The No. 8 Arizona Wildcats have a chance to pull even with the Oregon Ducks for the Pac-12 conference lead when they visit the Washington State Cougars Saturday night at 7 p.m. PT on Pac-12 Networks. Arizona has won the last four meetings between the two schools since getting swept by WSU in 2010. The Cougars will be trying to stay above the .500 mark as they look to avoid a 2-7 first half of conference play.
Kevin Parrom and Solomon Hill are finally seniors, after spending what seems like 17 years in Tuscon. They are getting help this season from Xavier transfer Mark Lyons. He is the team's most voluminous shooter, but his percentages are nothing great. Most of his efficiency is derived from his free throw performance at the free throw line, where he is knocking down 87 percent.
As for who will check Brock Motum (always important), Arizona has a number of possibilities. Freshmen Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski, and Grant Jerrett all get plenty of time in the frontcourt. Hill also might have enough height, and he certainly has enough athleticism, to guard Motum. Sean Miller will have the luxury of rotating guys on the Cougar big man and keep a fresh defender on him at all times.
On a team level, Arizona is better than WSU at pretty much every possible category. They rebound better, they shoot better, they force more turnovers, they defend shots better, they hit free throws at a higher rate, they limit opponents from getting to the foul line better. There is no weakness that the Cougars can exploit.
Without a favorable matchup in any statistical area, the Cougars will likely need a superlative shooting performance and some bricks from the Wildcats to have a shot at the upset.
Go ahead and use this as a game thread. No illegal stream links, please. Check out KUGR.org for a student play-by-play broadcast.