Props to PirateDan7 for his Breakdown of the Arizona-Vanderbilt game and the Maui Invitational. - SoCalStites
Experience was the difference maker here.
Kevin Stallings knows what he is doing. He has some very capable players and had the benefit of taking on Chaminade yesterday so he could rest his mainstays. It certainly showed down the stretch as his coaching savvy won through as Vanderbilt took the ball to the basket and made the most of their opportunities in the 2nd half. Arizona's young post men couldn't compete with the Vanderbilt front line as they were able to make a significant impact by getting the Arizona bigs in foul trouble and dominate the offensive glass. It's not all doom and gloom however....
The 'Kitty Kats were in every game and got a heavy dose of on the job training. They have more film from quality opponents to break down and have had the benefit of having to deal with whistle happy refs prior to hitting conference play. While home cooking is nice, sometimes it's best to have a few cold sandwiches in order to appreciate the difference. The effort was there but the breakdowns were many. Boxing out still needs to be a priority as does help defense concepts of rotating off of your assignment to help out when the lane is penetrated, but we have to remember, these guys are not used to playing at this level, where the quality of athletes night in and out is a good deal better than what they faced in high school. Everyone is learning from everyone, so it's brave new world for the entire team. This was the first road trip, the first bonding experience outside the freindly confines of Lute Olson court and the U of A campus. The first time in a bed that is not your own and the wierd schedule demands required in getting your body to adjust to the differences in College Tournament Hoops and the national media spotlight. For the most part they acquitted themselves well. The real barometer of the team may be Jamelle Horne, not Nic Wise, simply based on his last game was the one that he had the least impact in and it showed up the most in the box score. Of course, ymmv.
As for the referees, well let's just say that Arizona needs work on defense with the totals of 30, 29, and 25 fouls being called in the three games, it's a good thing coach insists on playing so many people. Still trying to find out what Coach Miller did to get T'd up in the 2nd half of the game, but apparently you can't inform the officials when you suspect that a lane violation is in progress.