Arizona’s first week of motion was profitable, with a pair of lopsided, high-scoring matchups in opposition to aggressive however overmatched opponents. Just one sport is on the docket this week, with the 14th-ranked Wildcats internet hosting Utah Tech on Thursday evening of their ultimate warmup earlier than heading to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational.
Right here’s what to look at for when the UA takes on the college previously often known as Dixie State:
Know (and worry) your opponent
Utah Tech (1-2) is rated No. 262 by KenPom.com, 16 spots decrease than UA’s opening opponent Nicholls and 10 locations behind final foe Southern. However these rankings are closely impacted by preseason projections, as is Arizona sitting at No. 12.
A number of main upsets have already occurred within the first 10 days of the 2022-23 season, with KenPom’s tracker itemizing 11 contests by which the winner entered with lower than a ten p.c probability of victory. Three of these have concerned Pac-12 faculties, with USC shedding its opener by 13 to Florida Gulf Value whereas on Friday Oregon fell at house to UC-Irvine and Colorado misplaced at Grambling.
“In respect of all coaches, it’s laborious to win,” UA coach Tommy Lloyd mentioned. “It doesn’t matter what stage you’re at, or what program you’re teaching, it is best to by no means take that with no consideration.”
Colorado’s sport was a part of the Pac-12’s legacy collection with the SWAC, which resulted in a 3-3 tie this yr because of the Buffaloes, ASU (at Texas Southern) and Washington State (at Prairie View A&M). Arizona’s 95-78 win over Southern was additionally a part of that bundle, with the Wildcats heading to New Orleans for a return sport in opposition to the Tigers subsequent November.
Lloyd mentioned he understands if the Pac-12 faculties that have been made to play highway video games in opposition to low-major groups are upset about having to take action, however so be it.
“For all intents and functions, the best of the house at house with the SWAC scores is nice,” he mentioned. “Sooner or later, they deserve a chance. However in case you’re a faculty in our convention, we should be successful these video games. I imply, that’s the underside line, and I do know it’s simpler mentioned than achieved, however it is advisable exit and also you want win some laborious video games. These faculties in all probability really feel like they weren’t put in an advantageous state of affairs, however on the finish of the day, you continue to gotta get the outcome.
“Hey, we acquired to play at Southern subsequent yr, and we acquired to go down there and we acquired to do the most effective job we are able to to in all probability win a troublesome sport. I used to be lucky to have a house sport this yr in that deal. However subsequent yr the shoe’s on the opposite foot, so we gotta go reply to the bell, reply the bell.”
The Pac-12 continues to rank sixth amongst all conferences, per KenPom.
In regards to the Trailblazers
Utah Tech, which formally modified its title from Dixie State in July, is in its third season of Division I basketball. The Trailblazers have been a junior school as not too long ago as 2006 earlier than transferring to Division II.
Picked to complete second-to-last within the 13-team Western Athletic Convention, Utah Tech has misplaced video games at Nevada and Washington and has a house win over Cal State Northridge. It led by six within the first half at Nevada and was up 36-34 on the half in Seattle on Monday.
“They’re undoubtedly going to current challenges,” Lloyd mentioned. “I watched components of their Washington sport and so they have been really in command of that sport for lengthy stretches, after which form of within the second half it form of acquired away from them.”
Utah Tech coach Jon Judkins is the winningest school coach in state historical past, having compiled 591 victories at Tech/Dixie (2005-present) in addition to Snow School (1992-05).
“He is aware of what he’s doing,” Lloyd mentioned of Judkins. “I’ve acquired to look at them play a little bit bit this season and so they have a plan. They’re well-organized. Possibly they’re a little bit extra structured than the final two groups we performed, however perhaps not fairly as frenzied and athletic.”
The main scorer is 6-foot-10 ahead Tanner Christensen, a switch from Idaho who’s averaging 14 factors and seven.7 rebounds on 55.2 p.c capturing. He had 26 on Monday in opposition to Washington and is a recognized entity by Lloyd, who mentioned his son Liam performed in opposition to Christensen in highschool in Spokane, Wash.
Enhancements from the lab
Arizona can have had 5 days off since its final sport, a fairly lengthy break at any level within the season. That point off allowed Lloyd and his employees to overview movie from the primary two contests and see the place issues should be adjusted.
Lloyd mentioned the previous few days have been as a lot about engaged on his personal group than particularly planning for Utah Tech.
“You’re getting video games beneath your belt, you’re getting reside reps,” he mentioned. :Clearly, issues are displaying up that we have to work on and there’s different issues that we have to add to the bundle and be ready to play a tough 3-day match in Maui. You’re simply making an attempt to get your group ready for that kind of stuff.”
One participant who might have probably the most room for enchancment is wing Cedric Henderson Jr. The Campbell switch, who has began on the 2 rather than suspended guard Courtney Ramey, is averaging 4 factors, 3 rebounds and an help and capturing a team-low 33.3 p.c.
“I’m studying, that’s the easiest way I can say it,” Henderson mentioned of his first week of motion with Arizona. “It’s been a giant distinction for me. I believe I can do higher, I don’t suppose I’m at the most effective I can do. Coming from being the man that had the ball in his palms quite a bit to enjoying with different guys that may do exactly in addition to you and even higher, after which having legit bigs does change the model of play. Me and Tommy have talked about it, I believe I can run tougher, I believe I can play tougher. Coach advised me simply crash tougher, run tougher and also you’ll have the ability to get simpler buckets.”