Wildcats will be the outstanding freshman Azuolas Tubelis. Tubelis will be stretching the ground, building driving lanes for Akinjo, Mathurin and Terrell Brown and will give Jordan Brown an open up paint to function a single-on-a single in the put up. ASU does not have a fantastic matchup for Tubelis, a significant man that can variety out to address or a wing to toast Tubelis on the perimeter with a modest-ball lineup. 

This really should be a Miller “muscle flex” activity. Likely into the period, Arizona Condition was ranked. Arizona was not. ASU was picked in advance of Arizona in the Pac-12 polls. Think Miller seen that? You have to believe so, and Thursday night is a excellent time to demonstrate that. 

Previous year’s meltdown towards ASU experienced to have left a bad taste in Miller’s mouth. Most of this roster did not participate in that sport, and this team previously has demonstrated considerably additional heart and resilience than past calendar year.

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