In this week's edition of the Arizona Wildcats roundtable, we dive into a couple of topics. Only two of us this week, so feel free to chime in with your answers in the comments!
1. Do you feel that Arizona turned a corner in the second half against Utah or was it just another peak in the up-and-down season?
Lewis Krell: Emotional me wants to say that we did turn a corner but logical me isn't ready to make that proclamation just yet. The fact is that although Utah was ranked higher than us, we were still favored, we were still at home where we never lose and we still have lots of guys that are used to that situation. On the other side was a Utah team with one freshman star and one other star who has not played that many meaningful games in his NCAA career. That team has no real experience as a top ranked team playing in a hostile environment and as you can see from the Cats losing to inferior UNLV and OSU teams, it's not an easy position to be in. I liked what I saw and it's all part of the process, but I absolutely expect some more speed-bumps along the way. But I don't expect them to happen at McKale.
Jason Bartel: I would agree with Lewis on this one. I think the Pac-12 in general has shown that road teams are going to continue to struggle no matter where they are playing. There's always going to be a surprise result each and every week somewhere. You just don't want Arizona to be on the wrong side of it.
2. What would you like to see Stanley Johnson do more of? Less of?
LK: I would like see him do less of everything he did in the first half against Utah and more of everything he did in the second half against Utah.
JB: I think he's just gotta stay aggressive on the offensive end, and not lose that mental focus when things are either starting to go bad or go so well that the game's out of hand.
3. Gabe York only played six minutes against Utah. What do you think is happening there?
LK: It may be just as simple as the fact that Elliott Pitts is better. Pitts is bigger (6'5 vs 6'3) he defends better and he knocks down open 3s. I know it's a smaller sample size for Pitts but right now he is hitting 45% if his 3's compared to 36% for York. Considering neither of them do much to fill out the box score in any other category, if your one job is to bury open 3's then Miller should go with the guy who buries more open 3's. York has one real job out there and he simply isn't doing it that well.
JB: I know they were talking about an ankle injury during the Utah game, but York also was about to check back into the game with a minute and a half left in a blowout, which wouldn't happen if he was actually dealing with an injury. It's been interesting to see how highly thought of he was at the beginning of the season, and is now behind a guy like Pitts.
4. This is Brandon Ashley's first trip back home since last year's unfortunate injury suffered against Cal. What kind of numbers do you think he'll put up?
LK: He could put up 0-0 and I'll be happy as long as he walks away healthy. Just to be safe, I'd have him come off the bench against Cal so there's no chance of a repeat injury happening in the opening minutes.
JB: I don't think that'll happen, but I definitely expect at least double-digits in points, and maybe a double-digit rebound game against Cal to get a double-double.
5. Predictions for the weekend:
LK: I think we sweep the Bay Area schools this weekend. Stanford has a solid squad but I've been to a bunch of games there and they have ZERO homecourt advantage. I think you hear more people offering you jobs or fine glasses of wine outside the stadium in Palo Alto then you hear insults. We may be rattled by other crowds along the way but Stanford isn't going to be one of them.
JB: Stanford probably sees this as the opportunity to prove that they are legit contenders this year, and somehow pull out a four-point win on Thursday over the Cats. Riding momentum off a win over UConn is not something to ignore. Then Arizona rolls into Berkeley and steamrolls the Bears to make up for it.