Arizona vs Stanford Preview
Arizona faces a red hot Stanford team on Wednesday. The Cardinal has won three straight, including a 31 point road win over Utah and a 24 point home win over Oregon. Of course, the Wildcats have also won three in a row, including two blowouts, to tie the Ducks for first place in the conference.
Arizona is a perfect 5-0 against Stanford under Sean Miller, with only one of those games coming down to the wire. However, this season Johnny Dawkins has his most talented squad yet. In order to get the victory, the Wildcats will have to slow down a balanced Cardinal attack.
Veteran big man Dwight Powell is Stanford’s best player. The junior is crafty in the lane and has decent range. On the season, he averages 14.4 points and 7.7 rebounds. Powell gets plenty of help in the paint from Josh Huestis. The ultra athletic junior is a double-double waiting to happen. He averages 9.3 boards per game, which is fourth best in the conference. If the Wildcats fail to box out it will be at their own peril; Huestis slammed home two rim shaking putback dunks in a win against Oregon State on Sunday.
Stanford has a decent backcourt with Chasson Randle and Aaron Bright. Randle averages 14.2 points per game while Bright averages 8.3. The duo also combines for nearly six assists. Neither player shoots well from the field, although they’re both good free throw shooters. Outlook:
Stanford is tough to read. For the season, the Cardinal is one of the worst shooting teams in the country. Stanford connects on a mere 41% of its attempts overall and 34% from three-point range. However, the Cardinal has been one of the hottest shooting teams in Pac-12 play. During its three game win streak, Stanford has knocked down 49% of its shots, including 57% from beyond the arc.
As is typically the case, Arizona should be able to more than hold its own in the paint. The key to the game may be the Wildcats’ three-point defense, which has been good lately but notoriously up and down for the season. If Arizona closes out quickly on the perimeter, it may be a long night for Stanford.