The Arizona Wildcats are getting ready to play the Oregon schools for the first time in a reallllly looooong time (two and a half weeks). Arizona has not lost a game since that loss at Oregon State, but there are still some issues the team is facing.
Our roundtable takes a look at the big man issues, Stanley Johnson improving his consistency, and our thoughts on UCLA (heh).
1. Who's your preferred big man right now? Kaleb Tarczewski, Dusan Ristic, or Matt Korcheck?
Joshua Worthington: Without a doubt my big man is Kaleb Tarczewski. He is our anchor on defense. The other big guys have different strengths. Dusan is a soft player with great touch and Korcheck is an energy guy. Zeus is an all-around big man that can score when needed at a high percentage, 58.2% (highest on the team), and can knock down free throws better than the other big men.
Lewis Krell: It's still Zeus but I am loving the development of Dusan and it's nice to know we have another competent big man if we need one in Korcheck. We all know Sean Miller is always going to play guys who play great defense and average offense over guys that play great offense and average defense so no one should expect to see Ristic starting in the near future. Zeus may not have Ristic's offensive polish, both post moves and three point range, but he is the anchor of the defense and he has given Miller maximum effort over his years in Tucson. Expect to see more Ristic but I don't expect to see too much less Zeus.
Zach Tennen: Zeus is definitely my preferred big man although all three should eventually carve out a nice role in the rotation. Dusan and Korcheck have had their moments even going so far to help us win that game at Stanford. But Zeus is the most experienced and he's the big body I trust most at the end of the game.
2. What's the next step you'd like to see Stanley Johnson take in regards to improving his game?
JW: I know SJ is a freshman but he still needs to work on his decision making. He leads the team in turnovers per game. His rebounding a ball and going straight into a one-man fast break against three guys is getting tiresome. He is young and he will learn that he doesn't have to be so aggressive. One thing is for sure... SJ is a stud.
LK: I think every game he is taking steps to improving his game and for a freshman that's really all you can ask for. Early in the season his aggressiveness often lead to forced shots or defenders realizing they could take charges on Stanley but he has really been smarter and channeled his aggressiveness over the past few weeks and it is paying off big time. The past few games I've seen a light bulb go off for Stanley as he realizes that basically no one in the country can stop him. In addition to his team leading rebounding numbers, he is also proving that his 3 point % is no fluke and he continues to make defenses pay for laying off of him.
ZT: I'd like to see Stanley Johnson take some point forward skills into the NBA. He's already a great all-around prospect. However, showing improved court vision by the end of the year will make his ceiling even higher.
3. How much do you enjoy watching UCLA get smacked around the way they are?
JW: I love it. They still have beaten us the past two years in the Pac-12 Tourney though so I'm waiting for that rematch. It's also a travesty we don't play them twice in a Pac-12 season.
LK: It's wonderful. UCLA sucks, ASU sucks, UW is in turmoil. Although it would be nice to have a better conference to help Arizona get a 1-seed in March, I must admit that I'm enjoying seeing a lot of our biggest rivals struggle.
ZT: It's still early but UCLA's defense has been an absolute mess. They have the individual talent to be much better. That being said, they are not working as a team nor are they communicating on the defensive end. It's definitely a pleasant sight as an Arizona fan. UCLA has a big game next with Utah coming to Pauley Pavilion.
4. Are you comfortable saying that Oregon State is the third-best team in the Pac-12? How would you rank the top five in the conference at this moment?
JW: No, I think Stanford is the third best team in the Pac-12.
4. Oregon State
5. Oregon or Washington.
LK: I think Stanford is better than Oregon State but the Beavers might be the 4th best team in a bad conference. Lunardi only has 3 Pac-12 teams in the tournament in his most recent Bracketology and at the moment it's tough to see more than 3 teams from this conference making it.
ZT: I struggle to believe Oregon State is the third best team in the Pac-12. I'm pretty confident those losses will catch up to them. My top 5 would go like this:
Now it's your turn! Let us know your thoughts on these things in the comments section!