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Arizona may change starting lineup for Cal game

Moving Dylan Smith to the bench would be the obvious change

arizona-basketball-change-starting-lineup-cal-stanford-game-dylan-smith-baker-bench-hazzard Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

After a historically poor offensive performance vs. UCLA, Sean Miller said Tuesday that the Arizona Wildcats could change the starting lineup for Thursday’s road game at Cal.

“We’re at that point,” he said. “Yeah, just sometimes it relaxes guys when they don’t have the pressure of starting. Sometimes you just change it up, mix it up, it helps everybody. So that could potentially happen, we’re not there yet. We took Sunday off, we practiced yesterday, we haven’t practiced yet today, so the next couple days, I think we’ll make that decision.”

The obvious change would be moving Dylan Smith to the bench in favor of Jemarl Baker Jr. or Max Hazzard. Smith is stuck in a terrible slump, missing 17 of his last 18 3-pointers, having a big hand in Arizona’s recent regression. Miller said after the loss to UCLA, in which Smith shot 0 for 7 from the field, that it’s been his defense that has kept him in the starting lineup.

“I think the hard part is when he’s off, he’s really been off,” Miller said.

Baker, meanwhile, is shooting 39 percent from 3 for the season, and was one of the few players to have success against the Bruins, going 3 for 7 from distance. He also hasn’t committed a turnover in six straight games, compiling 14 assists during that stretch.

“We win as a team and lose as a team, it doesn’t fall on Dylan not making shots,” Miller said. “We have a number of guys that can play better. There’s a number of things we’re trying to do coaching wise to be better, so we have to go on this trip, and be the best that we can be. We have four away games and four home games left in our regular season. We played some really good basketball. It’ll be an interesting trip because the last time we were on the road, I thought we played we the best we’ve played all year.”

Miller said even if Smith is moved to the bench, he will still be in the rotation.

“We just need quality play,” Miller said. “That’s what we need.”