Arizona: Week Five Recap

Kyle Fogg has stepped up big-time the last three game. Could he become the difference breaker between NCAA & NIT?

Kyle Fogg has stepped up big-time the last three games. Could he become the difference breaker between NCAA & NIT?

Arizona’s sweep over the Washington schools this week is definitely something to get excited about. And it’s not just because it was their first PAC-10 series sweep of the season outside of Oregon/Oregon State either. It’s much bigger than that. It’s that they beat two completely different teams in decisive manners and with an array of different weapons.


 In Thursday’s game against Washington, they beat the Huskies at their own game. They were aggressive, attacked the rim, used the baseline well, and found themselves the beneficiary of a barrage of free throws. An impressive win when you consider that UCLA and CAL have been the only conference teams to date to do that to the Huskies.


In their weekend match-up against the Bennett Ball Cougars, they were able to force their tempo in the second half, and apply dizzying pressure along the perimeter. The first half was rather unnerving as the ‘Cats failed to force the tempo, but a huge second half run en route to 43 second half points showed what the ‘Cats are capable of when they are focused and determined.


There have been some phenomenal changes in mindset amongst certain players. Budinger’s approach to his first half mini-slump against WSU was excellent. He didn’t once check out of the game mentally and found was to get his teammates involved before going nuts in the second half and finding his stroke again.


Nic Wise proved that he is king of the 72” or less club as he tore apart Isaiah Thomas, Justin Dentmon, and Venoy Overton to the tune of 29 points and 8 assists. A huge outburst by Wise is not a shocker, but to become the level of offensive threat he was is just plain scary.


Jordan Hill continues to impress, as Arizona fans have come to expect, with his “typical,” yet amazing performances tallying 16 points with 16 rebounds, and 18 points with 9 rebounds. That is the type of performance Arizona fans have become accustomed to with Jordan Hill. But not typically when the Wildcats have four players scoring double digits. The coexistence of the two show that Arizona is playing extremely well together and have found a rhythm that includes an inside-outside game on every possession, rather than from one possession to another.

The biggest development for the Wildcats, however, has to be the unbelievable play by Kyle Fogg. Fogg is averaging just under 15 points per game over the last three for one major reason – he isn’t hesitating to take open looks. After the close losses to USC and ASU where he was essentially dared to shoot, it seems as though Fogg is taking it personally. He’s taking open looks when he gets them, and is being more aggressive on both ends of the floor. His performance means that the Wildcats will no longer suffer when one of the “Big Three” is having an off night.


Despite these great performances, the Wildcats still have little room for error right now. These were games that they needed to win, and by doing so they have only stayed the guillotine for a short while longer. The Wildcats needs to continue to build on their performance and have a great opportunity to do so when they face the Oregon schools next week. They have a tough road ahead, but a sweep of the Washington schools has provided a sign of life as well as a ray of hope. Bear Down Arizona!


10 Responses to “Arizona: Week Five Recap”

  1. 1 Todd February 1, 2009 at 10:01 am

    A sweep always puts me in a much better mood for the weekend and the following week. With the exception of the first 25 minutes of the game yesterday, the Cats played great, and the Fogger is quickly become my favorite player. I still expect him to miss shots and screw up since his motion isn’t exactly “fluid,” but the shots fall, whether he is banking in a three or going to the hole, which is what he does best.

    “The 72″ and under club?” That’s funny. Tajuan Porter might be the king. Having played in the club myself my whole life, I’d like to see Nic add a floater to his repertoire rather than getting stuck under the basket. That said, i think he is easily the best shooter on the team. And what’s with him missing two wide open layups during these two games? That’s uncharacteristic of him.

    One odd note from Thursday’s game. It seems to be that around the 10 minute mark of the 2nd half, the score was something like 67-57. Each team put up like 40 pts in the last ten minutes. That’s ridiculous.

    As for the tourney, you are right. We still aren’t on the radar. According to Lunardi, we aren’t even in the first four out, or the next four. Lots of work left to do, and I agree that the Oregons aren’t going to be a cake walk.

  2. 2 naterb February 1, 2009 at 10:32 am

    Kyle Fogg may not have the smoothest shot in the world, but either did Michael Dickerson, Miles Simon, or Hassan Adams. Dickerson was a bit jerky, Simon shot from his chin and pushed the ball, and Adams almost seemed to shoot like a 5 year old at times.

    But they were all successful in college because they were effective enough approaches to get their shots to drop. While the “JT” shooting formula is the most successful method of teaching players how to shoot jumpshots, it is not the only way to shoot a ball. It’s just more successful because more players can learn it. But if a player has a way that works for them – great! It’s not always the mechanics, but the results that matter.

    **The only time the mechanics make a big difference in the different shot approaches, is if they get into a funk. It takes longer to shoot out of it.

  3. 3 David C February 1, 2009 at 11:21 am

    lunardi is an idiot

  4. 4 Todd February 1, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Naterb, Don’t get me wrong. I love the Fogger. I guess I find his talents deceptive. You don’t expect a lot from the guy, and yet he just keeps producing. He has been a great addition.

    And Dave, Lunardi is an idiot? He received a PhD in Bracketology from Southwest Missouri State under the famous bracketologist. Albert T. Dingleberry where he wrote his dissertation: “A Critical Improvement to Intuitive Methods for Seeding”. Here’s an excerpt:

    “Given the low degree of success of prior probabilistic methods of predicting the Selection Committee’s seeding system, I have worked painstakingly to develop a better method. In this chapter, I explore how I can pull seeds and at large bids out of my ass better than any bracketologist heretofore.”

    Seriously though, the guy’s got a decent gig. All he has to do is invent a tourney bracket that has no bearing on reality, and he probably gets paid $30k on the side to do it.

  5. 5 David C February 1, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    haha well yes i never said that he wasnt a lucky guy but you cant base where the wildcats are based on what that guy says

  6. 6 Big Sneezy February 1, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    The Cats were awesome these last two games. I think their D has kind sorts generally been okay, but it makes all the difference in the world when as a team they are not afraid to take open shots. Kyle Fogg is a special player. If he was 6’9″, he’d be gone for the NBA as soon as it is allowed. But I’m (selfishly) hoping he stays off the draft radar and stays as long as possible.

    On a different note, I wanna nitpick a little bit. I’m really bothered by being down at halftime all the time. We went on big runs these last two games, but it’s not like we can just sit back and expect the run to happen automatically.

    Jamelle Horne…is getting on my nerves. He plays well enough on defense, being active and all, but he commits 1-2 bonehead fouls a game and is completely lost on O if he’s not dunking. The thing is, he takes forever to make a decision when he gets the ball on the perimeter. “Should I shoot? Should I drive? Should I pass? Umm…I’ll shrivess!” He could probably beat many defenders off the dribble, but not if he takes 4.9 seconds to make up his mind, giving them all the time they need to prepare to take a charge. I dunno. It’s just not fun to watch him get the ball on offense.

    On a more strategic level, I’ve noticed that teams are stacking or overloading against the zone, meaning that they position a bunch of guys on one side of the zone, leaving one defender to cover 2-3 guys, generally resulting in an open baseline 3. Part of me wants to scrap the zone against teams like Washington State, where we don’t have any glaring matchup problems…but then again, we did win the game. Maybe we just need to be a little bit smarter as far as who we choose to pressure on the perimeter, make our guys more aware of which player is more likely to shoot, more likely to hit the shot when they shoot, etc. It does us no good to run at a guy on the perimeter whose sole purpose is to swing the ball to the open guy in the corner. Maybe I just can’t get over Rochestie hitting two straight threes in Chase’s eye at the end of the game yesterday on the exact same play. Uggh. But, go Cats and let’s sweep the state of Oregon!

  7. 7 naterb February 1, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Todd – Miles Simon wasn’t the most talented player either. He wasn’t a stand-out athletically, nor was he a pure shooter. But he always managed to make the big play, hit the huge shot, and be in the right place at the right time both offensively, defensively, and in loose ball situations.

    Frankly, that’s the kind of player I see in Fogg – except Fogg is more athletic. I really hope this kid sticks around, because his play has earned him a starting spot in the rebuilding process. If he continues to develop the way that he has during his senior year of HS, and his freshman year at UA, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him be NBA ready by his senior year.

  8. 8 David C February 1, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Kyle Fogg is an example of the kind of players this team needs to start recruiting. Enough of this one and done superstar players who leave our program in dismay after they leave. Kyle is not only a great player but also a great person and I cant wait to see how good he is come senior year.

  9. 9 germy February 2, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    I like what I’m reading about Fogg here. He does seem like the kind of classy hard-working player we used to get in Arizona all the time. I like him and hope he sticks around to develop into the next big guard that UA puts out.

    I was really bothered watching how our team played with Horne in the lineup against WSU. We had no rythm. Almost every decision I watched him make was the wrong one. On defense when the zone was overloaded he decided to double team players that were already shutdown leaving someone else wide open. Then later in situations where he has to choose to stop the ball or cover the open wing he scratches his head and doesn’t move leaving both players open to do as they wish. Even less important things like applying the press seem very difficult for him, he was grabbing at every player on the floor and just asking the officials to call a foul on him. The guy needs someone to fix his mental problems before he can ever be a great player for us.

    I don’t think Lunardi has done a terrible job with the brackets if his brackets are to reflect the tournament starting today as opposed to reflecting who he actually thinks will get in once the season has played out. This is good for us right now because our guys have to keep that underdog mentality for the rest of the season if they want to make it. I think we are going to become a popular sleeper pick soon since it is not unthinkable that we would sweep Oregon and then beat USC. If that happens and we get a win against UCLA, ASU, or UW (all admittedly difficult) then we might have enough momentum to finish off WSU, Stanford, and Cal.

    Not sure if anyone else visits the kenpom ratings, but Arizona is looking pretty good in those, with wins against three of his top 20 teams and our worst lost against Stanford (68). Not many teams have a resume’ quite as good.

  10. 10 David C February 2, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Germy, yes I agree with your opinion on how Horne seems to slow down the offense 99 percent of the time. The only reason why i see him playing so much is because of his height and because of his ability to play hard defense (ironic I know haha). We need to win all of the games we are supposed to win and maybe pull a few upsets in order to cement our spot in the tourney.

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January 2009
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PAC-10 Power Rankings

1. Cal 2. Washington 3. UCLA 4. Arizona 5. Oregon 6. Oregon State 7. Arizona State 8. Washington State 9. Stanford 10. USC

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