Game Recap: Arizona @ Stanford

Just a quick side note before I recap the Arizona/Stanford game:

One thing about me that you will learn, is that I always want to focus on the positive things surrounding the Wildcats. My main reason for doing this is because these kids on the floor are not paid professionals, and a majority of them will never make it to the professional level. Sure they’re being compensated by the University to play by getting their tuitions paid for in return of putting on that uniform. I know that there are a lot of fans and media members that don’t view it this way, but I do. Call it the silver-lining mentality or being an optimist if you like, but the bottom line is that there is almost always something positive to right about.

My tendency to focus on the positives in a game is really being challenged with the recap of this game. I owe it to you as a reader who is taking your time to get my opinion, and learn what transpired during the Wildcats’ game against Stanford. So I’ll try and focus on the good things as much as I can but it won’t be easy because this game was filled with a lot of bad performances.

-NaterB

Yeah, thats about right.

Yeah, that's about right.

The Wildcat’s 16-point loss to Stanford was the worst loss at Maples since February 7, 1983, a season before Olson arrived in Tucson and the ‘Cats went 1-17 in conference play. This is also the first time that the Wildcats have started the conference 0-2 since the ‘04-‘05 season when they opened with losses to ASU and CAL. The margin of defeat, while disappointing, isn’t nearly as discouraging as the performance by the Wildcats as a whole. Sure, Chase Budinger found himself with double-digits again, and the ‘Cats shot 48% while Stanford had 44%, and Jordan Hill and Nic Wise seemed to be able to score almost at will. So why was the performance so disappointing?

The ‘Cats never really showed up tonight, and failed to find any sort of rhythm all night long. They found early in the first half that they could score almost at will inside the paint as their first 10 points came from dunks, lay-ups, or short jumpers. Jordan Hill exploited the under-manned Stanford frontcourt to the tune of 13 points and 7 rebounds in the first half. Unfortunately, after the first half the ‘Cats stopped looking inside with Jordan Hill only getting four touches for four points in the second half. I’m not understanding how a team with a significant and distinct advantage would not use it, it simply boggles my mind.

Another missed opportunity was Nic Wise’s ability to get past any Stanford defender almost at will. Sure he went for 13 points in the second half, but he would only take advantage of his quickness every fourth or fifth possession. They ought to have kept running the same plays, Wise penetrating and finding Hill or getting a lay-up, until Stanford found a way to stop them. By going away from that and trying to get other players who are playing scared or are currently incapable of throwing it into the ocean, Arizona effectively gave up their advantage and handed the game to Stanford on a silver platter.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing Stanford here, in fact despite Stanford appearing semi-lazy they still managed to fight of any attempts Arizona could muster by going on mini-runs to keep the game out of reach. They only shot 34.8 percent from beyond the arc, but it seemed like they would always hit them when the momentum would start to shift – and a ridiculous amount of them came from the corner. I commend Stanford on that, but also am appalled at Arizona’s lack of effort on the defensive end. It was down-right horrid.

The ugliest part of the game wasn’t the fact that they didn’t exploit their advantages, or shut clamp down the perimeter defense – even if Stanford did only shoot 34%. Simply put, the ugliest part of the game was that the Wildcats were playing outside of themselves and their roles, and they were playing frustrated tonight. While I commend Jamelle Horne for his hustle tonight, he reminded me of Jordan Hill because of the inexcusable fouls. Horne knew that Budinger was slumping and was attempting to step up and fill the void. Unfortunately, rather than sticking to what Horne does best, he tried to do too much and hurt the team by fouling out with nearly six minutes remaining.. Zane Johnson also played outside himself when he put the ball on the floor for consecutive plays and picked up an offensive foul.

When Budinger’s inability to score and be an offensive threat first started, players were playing within themselves and their capabilities. Horne posted a double-double, Fogg had a fantastic game, and everything was okay. Now as Budinger’s and the team’s frustration level is rising because of this slump, we’re seeing players trying to do too much and not combining hustle and effort with smart play. That’s a problem that needs to be addressed by Pennell and Co. in a huge manner, and for the time being “The Big Three” has become “The Big Two” and that’s something the Wildcats will only find limited success with.

The Good:

  • Jordan Hill tallies a double-double again with 17 points and 16 rebounds

The Bad:

  • Chase Budinger went 4-11 for 12 points
  • Jamelle Horne fouled out with nearly 6 minutes remaining.

The Ugly:

  • Arizona’s 19 turnovers, which ties a season high, led to 16 Stanford points
  • 8 Assists, 19 turnovers = 0.42 team A/TO ratio – that’s just horrendous team basketball.
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2 Responses to “Game Recap: Arizona @ Stanford”


  1. 1 Todd January 5, 2009 at 12:52 am

    Wise does not get enough credit. He has been very consistent all season long. Another solid game from the point guard. I agree with your comments about Fogg. He is a good player. I’d like to see him look for more shots. He is always the last priority of the defense.

    I was really disappointed in our defense. I would like to see us not extending the zone so much. It seems to leave way too many open shots. The offense, as you said, was ineffective, except when Wise penetrated and Jordan got the ball inside.

    Despite the slump, I have a hunch that this team can win 12 or more games in the PAC with a few adjustments.

  2. 2 bleez January 5, 2009 at 2:10 am

    I just hope Chase can get going. The Oregons should be an at home sweep and hopefully that can get us some momentum going into the big game at Pauley Pavillon vs UCLA. I think our squad has this game circled on their calenders and will be ready for this UCLA team after the heartbreaking loss at Mckale last year. I hope we can go atleast 1-1 on this upcoming road trip but I dont think that 2-0 is out of the question.


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