The Arizona Wildcats routed the Pacific Tigers 79-61 in their season opener, and will now face the Bradley Braves of the Missouri Valley Conference on Monday at McKale Center. Arizona will be seeking its 40th home win in a row.
How to Watch
Time: 6 p.m. MST
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Announcers: Kevin Calabro and Matt Muehlebach
Streaming: Live Stream at pac-12.com or on the Pac-12 Now app.
What to Watch
This will be the final game for Arizona before they start the DirecTV Wooden Legacy Tournament on Thursday against Boise State, so it will be important for the Wildcats to have another strong outing, and of course, to stay healthy.
At this point, we essentially know what the starting lineup will be moving forward -- Kadeem Allen, Gabe York, Mark Tollefsen, Ryan Anderson, and Kaleb Tarczewski -- but the bench production is still an unknown. I'm not really worried about Dusan Ristic, but Allonzo Trier struggled and shot 1-10 from the field in the season opener, and it would be nice to see him have a bounce back game against Bradley. Same goes for Parker Jackson-Cartwright. Unfortunately, we won't see Elliott Pitts on the floor, as he's expected to miss another game due to a knee sprain.
It will also be interesting to see what type of lineups Sean Miller goes with. He tinkered a lot with the lineup combinations in the opener to try to find which lineups are effective moving forward, and I wouldn't expect that to change in this game. He even put in all his young players at once, but after they struggled, he said he'd "never do that again." We may not see that type of lineup again, but he'll surely continue to experiment.
As such, this game represents a chance for Justin Simon or Chance Comanche to earn some additional playing time. Miller is notorious for shortening his rotation as the season wears on, and if Comanche and Simon can make a play or two here and there when they do play, they might be able to earn Miller's trust and ultimately a spot in the rotation. If they fail to stand out, there's a chance they rack up a bunch of DNP-CD's this season.
I'd like to see Kadeem Allen repeat his performance in the season opener. I was a little worried about the point guard position coming into the season -- and I still am -- but I was really encouraged about what I saw from Allen. He penetrated the defense well, and showed he can not only score in the paint, but also be an effective distributor as well. And we know he'll bring it on the defensive end.
One thing that I think may have been overlooked was Allen's entry passing. That's an underrated attribute for a point guard, and with the number of talented post players the Wildcats have on the roster, having a point guard that can get them the ball in an ideal position to score is invaluable.
In the end, this game shouldn't be close. Bradley lost 24 games last season, and now have a new coach and a completely new roster. But the important thing for Arizona will not be to win by a lot of points -- though, that is fun -- but to identify which lineups work, which players should/should not be in the rotation, and to continue to build continuity.