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3 things to watch when Arizona hosts UConn

Will Allonzo Trier play?

Alabama v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats (9-3) finish off their non-conference schedule Thursday against the UConn Huskies (7-3) in Tucson.

This is Arizona’s sixth game against a major-conference opponent, and their second against a foe from the American Athletic Conference — the first was a 66-60 loss to SMU in the Bahamas.

And here are three things to watch as the Wildcats go for their seventh straight win.

1) Allonzo Trier

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Trier has been pivotal to UA’s success all year, and he’s become an even bigger factor on the court with defenses focusing on Deandre Ayton.

Trier suffered a minor knee sprain on Monday against North Dakota State, and Sean Miller is unsure if Trier will play against the Huskies on Thursday, but he does seem optimistic.

If he does suit up, it may push this game out of reach for UConn.

2) Clash of Styles

The Huskies come into this game with a similar record, but it’s come from very different style of play.

UConn has only eclipsed 80 points once in regulation this year, whereas Arizona has only scored less than 80 three times: twice in losses in Atlantis, and once against a fantastic Texas A&M team in Phoenix.

It’ll be interesting to see how these contrasting styles match up, but Arizona’s talent advantage will probably help them make this the type of high-scoring game they’re comfortable with.

3) Rawle Alkins

Alkins has shown how important he is to Arizona since his return, as the ‘Cats have looked much improved, but it’s still important for him to keep getting comfortable and up to speed with his teammates in game situations.

Alkins will play a key role if Arizona is going to defeat the No. 3 Arizona State Sun Devils on Dec. 30, and this is his last chance to knock some of the rust off before that mammoth matchup in Tucson.

He played well against New Mexico last Saturday, but regressed a bit against NDSU.

Arizona should beat UConn barring an unforeseen collapse, which is especially true if Trier and Alkins have big games and UA’s high-powered offense outshines UConn’s defense.

How to watch

Game time: 7 p.m. MST

TV channel: ESPN2

Live stream: WatchESPN