Home cooking does wonders and the Arizona Wildcats showed that this past week as they shook off the two losses in Los Angeles and, in classic McKale fashion, swept the Washington schools by a combined 56 points.
On the weekend, the Wildcats averaged 94 points a game with 57% shooting. That, my friends, is absolutely insane in college basketball. And in a return to Sean Miller's tough-nosed defense, U of A held the schools to 43% shooting and 30% three point shooting (something that was considerably higher last weekend against UCLA and USC).
Lastly, Arizona used its depth and athleticism to shut down both teams in the second half, holding the Cougs to 30% shooting (after they shot 50% in the first half) and the Huskies to 40% (after shooting 51.5%).
With those quick numbers out of the way, lets get to the player grades!
Kaleb Tarczewski, A+: Since returning from injury, he is playing like a man possessed, looking to make up for lost time. (Let's hope Allonzo Trier also comes out guns-a-blazing in a month.) He finished the weekend with 26 points and 21 rebounds. If he continues to improve, both health and skill-wise, he can lead Arizona to a title. He is still blocked on occasion down low (still unsure how a 7-footer is blocked, but I digress), but overall, his performances are aligning to what we thought his true potential was as a five-star recruit.
Ryan Anderson, A+: It doesn't even surprise us when he puts up a 36 point, 17 rebound weekend. The BC transfer is everything that we could have hoped for and is the heart and soul of the team. Along with a healthy Zeus, these two make one of the most dominant and experienced post tandems in the country.
Parker Jackson-Cartwright, A: I've been VERY tough on PJC this season, but the kid has broken out of his slump and doing a fantastic job in his role. Get a load of these stats: 18 assists, 3 turnovers, 15 points, 6 rebounds. For a back up point guard, that's more than we could have ever asked for. We know the starters can ball, but if the bench can hold its own, that creates even more difficulties for opposing coaches.
(Editorial Note: Even though I want to, I don't feel I can give everyone an A and keep my limited credibility.)
Gabe York, B+: The sharpshooter rebounded from his final possession against USC with a 23 point weekend including 42% shooting from behind the arc. York also added in eight rebounds and six assists, showing opposing teams he isn't just a blatant catch-and-shoot player anymore.
Mark Tollefsen, B+: He seems to have found his role in the offense and is doing pretty well in it. With 11 points in both games, the USF transfer went 8-10 from the field including 4-4 from three. If Tollefsen and Co. are able to extend the offense consistently behind the arc, that will open up the paint for drivers and post-ups; creating even more ways for Arizona to score easy baskets.
Justin Simon, B+: With Trier injured, Simon has been called upon and has done everything that is needed. He went 7-9 from the field, adding in a crucial slasher who can get to the rim at ease. His 15 points were also a weekend career high. The only negative is that he sometimes plays like he has had one too many cups of coffee, just slightly out of control. However, I would rather have someone play with too much energy than be lethargic. Simon's defensive ability will be key to shutting down opposing players once he gets more comfortable on the court.
Kadeem Allen, B+: Allen continues to lead the Arizona offense with ease, giving them reliable scoring, defense, and playmaking abilities. With 22 points and six assists on 8-of-14 shooting (including 3-5 from deep), the Wildcats' PG is doing everything Miller needs of him. Now that PJC has come alive, it only makes Allen's job easier as he can revert to his more natural scoring abilities and allow the smaller point guard the chance to run the show.
Dusan Ristic, B+: With Zeus back, Risitic has seen his minutes drop, but that doesn't mean his skill set is any less needed. The Serbian is probably the most skilled player on the team with his back to the basket, and that's a big statement when you have Ryan Anderson on the team. Ristic's finesse around the hoop is impeccable. Plus, he offers an emerging 3 point shot that he put on display this past week. Speaking of this weekend, he dropped 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting (50%). People forget he is only a sophomore and another year or two under Miller's tutelage and inside that training program will make Ristic an integral part of the program in 2016-2017 and beyond.
Chance Comanche, B: He only played a combined 16 minutes, but 4-5 from the field scoring nine points. Solid job!
Jacob Hazzard and Paulo Cruz, N/A: Not enough minutes or stats to grade much. But Hazzard buckets!
This picture may be the highlight of my college career #treyball @JacobHazzard pic.twitter.com/uCbdZeef5P— Jesse Blumenau (@jesse_blumenau) January 15, 2016
Arizona heads to the Bay Area this coming weekend to take on Stanford and Cal.