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Arizona vs. Stanford: Three things to watch when the Wildcats face the Cardinal

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What should you keep an eye on as the Cats round up their Bay Area trip?

NCAA Basketball: Arizona at California
Kobi Simmons and Dusan Ristic led the Arizona Wildcats past Cal.
Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats finish off their quick trip to the Bay Area with a meeting against the Stanford Cardinal on the first day of 2017.

Here are three things to watch for in the match-up with the Cardinal at Maples Pavilion:

1. Kobi Simmons

At halftime against the California Golden Bears, Simmons had scored a measly four points and was fairly invisible on the offensive side of the ball.

However, one of his two made baskets in the first 20 minutes was an emphatic transition dunk that provided some life for the offense.

But in the second half, the freshman guard came to life, becoming more aggressive by driving to the hoop regularly.

The Atlanta, GA native wound up with 14 points on Friday, finishing second on the team in that department behind Dusan Ristic. Look for Simmons to contribute earlier in the game on Sunday.

2. Resiliency

We have seen this time and time again from the ‘Cats this season: their ability to comeback. No matter how large the deficit is, Sean Miller’s club always seems to be able to rebound from a slow start.

That started in the first game of the season against Michigan State and Arizona nearly came back against Butler in Las Vegas, and once again against Gonzaga in Los Angeles.

Friday night, against Cal, Arizona was down 13 points in the opening half and faced nine point deficits in the second half multiple times. Yet they found a way to avoid being upset in the first Pac-12 game of the season.

However, against better schools like Oregon, UCLA, and USC, the Wildcats cannot afford to dig themselves into big holes because they may not make it back.

3. Three point shooting

Last season, Gabe York was a big-time three-point shooter. He was always able to get a clutch bucket from deep when Arizona needed it most of all.

This season, though, with the loss of Allonzo Trier through the first 14 games, shot attempts from deep have not been Arizona’s forte.

Against Cal, the Cats attempted 11 shots from behind the arc with only two of them finding the bottom of the net.

That shows that Arizona needs to do a bit better with their shot selection. Maybe don’t always look for a three. If there’s an open man down low, feed him first before going for the big shot.


Tip-off for this game is scheduled for 6 PM MT on Pac-12 Networks.