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OSU Men's basketball preview vs. Arizona

General Info

Opponents: Arizona Wildcats

Head Coach: Sean "I sank 50 consecutive shots in an All-Star Game event at Wichita Kansas, delaying the game and ticking off a few people in the process. Oh, and do you know I can dribble and juggle like a pro"

Miller (in his 3rd season, former Xavier Head Coach)


Venue: Gill Coliseum

Why was the win against Arizona at Gill a big deal last year? Well, we did have that "kisses the sky" dunk by our Airspace Vanguard (Cunningham), but more importantly it was a win against an Elite 8 participant. Derrick Williams and crew were a team that really restored the UA program after years of mediocrity and coaching turnover.

With Williams and Momo Jones gone, Arizona moved forward with largely the same group but added guys like Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson. So far the experiment has been erratic. Yes, the Cats did beat Saint John, but they really showed some weaknesses against the likes of Gonzaga and San Diego State. At least the Wildcats showed some solid signs in the Pac, winning against ASU and USC and are currently a good 2-1 in the Pac. Style of play, personnel snippets and game plan after the jump.

The Wildcats play an even pace, 66 possessions a game, 69 points a contest, with a particular emphasis on three point shooting. They take and make the most amount of 3s in the Pac 12, but convert at a 36% rate, which is above average nationally but subpar in the Pac. Though they don't take a lot of free throws UA is also good at drilling those, shooting 72% from the line. The downside to their attack is that they don't offensive rebound all that well and they turn the ball over 13 times a game, 8th in the Pac.

"PG U" is actually a better team defensively; they are especially adept at guarding long range shots. Opponents shoot a ridiculously low percentage from 3 (26%) and from the floor (40%). The Wildcats are also adept on the defensive glass, corralling around 70% of opponents' misses, a rate that's 4th in the Pac. But they don't block a lot of shots or steal the ball all that often.

From a personnel standpoint the Wildcats do have players of above average length, around that 6-5/6-6 range but don't have many proven players that are taller than that. Angelo Chol is probably the only player that is serviceable at 6-10 but he really isn't contributing that much in 12 minutes a game. But give crdit to their ability to control the defensive glass despite a small lineup.

Personnel Snippets:

Jesse Perry is their main option inside. A hustle player who got stronger in the offseason, he'll do most of his damage through offensive rebounds and low post moves. Converts at a high rate (54%). Leading scorer and second best rebounder, but still has a slight size disadvantage compared to most Pac 12 posts.

Solomon Hill is the do-it-all wing who can score inside and out and has fantastic size (6-6) for a wing. Second leading scorer but top rebounder and assists person. Can score anywhere except from three (25% from there). Best offensive rebounder with Perry.

Kyle Fogg has been in UA for four years and has been a contributor since his arrival. A great shooter from 3 and from the free throw line but has been subpar within the 3 point arc. Obviously the senior leader along with Jesse Perry, though Fogg spent more time in the program. Takes the most 3s in the team, which is no surprise.

Nick Johnson is a scorer by trade, although he is inefficient from the floor and average at best from 3. Takes the third most attempts from 3 in the team, but is also the second best assist man.

Josiah Turner, a highly touted player coming into this season, is an inefficient scorer though is serviceable at the line. His game predicates on getting to the lane, scoring there or making plays for others. A ball-handler off the bench, though he needs to shore up his turnovers.

Jordin Mayes is a shooter, taking the second most 3s in the team but converts 35%, which is better than what could be said for most Wildcats. Also a foul shooter you don't want to foul late in the game (76%).

Angelo Chol is the only guy who both brings size and plays rotation minutes (12 a game). A good defender, has a great body, but is in need of offensive refinement and game experience.

Game Plan

UA, aside from UDub, is probably the only team that can really stand up to OSU's frenetic pace, and has the athletes to match up well. The only real issue for UA is its size, as Perry is 6-7 and will give up some length to Brandt, Burton and Moreland and Collier. This is as good a chance to not only take advantage down low, but to defensive rebound, as Hill and Perry are the only guys who can really offensive rebound.

OSU must be wary of the zone, even though Arizona is primarily a man-to-man team. And in terms of shot selection, going to the basket is the logical way to go, as opponents are horrid from downtown, a compliment to Sean Miller and crew. Going to the hole can also lead to foul trouble for the PFs and Centers, as Jesse Perry is the only legitimate big guy (though expect to see Kevin Parrom and Solomon Hill at those spots at times) On the other hand, OSU must not allow UA to take rhythm 3s. The 'Cats live and die mostly on how they can stroke it from there, and most of those shooters are not great ballhandlers and finishers in the mid-range and immediate areas. Make sure to close out on shooters so to contest the shot. Should we shut down the 3 game, Arizona will only have Perry getting it done on the inside. It is imperative for the Beavs to box him out and outwork him.

Of course, push the ball. It's not to befuddle UA, but just to keep the Beavers in their groove and flow. But more importantly, we need to DEFEND. OSU can outscore anyone, but the defense is a bit shoddy. I can attribute that to playing offensive "juggernauts" like Portland State and Chicago State, but since then we got blitzed by Washington and Wazzu. Coach Rob really needs to send that message to the players, because UA has the players to drop 90 on us as well.

Anyhow, another good game to put on the resume, should we win this. Go Beavers!