These are my 5 keys to victory today in the 11:40 matchup against the Cleveland State Vikings.
1. Take Care of the Ball
Cleveland State killed Wake Forest with 18 forced turnovers on Friday night. Arizona has struggled to take care of the ball this season, averaging 14.1 turnovers a game. The Wildcats will need to be careful on offense today.
2. Control the Tempo
The Vikings are a team that likes to slow down the tempo of the game and minimize the amount of points scored by both teams. Arizona needs Nic Wise to speed up the game a little and force CSU to play at their pace.
Keep reading to see 3-5
3. Drive to the Basket
Chase Budinger and Nic Wise play their best basketball when they're driving into the middle. Cleveland State only averages 3.3 blocks as a team and their tallest starter is 6'9". The Wildcats played really well once Luke Nevill was gone for Utah and they should stick to the same formula against the Vikings.
4. Take Off the Glass Slipper
CSU are the underdogs today and Arizona needs to play as the bigger, better team here. Show the calm and poise of a team that has been to 25 straight tournaments. This is Cleveland State's first tournament in school history and they are definitely the cinderella in this game. Throw the slipper in the closet and be prepared to take it out; hopefully, after a win.
5. Help from a 4th Man
Budinger showed that he is ready for tournament play, Hill played up to what we have come to expect from him, and Wise played very well under pressure. Fogg stepped it up a little against Utah, but I'd love to see him progress more today against Cleveland State. Jamelle Horne and Zane Johnson continued their disappearing act Friday, but the Cats need them to reappear today and give some depth to the team.