Arizona Wildcats vs. Kansas State Wildcats: Three top storylines

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Top three storylines for Monday’s game:

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1. Can anything be gained from comparing scores?

Arizona struggled, especially in the first half against a spry, young Missouri team, but eventually pulled away 72-53 in the opening round game of the Maui Invitational on Monday.

Missouri looked like it suffered from a hangover on the islands, losing big today to Purdue 82-61, in a consolation-bracket game.

That same Boilermakers team was outscored by Kansas State 88-79 on Monday afternoon.

Kansas State stopped by Long Beach State on Friday on its way to Maui and lost 69-60. Two days later, Long Beach State looked mediocre in an 77-63 loss at UCLA.

How good is Kansas State? How good is Arizona?

Arizona fans are thinking if UCLA can beat the team that defeated Kansas State, then their team should take care of business. Kansas State fans are believing that if their team handled Purdue, which defeated Missouri convincingly from the start, then how tough can it be against Arizona?

Kansas State also beat Missouri-Kansas City, which upset Missouri in the opening games of the Maui Invitational on campuses.

Oddsmakers have Arizona as a 10.5-point favorite over Kansas State. Judging from comments from national analysts, I get the sense that a majority of unbiased onlookers are thinking Kansas State will keep it closer than that and potentially pull off the upset.

2. From a 7’6″ center to one who’s 6’7″?

In less than a week Kaleb Tarczewski and Arizona’s frontcourt players will go from defending the long, rangy Cal-Irvine frontline that includes a 7’6″ center to facing a Kansas State team that features 6’7″ space-eater.

Thomas Gipson is a senior physical force who weighs 265 pounds. Cal-Irvine’s Mamadoe Ndiaye is a towering 7’6″.

Tarczewski picked up two fouls early and finished with six points and seven rebounds while Ndiaye finished with four fouls and managed nine points and only five rebounds and a blocked shot in Arizona’s 71-54 win.

KANSAS STATE VS. NO. 2 ARIZONA
Maui Invitational semifinals
Tip Time: 5:30 p.m. MST
TV: ESPN (Sean McDonough/Fran Fraschilla)
Radio: Arizona IMG Sports Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
THE SERIES
Overall: Arizona trails, 5-8
Current Streak: Arizona won two
Last Meeting: Arizona won, 88-69, on Nov. 16, 1999
Sean Miller vs. Kansas State: 2-0

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Tarczewski has the size (7’0″ and 245) to muscle up against either type of center. He appears to have an agility edge over Gipson because of Gipson’s weight.

Gipson will be load for Tarczewski because of his relentless activity around the basket. Gipson has gone to the free-throw line more than he has attempted field goals because of his ability to draw fouls with his aggressive style. He’s shooting very well in both categories. He has made 26 of 32 (81.3 percent) free-throw attempts and is 17 of 23 (73.9 percent) from the field.

Gipson is Kansas State’s larger version of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who is very aggressive in the paint and has as many field goals (29) and free throw attempts (29).

3. Will the defense rest?

Kansas State is shooting 49.8 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range through its first three games.

It has not faced the kind of defense it will encounter against Arizona, which is limiting opponents to 38.6 percent from the field and 28.8 percent from three-point range. K-State might not see a similar defense the rest of the season.

Cal State-Northridge made the most field goals (22) that Arizona has allowed to this point. Opponents are averaging only 57.5 points a game against Arizona.

Kansas State is averaging 82.2 points a game.

If the game is won on defense, Arizona will get the nod. The Wildcats can certainly play in the open court if K-State wants to push the tempo. That’s what makes Sean Miller’s team dangerous, it can win in the halfcourt, albeit not pretty, but it can run with anybody.

ARIZONA DUNK TALLY

No. Player G Pos. Yr. FG
7 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson 4 SF Soph. 20-29
4 Kaleb Tarczewski 4 C Jr. 10-15
3 Brandon Ashley 4 PF Jr. 21-39
1 Stanley Johnson 4 SG Fr. 16-34


WHAT IS PRODUCTIVITY RATING?:
PP: Productivity Points (Points, assists, rebounds, steals, blocked shots, FGs made, FTs made added together and then subtracted by missed FGs, missed FTs, personal fouls and turnovers)
MIN: Minutes played overall
PR: Productivity rating per minute played (Productivity points divided by minutes played)

SEASON PRODUCTIVITY RATING

Player Pos G S PP MIN PR
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 4 0 110 95 1.158
Brandon Ashley PG 4 4 102 117 .872
T.J. McConnell PG 4 4 71 117 .607
Stanley Johnson SF 4 4 61 105 .581
Kaleb Tarczewski C 4 4 52 111 .468
Elliott Pitts SG 4 0 19 60 .317
Gabe York SG 4 4 32 101 .317
AVG 5-9.9 MIN
P. Jackson-Cartwright PG 4 0 28 39 .718
Dusan Ristic C 4 0 13 21 .619
Craig Victor PF 3 0 10 21 .476
AVG 1-4.9 MIN
Matt Korcheck PF 1 0 0 3 .000
Drew Mellon SF 1 0 0 1 .000
Jacob Hazzard PG 2 0 -2 3 -.667
Trey Mason SG 2 0 -3 4 -.750
TOTAL TEAM 3 375 600 .625

ARIZONA SCHEDULE/PRODUCTIVITY RESULTS

Date Opponent Results TeamPR Productivity Leader Pos PP MIN PR
Nov. 24 Missouri 72-53 (W) .525 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 25 23 1.087
Nov. 19 Cal-Irvine 71-54 (W) .610 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 31 29 1.069
Nov. 16 Cal State-Northridge 86-68 (W) .605 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 26 22 1.182
Nov. 14 Mt. St. Mary's 78-55 (W) .660 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 28 21 1.333

ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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