Top three storylines of Arizona Wildcats at Cal Golden Bears

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Kaleb Tarczewski  will be challenged in the paint by Cal's David Kravish (YouTube screen shot)

Kaleb Tarczewski will be challenged in the paint by Cal’s David Kravish (YouTube screen shot)


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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)

TOP 5 PRODUCTIVITY LEADERS EACH TEAM
*Starters.

Cal Pos PR Arizona Pos PR
*Wallace PG .706 *SJohnson SG .782
*Mathews G .567 *Hollis-Jefferson SF .721
*Kravis C .538 *Ashley PF .584
*Bird G .462 *McConnell PG .582
Behrens PF .374 York SG .506
Team .454 Team .565

Top three storylines for tonight’s game:

1. Where’s Arizona’s motivation after Cal’s 35-point loss to ASU?

The Golden Bears had the worst performance of any Pac-12 team this season in their 79-44 loss Thursday at home against ASU, a team Arizona dismantled 73-49 only 16 days previously in Tucson.

Cal, under first-year coach Cuonzo Martin, is on a five-game losing streak after starting 11-3, including a win over Syracuse and Jim Boeheim. The Golden Bears are in last place in the Pac-12 with a 1-5 record, which includes a 14-point loss against hapless USC on Jan. 7. Cal has lost five of its last six games at Haas Pavilion.

Arizona coach Sean Miller’s credo with his team is following the process. He stresses that Arizona’s top priority is Arizona. With that in mind, the Wildcats ought to be prepared for a Cal team that has defeated two ranked teams (No. 21 Washington and No. 23 Syracuse), right?

Motivation for Arizona:

Brandon Ashley is returning home to the Berkeley-area after playing most of his high school ball in Oakland. He should play inspired especially after what happened last year when he was lost with a foot injury in the first couple of minutes of the game at Cal.

— Last year’s loss — the first for Arizona after a 21-0 start — as the No. 1-ranked team at Cal should be playing in the minds of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, T.J. McConnell, Kaleb Tarczewski, etc.

NO. 7 ARIZONA (17-2, 5-1) AT CAL (11-8, 1-5)
Tip Time: 8:36 p.m. MST
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Tim Robinson/Don MacLean)
Radio: Arizona IMG Sports Network (Brian Jeffries/Corey Walton)
THE SERIES
Overall: Arizona leads, 56-30
In Berkeley: Arizona leads, 21-17
Current Streak: Arizona won 1
Last Meeting: Arizona won, 87-59, on Feb. 26, 2014
Sean Miller vs. California: 5-3

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HOW ARE THEY DOING?
Present RPI ranking of Arizona’s non-conference opponents.

Rank Opponent Rec Result Date
No.7 Gonzaga 18-1 UA/66-63 (OT) 12/6/14
No.26 SDSU 14-4 UA/61-59 11/26/14
No.69 Michigan 11-7 UA/83-50 12/13/14
No.81 K-State 11-8 UA/72-68 11/25/14
No.82 UTEP 12-6 UA/60-55 12/19/14
No.111 UNLV 9-9 UNLV/71-67 12/23/14
No.115 Gardner-Webb 8-7 UA/91-65 12/2/14
No.143 Missouri 6-11 UA/72-53 11/24/14
No.158 UC-Irvine 8-8 UA/71-54 11/19/14
No.179 Oakland 6-12 UA/101-63 12/16/14
No.185 Mt.St.Mary's 8-10 UA/78-55 11/14/14
No.244 Utah Valley 6-10 UA/87-56 12/9/14
No.250 CSUN 5-14 UA/86-68 11/16/14

— Another win would give Arizona four consecutive victories with home games against Oregon and Oregon State next Wednesday and Friday, respectively. The Wildcats are in position to enter the second half of the conference season on top of the standings. The train must keep steaming ahead without getting off track against a Cal team with an RPI rating of No. 120. A loss would certainly derail the Wildcats from a potential No. 1 seed.

No. 2 First-year conference coaches have little success against Arizona.

Only two of the present Pac-12 coaches have posted a victory against Arizona in their first season in the league. Oregon State’s Wayne Tinkle is one of them this season. The other was Stanford’s Johnny Dawkins, who has yet to beat Arizona since winning the first meeting on Jan. 4, 2009, against a team coached by interim coach Russ Pennell.

Martin will try to make it three today, although the odds are stacked against him. Arizona is a 12-point favorite against the struggling Golden Bears.

The present Pac-12 coaches are a combined 2-13 in regular-season games against the Wildcats in their first season in the conference. Tad Boyle’s 1-1 record in 2011-12 — Colorado’s first season in the Pac-12 — does not count because that was his second season with the Buffaloes.

If Martin gets swept this season at least he has company.

ASU’s Herb Sendek, Utah’s Larry Krystkowiak, Oregon’s Dana Altman, Washington’s Lorenzo Romar and Ernie Kent (in his first season with Oregon in 1997-98) went 0-2 against the Wildcats to start their careers in the league.

UCLA’s Steve Alford and USC’s Andy Enfield lost their first Pac-12 meeting with Arizona last season.

Miller was swept by only Washington State and Oregon State in his first season with the Wildcats in 2009-10. Since then, he is 7-0 against the Cougars and 7-2 against the Beavers.

No. 3 Cal’s David Kravish a good test for Kaleb Tarczewski.

Kravish, a 6’10” and 240-pound senior who it seems has played for Cal for about 10 years, will provide a good physical test for Arizona big man Kaleb Tarczewski. The junior center will not play against a more active player at the post this season.

Did you know? … Kravish has something in common with former Arizona centers Channing Frye and Anthony Cook?

Kravish is one of four individuals in Pac-12 history, with Cook (1986-89) and Frye (2002-05) and USC’s Taj Gibson (2007-09), to record at least 1,000 points, 800 rebounds and 200 blocks in a career.

He enters tonight’s game with 1,094 points, 816 rebounds and 206 blocks. He is just one block shy of tying Michael
Stewart’s
school record of 207 blocks from 1994-97.

The key for Arizona is for Tarczewski to avoid foul trouble once again. The 7’0″, 240-pound player has the body to bang against Kravish. If he must sit a prolonged period of time because of fouls, the only other Arizona player to match Kravish’s size is Matt Korcheck (6’10” and 235).

If Ashley (a slender 6’9″ and 235 pounds) is ever matched against Kravish, he must play his most physical game of the season.

Something to keep an eye on: Tarczewki’s 12 career foul-outs ties for the most by an Arizona player in the Pac-10/12 era. He had four fouls at Stanford on Thursday, although one was a ticky-tack call that should not have been called. The refs seem to never give Tarczewski the benefit of the doubt.

PAC-12 RPI RATING
Present RPI ranking of the Pac-12.

Rank Team Ovr Pac12 SOS Top50
No.6 Arizona 17-2 5-1 30 4-0
No.12 Utah 14-3 5-1 35 1-3
No.31 Stanford 13-5 4-2 49 2-2
No.44 Washington 14-4 3-3 112 2-1
No.64 Oregon St. 12-5 4-2 128 1-2
No.76 UCLA 11-8 3-3 51 1-6
No.80 Oregon 12-6 3-3 74 0-3
No.85 Colorado 9-9 2-4 14 0-6
No.105 Washington St. 9-9 3-3 82 1-3
No.113 Arizona St. 10-9 2-4 76 0-5
No.120 California 11-8 1-5 84 1-3
No.142 USC 9-9 1-5 90 0-2


SEASON PRODUCTIVITY RATING

Player Pos G S PP MIN PR
Stanley Johnson SG 19 18 423 541 .782
R.Hollis-Jefferson SF 19 6 370 513 .721
Brandon Ashley PF 19 19 319 546 .584
T.J. McConnell PG 19 19 330 567 .582
Gabe York SG 18 13 196 387 .506
P.Jackson-Cartwright PG 19 0 90 196 .459
Kaleb Tarczewski C 19 19 232 512 .453
Elliott Pitts SG 19 1 78 293 .266
AVG 5-9.9 MIN
Craig Victor PF 8 0 38 57 .667
Dusan Ristic C 19 0 68 168 .405
AVG 1-4.9 MIN
Matt Korcheck PF 9 0 26 26 1.000
Drew Mellon SF 4 0 0 7 .000
Trey Mason SG 6 0 -3 8 -.375
Jacob Hazzard PG 8 0 -6 9 -.667
TOTAL TEAM 18 2161 3825 .565

ARIZONA SCHEDULE/PRODUCTIVITY RESULTS

Date Opponent Results TeamPR Productivity Leader Pos PP MIN PR
Jan. 22 Stanford 89-82 (W) .585 Brandon Ashley PF 22 16 1.375
Jan. 17 Utah 69-51 (W) .525 Stanley Johnson SG 30 28 1.071
Jan. 15 Colorado 68-54 (W) .545 Stanley Johnson SG 40 32 1.250
Jan. 11 Oregon St. 58-56 (L) .365 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 26 34 .765
Jan. 8 Oregon 80-62 (W) .590 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 26 25 1.040
Jan. 4 ASU 73-49 (W) .530 Dusan Ristic C 14 11 1.273
Dec. 23 UNLV 71-67 (L) .446 T.J. McConnell PG 28 39 .718
Dec. 19 UTEP 60-55 (W) .395 T.J. McConnell PG 23 35 .657
Dec. 16 Oakland 101-64 (W) .835 Craig Victor PF 13 10 1.300
Dec. 13 Michigan 84-50 (W) .640 Stanley Johnson SF 31 27 1.148
Dec. 9 Utah Valley 87-56 (W) .710 Dusan Ristic C 23 18 1.278
Dec. 6 Gonzaga 66-63 OT (W) .435 Brandon Ashley PF 19 38 .500
Dec. 2 Gardner-Webb 91-65 (W) .745 Parker Jackson-Cartwright PG 17 13 1.308
Nov. 26 San Diego State 61-59 (W) .525 Stanley Johnson SG 29 37 .784
Nov. 25 Kansas State 72-68 (W) .540 Stanley Johnson SG 21 25 .840
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 has published articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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