To be honest, it wasn't easy to learn a whole lot from this game. The Arizona Wildcats -- aside from the first ten minutes or so -- absolutely blew the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks out of the water. The Wildcats outscored the Lumberjacks 52-13 in the second half and ended up winning 92-37. With such a noncompetitive game, it's hard to take anything meaningful away from it, but here's at least an attempt at doing so:
Tollefsen is getting more comfortable in his new role
In the last game against the Missouri Tigers, Mark Tollefsen scored 17 points -- a career-high at Arizona -- but then immediately topped that total against Northern Arizona and dropped 19 points. He also had a career-high eight rebounds too, and his best work came on the offensive glass. I know he had at least three to four put-backs in this game, and that's starting to become his bread and butter with this team.
As we know, his perimeter shooting has been disappointing this season -- he's hitting roughly one-fourth of his three-point attempts, while his career average at USF was 38 percent -- but he's valuable in the sense that he doesn't need the ball to be effective. In fact, that's where most of his offense is coming from this season and that's a major change from his time at San Francisco where he was "the man." For that reason, it's important to be patient with him. He's still learning to be a complementary player, and he's not exactly used to coming off the bench either.
Sean Miller did say after the game that he feels Tollefsen is finally getting comfortable with his role after he was forced to constantly switch roles earlier in the season due to injuries and lineup changes. Hopefully that is the case and we start to see these type of performances more often. Plus, if he can get his shooting averages closer to his career average, he could be the piece that brings the team to a whole other level. Not many other teams have an experienced player like Tollefsen coming off the bench.
Comanche and Simon are getting valuable playing time
Blowouts like this game aren't really fun at all, but the one thing they do allow is for the young players to get additional minutes. Justin Simon played 16 minutes against Missouri, then played a career-high 18 minutes against NAU. Similarly, Chance Comanche played 13 minutes against Missouri then played 15 minutes in this game. Sure, it's not the best competition, but in my view, getting time on the court in games is the best way to develop. The coaches and players themselves get a sense of what they can/can't do in a real-game environment, and it's also a chance to develop chemistry with their teammates.
Okay maybe Simon and Comanche won't play as much as the competition gets tougher, but at least we know that if they are called upon to play -- whether due to injury or foul trouble or whatever -- they won't be deer in headlights. It should also not be overlooked that the playing time the freshmen get now will serve as valuable experience when they are ultimately big time rotational players in the future.
Kadeem Allen was a "we" among "me's"
At halftime, Sean Miller said that this game was a "'me' game, not a 'we' game". He was referring to the team's lack of ball movement, as they had just six assists (and six turnovers) on 14 made field goals. I was impressed by how the team moved the ball against Missouri, but it just didn't carry over to the first half of this game. The team improved in that area in the second half, though, as they had 11 assists and just four turnovers. Kadeem Allen was the major reason why. He made several impressive passes and finished with a career-high seven assists, while turning it over just once.
Here are some examples of the passes I'm referring to (via Pac-12 Networks):
He's clearly becoming more and more adjusted to being in a distributor role, as he has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 18 to five in the last four games. He's effectively using his slashing ability to set up others, and it's beautiful.