The Arizona Wildcats will take the hardwood Sunday against Chico State for their final tune-up before their regular season opener.
Arizona beat Eastern New Mexico 91-63 in its first exhibition, but Chico State should offer a little more resistance.
It did last year anyway, when it lost to Arizona, 78-70.
Chico State, also nicknamed the Wildcats, is expected to be a Division II title contender this season.
Here are a few things to watch in Arizona’s exhibition against them Sunday (4 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Networks):
Parker Jackson-Cartwright’s return
Parker Jackson-Cartwright missed Wednesday’s exhibition with an ankle sprain, but Miller said earlier in the week that he should be good to go against Chico State.
If true, Jackson-Cartwright will probably take Alex Barcello’s spot in the starting lineup, meaning we might get a look at the starting lineup, and perhaps the overall minute distribution, that UA will be using until Rawle Alkins returns in December.
It also means that Allonzo Trier, who had a relatively quiet game against Eastern New Mexico, will spend most (if not all) of this game playing off-the-ball, instead of backing up Barcello at point guard, which is a good change.
Arizona’s offense produced at a high level against Eastern New Mexico, making over 60 percent of its shots, but having Jackson-Cartwright’s shooting and distributing in the mix should help things run smoother.
And it eases the burden on Barcello, too, putting the freshman in a better position to succeed.
Brandon Randolph’s shooting
Brandon Randolph has struggled mightily with his jumper in McKale Center.
The freshman was 1-5 from 3 in the Red-Blue Game, then 0-7 from the perimeter against Eastern New Mexico.
Miller said that was “uncharacteristic” of Randolph and based on how he shot the ball in Spain, where he was 5-11 from 3, that’s probably true.
Still, it would be encouraging to see Randolph sink a few 3s to build some confidence before the start of the regular season, especially because he appears to be the one who will start in place of Alkins.
Relatedly, it would also be nice to see Emmanuel Akot build on the shooting night he had against Eastern New Mexico when he was 2-2 from 3 plus made a mid-range jumper off the dribble.
Both of those guys are going to need to step up in Alkins’ absence and obviously being able to knock down shots from the outside is crucial since teams are going to be focusing on slowing down Trier and Deandre Ayton, leading to open looks for others.
Miller called Arizona’s defensive rebounding its “Achilles heel” in the win over Eastern New Mexico.
The significantly undersized Greyhounds hauled in 17 — yes, 17 — offensive rebounds against the Wildcats, which led to 16 second-chance points.
Aside from Ayton, who tracked down 10 rebounds in 24 minutes, Arizona didn’t have anyone else make a huge impact on the glass.
Arizona’s wings in particular need to do a better job of rebounding. Trier and Akot combined for just three rebounds in 54 minutes against Eastern New Mexico. Randolph had three defensive rebounds in 33 minutes which isn’t all that great, either.
Trier was a pretty good defensive rebounder last year, tracking down 17.8 percent of misses, so there’s no reason to be worried about him, but freshmen are prone to being poor rebounders.
Miller specifically mentioned Akot as someone who needs to improve in that area.
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire