Arizona vs Charleston Southern Preview
The test runs are over and the regular season has finally arrived. Now in his fourth year at Arizona, Sean Miller has his system firmly entrenched and his own players to run it. The Wildcats will begin their most anticipated season in many years against Charleston Southern tomorrow.
The Buccaneers do have the advantage of having already played a game, although the outcome was not in their favor. Charleston Southern opened the year on Friday, falling 68-58 to Charlotte of the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Buccaneers kept it close in the first half and even led early in the second half, but ultimately succumbed after a 22-4 Charlotte run essentially put the game away.
Saah Nimley led Charleston Southern with 20 points, but he connected on just 7/20 attempts. As a team, the Buccaneers shot a miserable 29% from the field. They chucked up 34 threes while only making eight. Key Matchup:
Charleston Southern’s top returning scorers are guards Nimley and Arlon Harper. Although Harper came off the bench last game, he ended up playing 21 minutes and scored 12 points. The backcourt duo should provide a good test for Arizona’s guards. The Wildcats’ three-point defense will be key to thwarting the perimeter-oriented Buccaneers’ offensive attack. Freshmen Watch:
Arizona’s three freshman post players must be licking their chops in anticipation of this match-up. Charleston Southern doesn't have any players over 6’9” and only one player over 6’7”. Expect the much larger Wildcats to have their way in the paint.
Grant Jerrett has the look of a great all-around player; he filled the box score with assists and blocks during the two exhibition games while stretching the opposing defenses with his outside shot. Kaleb Tarczewski was day-and-night, dominating his team’s first exhibition game while nearly disappearing in the second. Brandon Ashley was solid during both games. It will be interesting to see the respective roles each player manages to carve out early in the season.
The other Arizona freshman, Gabe York, his hoping his outside shooting prowess will earn him time on the court. While his defense needs work, it appears York’s athleticism and offensive talent will earn him minutes. How big of a role he will play remains to be seen. Prediction:
In what may become a common theme this season, Arizona has too much size, depth, and talent for the competition to match. Expect the Wildcats to take control of this game and coast down the stretch. Arizona by 25 points.