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Arizona basketball roundtable: Takeaways from the Wildcats' first two tournament games

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What stood out to us during Arizona's first weekend of games

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats got out of Portland with some dominating scores, but not necessarily fully-dominating performances.

Here are some things that stood out to us, both good and bad:

1. Most impressive part of Arizona's first two games?

David Potts: The ability to crack Ohio State's zone. The zone has been able to slow Arizona's offense all year (like in the Oregon State game or in the UCLA games), but Gabe York started raining threes, which made the zone look pretty silly. If Arizona can break down zone defenses, their chances of advancing in the tournament go up significantly.

Gabe Encinas: The number of free throws and free throw percentage. Arizona has been attacking the rim and when they can't get it in the basket, they draw contact to head to the line. In their last two games, they have shot a total of 51 free throws, knocking down 44. Free throws are so critical in March, and it's good see Arizona attack to get to the line and convert on opportunities. If Arizona can continue to get their opponents in foul trouble and stay out of foul trouble, things will be dandy.

Bryan Doherty: Probably the perimeter shooting. It's far from a consistent strength for the Wildcats yet they made both a strong percentage of threes and more importantly timely ones. The interior scoring of the front court should be a constant but when Arizona can get production from the likes of Gabe York and Elliott Pitts, it makes the offense that much more lethal. Hopefully it carries forward.

Ben Leech: Taking care of business. Arizona was clearly better than both Texas Southern and Ohio State. Upsets happen all the time during the tournament and with the exception of the Ohio State zone in the 1st half, Arizona proved to the nation that they are one of the best teams in the country.

Zach Tennen: Outside shooting has been the most impressive part of the first two games. Gabe York's presence on the perimeter gives opposing zones trouble. Zona has shot 12-for-30 beyond the arc which is exactly 40 percent. If Arizona can continue to execute and get open looks from the perimeter, there is not much to complain about.

Lewis Krell: Is everything an acceptable answer? If not, I'm going to go with two specific things here: the hustle and the outside shooting. So many other higher-seeded teams came out fat and happy and overconfident but Arizona came prepared and played just as hard as they always do (minus some lapses on D against Texas Southern but that's nitpicking). Sean Miller doesn't care if the number beside the opponent's name is a 15 a 10 or a 1, he will have this squad prepared and playing hard. As for the outside shooting, the Cats shot 46% from deep in Round 1 and 37% as a team in Round 2 although it felt higher because York was on fire. How about this stat? Arizona shot a better percentage from outside the arc than they did inside the arc against Ohio State. I NEVER thought that would happen in a game this year.

Steven Rodriquez: An impressive part of the past two games is the composure the Wildcats displayed, when their core players were unable to find their groove. The ability to pick up the slack from underperforming players will be a crucial factor in determining how far Arizona will go.

Ryan Kelapire: Their free throw shooting. Arizona is often labeled as a team that struggles from the line, but that certainly hasn't been the case in their two NCAA Tournament games so far. In the Texas Southern game, the Wildcats went 24-27 from the line. Against Ohio State, Arizona went 20-24 from the line. For a team that can struggle to score at times, making the free ones can be extremely important.

2. Most concerning part of Arizona's first two games?

DP: Stanley and Rondae's poor offensive performances against Ohio State. I'm not that worried about these, honestly -- Arizona has shown the ability to win despite poor offensive performances by its best players -- but it put more pressure on the rest of the team to score. Against Ohio State, Gabe York and T.J. McConnell stepped up, but there's no guarantee that will happen again.

GE: Inconsistency. The great thing about Arizona is that the team isn't reliant on one individual player to produce. Obviously T.J. McConnell is the heart and soul of the offense, but it can go to anyone in terms of scoring. After a career high for Stanley Johnson against Texas Southern, he came out and finished with four points vs. Ohio State. After failing to score in the first game, you can only hope Gabe York picks up where he left off on Saturday, finishing with 19 points. Hopefully Miller can also start to get decent production from Dusan Ristic and Parker Jackson-Cartwright as well.

BD: The lack of a threat both Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley represented on offense against Ohio State. Arizona can't win a national championship solely relying on its back court and occasionally Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Against a better opponent Arizona probably can't survive an off game from Stanley Johnson, Tarc and Ashley. Stanley appeared to just have an off night shooting but he still looked engaged. Ashley and Tarc seemed too passive at times and against a smaller Buckeyes front line I expected to have a much bigger impact.

BL: Brandon Ashley and his foul trouble. Ashley fouled out against Texas Southern and had four fouls against Ohio State. He needs to stay on the court longer as we've seen how effective he can be during the Pac-12 tournament.

ZT: Arizona managed to get off to a sizzling start against Texas Southern. However, Ohio State's 2-3 zone gave the Wildcats all sorts of trouble in the first half. Figuring out the game plan and executing from the start is crucial. It is much more relieving knowing you can pull away from a less-talented team by using your advantages - size, speed, athleticism and whatever else it may be.

LK: The slow start against Ohio State looked far too familiar. We can't afford to fall behind against the Wisconsin's and Kentucky's of the world and still pull out wins. We might be able to do it but it's certainly not a recommended strategy. My biggest concern from the first two games is I am concerned that the committee put Kentucky, Arizona and Wisconsin on the same side of the bracket and I am concerned that anyone could have thought Villanova was better than Arizona or Wisconsin.

SR: With a weekend full of promise, Stanley Johnson's inability to take over in big games against tough opponents is most concerning. In the first game vs Texas Southern Johnson could not be stopped, scoring at will. However, against Ohio State, Johnson was no where to be found offensively, a borderline liability. Stanley was able to contribute with 10 rebounds but with his size and athleticism, Johnson should score at will against any defender.

RK: Halfcourt offense against a zone. Arizona has faced zone defenses a ton this season, but it still takes them a while to figure it out. I'm sure this will be a point of emphasis for Sean Miller and his staff this week, so hopefully they can get it fixed. Xavier will likely play zone on Thursday, and they cannot afford to get off to another slow start.