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UC Irvine vs. Arizona: Mamadou Ndiaye and the tall-standing Anteaters visit McKale

The Arizona Wildcats host a UC Irvine team with a bit of size across the roster.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona's performance on Sunday against the Cal State Northridge Matadors was a much better than the first matchup against Mount Saint Mary’s. Once again though, the Wildcats committed way too many turnovers on offense. Miller will certainly have stressed this week to take better control of the ball. It was just silly little mistakes that will surely be fixed as these groups of players get to know each other more and understand where their tendencies.

The UC Irvine Anteaters will be coming into the McKale Center on Wednesday evening as Sean Miller and company look to remain perfect before the Maui Invitational tournament round begins next week. This will be the toughest test in the early going as UC Irvine is poised to be among the top of the Big West Conference. UCI has won both of its opening games this season, a blowout over a Division III school and an 18-point victory over Pacific Union.

Irvine will be coming into the game bringing even more size than Arizona's first opponents. They have three players taller than 6'10 in freshman forward Jonathan Galloway, senior center John Ryan and junior forward Mike Best. Ioannis Dimakopoulos, a sophomore from Greece, adds an extra four inches standing 7'2.

Here comes the fun part. Mamadou Ndiaye is a sophomore hailing from Senegal who weighs 300 pounds and stands 7’ 6."  It is nearly impossible to guard him, even with multiple defenders on him. As a freshman last season, he set school and conference records by getting 106 blocks on the season, which is absolutely astounding. Ndiaye does not play many minutes, but when he does he can be fairly efficient. Last season, he averaged eight points and three blocks in around 20 minutes per game.

It will be certainly interesting to see how the 'Cats deal with his size. Is the offensive going to be focused on working the ball down low before kicking it back outside? That worked against the Matadors as they left numerous players open on the wings.

Arizona's second unit is gelling nicely as was seen on Sunday. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson once again came off the bench with a ton of energy that once again provided the right spark for the Wildcats' offense. He finished off the night with 14 points, 5 of 8 from the field, and 4of 5 from the charity strike. Elliott Pitts put in a solid 16 minutes as the guard made two out of his four attempts from beyond the three point arc. Parker Jackson-Cartwright seemed to handle playing quarterback of the backups as the freshman moved the ball around nicely as he finished with seven points and two assists while collecting four boards in just 14 minutes.


7 p.m. MST


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