It's yet another tough conference game with the Arizona Wildcats bringing their blue-chip talent into town. (14-8, 5-4 conference)
An Elite 8 team last year, many pundits picked Zona as the preseason Pac-12 favorite on the strength of Sean Miller's coaching and one of the best recruiting classes in Arizona history.
As is often the case with teams relying on young talent, the Wildcats have consistent in their inconsistency and are a much tougher out when playing at home. Fortunately for us, we get to tip this one off at Haas Pavilion in the midst of a Gold Out. (Hint: Wear a gold shirt.)
Let's hope that having one less day of rest won't be a factor. Unlike Monty who has typically played a short rotation this year, Coach Miller likes to go ten deep.
Even without the do-everything Derrick Williams, Arizona is a very dangerous and highly talented team.
After the jump, let's look at personnel and matchups:
G Josiah Turner(Fr), 6'3, 192 lbs, 7.3 ppg, 2.1 apg
G Nick Johnson(Fr), 6'2, 198 lbs, 9 ppg, 2.9 rpg
G Kyle Fogg(Sr), 6'3, 188 lbs, 12 ppg, 2.7 rpg
F Jesse Perry(Sr), 6'7, 217 lbs, 11.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg
F Solomon Hill(Jr), 6'6 226 lbs, 12.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.7 rpg
Although pencilled-in as the freshman of the year, PG Josiah Turner has been more mercurial than quicksilver. He has been in and out of the starting lineup and was also suspended for a violation of team rules. Fellow frosh blue-chipper Nick Johnson has been more consistent and is known as both a high-flyer and an excellent shooter. Kyle Fogg isn't the same type of explosive athlete, but he's a steady and savvy player. Jesse Perry is one of those under-sized yet annoyingly high-energy post players. Solomon Hill has been their best all-around player, leading them in scoring, rebounding, and assists.
Off the bench, Mayes has been up and down as their sometime starter at point. Lavender is their designated 3-point specialist. Chol provides some extra size and rebounding.
If not for inconsistent guard play, this is a tough group. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, their glue-guy, Kevin Parrom, is out for the year with a broken leg.
1) Defense, Bears. Defense!
Zona has a ton of streaky athletes who can shoot themselves into and out of a game. We'll need to be consistent with our man defense and not give them anything easy.
2) Avoid Foul Trouble
As we've seen all year, it's a different Cal team whenever any of our starters have to sit for any length of time. We should be able to out-play the Wildcats, but not with our big guns sitting on the bench.
Tip-off: 8pm (PST)
TV: Fox Sports Net/Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
Online: Post below