The non-conference season is now behind us, 2015 is wrapping up, the Arizona Wildcats are hitting their stride, and McKale Center hasn't seen a loss in 34 months.
But that's the new norm for Sean Miller's troops.
After putting up two more 80-plus point efforts, Arizona's offense is firing on all cylinders, though that could be attributed to the lackluster defenses the opponents have shown.
Because I'm in a good mood, I've added a little holiday theme into this, by handing out 'Gifts' instead of grades. Hopefully you won't be confused.
On Dasher, On Dancer, AWAY WE GO!
Allonzo Trier, Lamborghini: Arizona's swingman now has seven straight games in double figures and is shooting a nice 52% from the field. He has turned into one of the most consistent players on the team and in the conference. With his ability to get to the rim with ease, Trier is almost unguardable. His only weakness is his court vision, but that will come as the season progresses.
Arizona's FT and 3PT shooting, McLaren: Over this two game stretch, they made 57-of-71 free throws (80%) and 12-of-27 (44%) from behind the arc. Even better, the Cats outscored UNLV and LBSU by 38 at the stripe. If U of A keeps that up, they will be almost impossible to beat.
Ryan Anderson, Porsche Spyder: What more can we say about him? Two more double-doubles pushed his non-conference average to 15.5 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, the first Wildcat to average a double-double in non-conference since Jordan Hill in 2008. He has to be the front-runner for conference Player of the Year. Anderson's intensity on both sides of the ball has spread to the entire roster, which is why I think Arizona is in for a dominant conference slate!
Dusan Ristic, 2016 Porche Cayenne: Ristic continues to improve on the offensive end, securing his first 20 point game of his career against UNLV. While his defense and rebounding is still a work in progress, it's fantastic to see his growth from last season. I know Cats fans were worried when Zeus went down, but we seem to have weathered that storm with relative ease.
Kadeem Allen, BMW i8: Allen is slowly figuring out his jump shot and with a positive assist-to-turnover ratio, he gets the bump over Gabe York. Kadeem is one of the most active people on the court, and with his offensive game picking up, we're starting to see why he held the gold jersey much of last year.
Gabe York, Ferrari: It's amazing to see the development York has gone through since he arrived in Tucson as a freshman. Once known for purely hitting jumpers, he now has a relatively complete offensive game and is much improved on the defensive end. When he gets hot, he's one of the few players who can carry a team with ease. Let's just hope he stops doing these kind of things:
Mark Tollefsen, Month-long backpacking around Europe: As you can tell, the 'gifts' just dropped off a few levels. Though still productive, Tollefsen didn't have as good of a week as he did last week. Strangely, he only took five shots over the two games, showing that he doesn't have to be the focal point in the offense. Personally, that shows a senior leader who knows that team success is greater than his own.
Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Free passes to Richard Jefferson Gymnasium to shoot (and I'll give him a nice Benz sports car for no turnovers): PJC's shooting has hit a snag. The sophomore point guard hasn't made three buckets in a game since November 29th against Boise State. Currently, his shooting percentage is 33%, obviously not ideal for a guard. It's evident opposing coaches are aware of this, as they are giving PJC loads of room on the perimeter. However, he continues to keep his turnovers down, which is great, especially when you see Gabe York with nine over two games.
Justin Simon, Trip to Disneyland : Not enough PT to warrant a review
Chance Comanche, Pass to Golden Corral to bulk up: Not enough PT to warrant a review
Here's a tid-bit from Arizona Athletics on Tuesday's game and the non-conference slate:
Now sit back Wildcat fans and enjoy this 11 day break between games. We're sure going to need it going into a potentially dangerous conference schedule.
*Also, for Arizona Athletics sake and NCAA compliance, please don't actually give these gift to the players.*