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Oral Roberts vs. Arizona: Who's to stop Warren Niles?

Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller will have his options when looking to stop high-scoring Oral Roberts guard Warren Niles.


Time: 7 p.m. MST

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Volume shooters are dangerous in their own right, but when volume meets 55 percent field goal shooting and 52 percent of three-pointers, then opponents have to worry about said volume shooter cloaking himself within his team's offense.

Warren Niles and the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles will give the No. 4 Arizona Wildcats a heat-check test coming off the monumental win against the Florida Gators Tuesday night in McKale Center, and Sean Miller's team will be charged with stopping the nation's 11th-best scorer.

Arizona fans might notice a few names in the nation's top-10 in scoring coming into the game pitting the 5-4 Golden Eagles against the 8-0 Wildcats. Former Arizona point guard Momo Jones is No. 6 in the nation at 22.1 points per game, and the California Golden Bears' Allen Crabbe sits at No. 10 with a 21 point average.

Niles may be out of the top-10, but he's by far one of the more efficient scorers in the nation. Only potential player of the year candidate Doug McDermott and his 14.1 shots per game comes even close to Niles' 13.7 taken. McDermott betters Niles in field goal percentage, but after that, Erik Green of Virginia tech is the closest at 51.7 percent shooting.

What that says is the offense gets Niles open shots. The Wildcats will probably be looking at a number of off-ball screens, and they'll have to be ready to switch when the Golden Eagles are setting up their accurate gunner.

At 6-foot-5, and 190 pounds, Niles plays the shooting guard spot for an Oral Roberts team that has pretty good size up front for a Southland Conference squad.

So then, who guards him?

Off the bat, matchups make it Nick Johnson's job. Coincidentally, Johnson also ranks No. 11 in a key defensive category with 2.88 steals per game. That rank is even more impressive when you consider Johnson plays in a man defense and that players in zone defenses like Syracuses Michael Carter-Williams and his 3.4 steals per game are helped out by playing a certain position in a certain zone defense.

Kevin Parrom and Solomon Hill might get looks at Niles depending on how Oral Roberts handles its bench rotations.

Hill is still working out the kinks on the defensive end after his move to the small forward slot, part of the reason he lost weight in the offseason. His presence was felt against Florida when he moved back to the power forward slot, matched up with slower forward Erik Murphy, and smothered him for turnovers that helped the Wildcats overcome a double-digit deficit to set up Mark Lyons' game-winning shot.

Of course, things will only go well Tuesday if the Wildcats have gotten the high of the Florida win out of their minds. Oral Roberts, like Arizona, made an NIT first-round exit last year despite going 27-6 and nearly making it to the NCAA tournament. They're coached by Scott Sutton, who should be quite familiar with the Wildcats as the son of Eddie Sutton, he who had one famous battle with Arizona.

Said Johnson to Bruce Pascoe:

"It definitely was a big one," Johnson said of the Florida game. "But we couldn't overlook that we had to get to bed - we had film the next day and we had to get ready for Oral Roberts.

"We don't wanna be the one-hit wonder or anything like that. We want to let the nation know we're the real deal, and keep on going off after wins."