Connect to share and comment
One of three remaining unbeaten teams in the country, top-ranked Arizona kicks off its Bay Area swing Wednesday with a visit to Stanford. The Cardinal feature a balanced attack, but their lack of depth remains an issue. While Arizona has been a model of consistency – the Wildcats lead the Pac-12 in scoring defense (56.7 points per game) and rebounding margin (plus-10.1) – Stanford’s defense has disappeared in losses to BYU, Pittsburgh, Oregon State and UCLA.
Arizona set the mark for the longest winning streak in school history Sunday with a 65-56 victory over Utah, which held the Wildcats to 2-of-14 shooting from 3-point range. Freshman forward Aaron Gordon overcame a poor shooting game and finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds, and will be a key player against Stanford’s solid frontcourt. Gordon is averaging 12.3 points and 7.8 rebounds while scoring in double figures in six straight games.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT ARIZONA (20-0, 7-0 Pac-12): Guard Nick Johnson has become the team’s primary scoring option, averaging 16.7 points, while also leading the team’s stifling defense. “Nick is probably the smartest kid that I’ve ever coached,” coach Sean Miller told reporters. “He’s a really gifted basketball IQ guy.” Miller has also been pleased by the play of freshman forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who had 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench against Utah and has shot 10-for-19 from the field over the last three games.
ABOUT STANFORD (13-6, 4-3): Coach Johnny Dawkins has used the same starting lineup of Chasson Randle, Anthony Brown, Dwight Powell, Josh Huestis and Stefan Nastic in all 19 games, but has received limited production from reserves such as John Gage and Robbie Lemons. Randle has been one of the most improved players in the league while averaging a team-high 19.1 points on 49.4 percent shooting from the field. The Cardinal need a strong game from guard Anthony Brown, who has shot 3-for-18 in three career meetings against the Wildcats.
1. Arizona has won seven straight meetings and leads the series 55-29.
2. Stanford is 10-0 when leading at halftime.
3. Fourteen of the last 20 games between the teams have been decided by 10 points or less.
PREDICTION: Arizona 82, Stanford 73