Arizona scouting report

2013-02-10T00:00:00Z Arizona scouting report Arizona Daily Star
February 10, 2013 12:00 am

Compiled by Bruce Pascoe

Projected Starters

Arizona

• G Mark Lyons (6-1 senior)

• G Nick Johnson (6-3 sophomore)

• F Solomon Hill (6-7 senior)

• F Brandon Ashley (6-8 freshman)

• C Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0 freshman)

California

• G Justin Cobbs (6-3 junior)

• G Tyrone Wallace (6-4 freshman)

• F Allen Crabbe (6-6 junior)

• F David Kravish (6-9 sophomore)

• C Richard Solomon (6-10 junior)

Sidelines

HOW THEY MATCH UP

• The series: Arizona has won three of its last four games against Cal, including a triple-overtime game at Berkeley, Calif., two years ago. But the Bears have given the Wildcats trouble at McKale Center: They beat UA's 2008-09 Sweet 16 team by six points at McKale Center, and lost to Arizona by an average of three points over games in 2009-10 and 2010-11. The teams did not play in Tucson last season.

• Cal overview: The Bears rallied from a 15-point deficit late at ASU on Thursday but lost 66-62 to drop to 5-5 in the Pac-12. Picked to finish third in the conference this season, Cal has struggled in part because of injuries and a lack of depth. Most significantly, Missouri transfer Ricky Kreklow has been out of all but five games with foot issues while guard Brandon Smith missed six early games because of a head injury. Reserve forward Christian Behrens was lost for the season with a knee injury in December. The Bears have been using seven players, with Sudanese forward Bak Bak and walk-on wing Jeff Powers helping out on occasion. What players the Bears do have typically know their roles and execute well, and they have one of the conference's top perimeter duos in leading scorer Allen Crabbe and combo guard Justin Cobbs.

Miller not a fan of hoops on TV

Playing on Wednesday and Sunday this week meant UA coaches and players had a chance to catch several other Pac-12 games being played on Thursday and Saturday, including Colorado's win over Oregon, which put the Wildcats alone in first place. But Sean Miller said he didn't take in too much of the other action.

That's largely because, sometimes, a break can be more valuable.

"Sometimes (you watch) but when you're in it, you're watching so many games of your own team and the next opponent that you can be go stir crazy if you watch other games," Miller said. "Usually the games I watch are when a friend coaches or I'm curious. Maybe I'll watch a half or some of it."

Cal hasn't lived up to expectations

In the preseason, Arizona and UCLA were considered the runaway favorites in the Pac-12, but there were a host of other teams who could have made a case for third place in the conference's official poll.

The vote ended up going to Cal, with Allen Crabbe, Justin Cobbs and a coach in Mike Montgomery whose teams are known for routinely meeting or exceeding expectations.

Cal is just 5-5 in league play, and Montgomery noted that the vote was taken before two late transfers from Rice were granted immediate eligibility: Oregon's Arsalan Kazemi and USC's Omar Oraby - and before Cal suffered a varieties of ailments that included foot trouble to well-regarded Missouri transfer Ricky Kreklow.

"All these guys added to (other) rosters changed that … and Kreklow looks like a season-ending injury," Montgomery said. "He would have made a difference."

No homecoming for Ashley this year

Thanks to the Pac-12's unbalanced schedule, which took away Arizona's annual Bay Area trip this season, today's game will be the "closest" freshman forward Brandon Ashley will get to home in one sense.

The San Francisco native played three years at Oakland's Bishop O'Dowd High School, in the shadow of Cal's campus. Ashley said he also attended a few games at Stanford and Cal but said it wouldn't feel much different playing them today.

" I think if the game was home it would be a little bit different," Ashley said. "My family would be there but it's just another game right now."

KEY PLAYERS

Allen Crabbe

California

Crabbe doesn't always beat defenders with elite quickness but he's a deadly shooter when he sets his feet. Crabbe is making 45.1 percent of his shots in conference games, leading the Pac-12 in scoring with 19.3 points per game.

Nick Johnson

Arizona

Good thing for the Wildcats that Johnson has thrown off his virus. He'll need plenty of energy to contend with either Justin Cobbs, who had an off night at ASU on Thursday with four turnovers and one assist, or the explosive Crabbe.

Numbers game

1

Win Cal's Mike Montgomery needs to tie Washington's Hec Edmundson at 266 as the Pac-12's fourth all-time winningest coach (behind UA's Lute Olson, UCLA's John Wooden and OSU's Slats Gill).

15

Minutes Solomon Hill needs to take 10th place in UA's all-time minutes played list, having 3,594 so far. Wednesday, he became the 11th UA player to collect 1,200 points and 700 rebounds.

37.2

Field-goal shooting percentage by UA opponents in the second game of Pac-12 weekends this season.

He said it

"Allen Crabbe is one of the stars in our conference, if not the country. Cobbs is an older, experienced point guard who we respect a great deal. They're very well coached on offense and defense. They have a plan of attack and use their personnel wisely. Their big guys are physical, set great screens, rebound and play smart defense."

UA head coach Sean Miller on Cal

California (13-9, 5-5) at No. 7 Arizona (20-2, 8-2) • McKale Center • 5 p.m. today • Pac-12 Arizona • 1290-AM, 107.5-FM, 990-AM (Sp.)

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