Before we discuss the basketball implications of this game, let’s just go over the adversity Arizona is facing.
- Arizona coach Sean Miller stepped away from the team Saturday after an ESPN report, which has the subject of dispute, alleged that he is on tape discussing a $100,000 payment to secure the signing of Deandre Ayton. Lorenzo Romar has been coaching in his place since, and Miller’s future at the school is still unclear. The Arizona Board of Regents is scheduled to meet Thursday afternoon to discuss his contract.
- Allonzo Trier has been suspended indefinitely after testing positive for Ostarine for a second time. Arizona has appealed the NCAA’s suspension, but it is unclear when/if he will return this season.
- Ira Lee remains out with a concussion.
Now that that’s covered, let’s talk about the actual game itself.
Arizona (22-7, 12-4) can clinch a share of the Pac-12 title with a win over Stanford on Thursday. Stanford (16-13, 10-6) isn’t playing for much, but it has won three straight.
Also: Dusan Ristic will become UA’s all-time wins leader if Arizona beats Stanford.
KenPom gives Arizona an 83 percent chance of winning Thursday, with a projected score of 82-72
Here is what we think will happen. Be sure to leave your predictions in the comment section below.
Ryan Kelapire — Arizona wins 81-67
There are so many variables in play here. Who’s going to coach? Will Allonzo Trier play? Part of me thinks Arizona will either blow out Stanford because of all the controversy, or come out flat and be forced to escape with a tight win. I’ll pick the former.
Either way, Arizona will win and clinch a share of the Pac-12 championship.
Matt Sheeley — Arizona wins 87-73
Admittedly, Arizona has been carved up by opposing big men all year long. That includes Stanford forward Reid Travis dropping 20 and 10 the last time these teams met. There’s nothing about the Wildcats that would suggest to me that Travis’ numbers will be any different on Thursday night.
But Arizona’s offense played loose and free last time out under the guidance of Lorenzo Romar. Barring big news coming out in the next 24 hours, Romar should be roaming the sideline for Arizona again and I like the Wildcats’ offensive intensity to be extra revved up in front of their home crowd. Give me the Wildcats going away in this one.
Jason Bartel — Arizona wins 81-71
I think at this point it’s impossible to predict exactly what’s going to happen with this team, especially on the court. The Wildcats will be without Allonzo Trier, probably without Sean Miller, and at home for the first time since all of this happened. So I’d expect McKale to be pretty revved up and overwhelm a Stanford team that is just 1-4 in their last five road games.
Give me a huge Arizona lead in the early going with the Cardinal gradually making it closer and closer and getting to within 10 on their last possession.
Alec Sills-Trausch — Arizona wins 77-63
Will Arizona have its head coach? Will it have its best shooter? No clue! But as I’ve said numerous times, any team with Deandre Ayton has a very good shot at winning. UA still has loads of talent even if it’s missing a few heads and the players that will play are better than what Stanford can put onto the floor.
Additionally, I’m really looking forward to the signs in the ZonaZoo.
Christopher Boan — Arizona wins 72-70
This team is a mess of emotions right now, but I’ll take Ayton, Dusan Ristic, and a host of role players over Reid Travis and a depleted Stanford team. Ristic and Ayton will each score more than 20, while Parker Jackson-Cartwright will score in double-digits to give Wildcat fans a night free of drama — on the court at least.