Arizona has won 19 straight over Stanford, the longest active streak between Pac-12 schools.
Tip off is set for 8:30 p.m. MT with the game being shown on the Pac-12 Network.
Below are our staff predictions:
Brian J. Pedersen — Arizona wins 70-66
Thursday’s win over California was far from a masterpiece, but it was just what Arizona needed after that debacle against UCLA. Stanford presents a much tougher challenge on the defensive end, as it is tops in the Pac-12, which means the Wildcats will have to take good shots and be in position to grab their misses (which the Cardinal isn’t good at preventing). A lot lies on whether Stanford junior Oscar da Silva plays after he suffered a head injury last weekend at Colorado and sat out Thursday’s home loss to ASU. Avoid costly turnovers and remain focused on defense and Arizona will get its second straight road sweep.
Ronnie Stoffle — Stanford wins 69-64
This is going to be a tricky matchup. The Wildcats are set to face a strong defensive team in the Cardinal. Also, a team that is riding a three-game losing streak which is jeopardizing its post-season chances.
Arizona is coming off a much needed victory at Cal but let’s face it, they basically needed 14 second-half points from Dylan Smith to win. I don’t consider that a viable strategy and Josh Green appeared to sustain an injury late in that game. His status for this one is uncertain.
It just feels like we’re in store for a letdown and that’s even considering Stanford’s best play, Oscar da Silva, probably won’t play. This should be a very close game. Arizona can definitely win this but I just don’t trust that they will.
Matthew Rein — Arizona wins 67-62
Arizona showed signs of progress in their win over California on Thursday night, with Dylan Smith coming to life in the second half.
The Cardinal, however, present a different challenge. Even though Maples Pavilion is the least threatening environment in the Pac 12, Stanford has some talented players on its roster that can make some noise. A lot depends on whether Oscar da Silva is active for the game. If he’s absent, watch for Zeke Nnaji to have a productive game.
Stanford has shown the ability to go toe to toe with some great teams, including a win over Oregon at home. They’ve also had disappointing results and losses, including a Thursday night home loss to ASU. Stanford is fighting for their NCAA tournament lives, and Arizona has to be prepared for the Cardinal to come out playing with fire.
I think the momentum for Thursday’s win over Cal will carry over to Saturday, and if Da Silva misses another game, I think Arizona will take this.
Ryan Kelapire — Arizona wins 71-66
If I thought da Silva was playing I’d pick the Cardinal, but that’s a huge loss to overcome, especially for a team that struggles quite a bit offensively.
Stanford is still scary though because it has an elite defense (top-10 in the country) and is an above-average 3-point shooting team, albeit they don’t shoot many.
But I think Arizona finds a way to make it 20 in a row against Stanford. I was really encouraged by the way they were getting the ball to Zeke Nnaji against Cal, though it helped that Dylan Smith was on fire from the perimeter in the second half.
Adam Green — Arizona wins 69-62
The win over Cal was nice, even if it took a bit for the Wildcats to get going. Seeing Dylan Smith make shots was big, and Zeke dominating again was a sight to behold.
The question is, was it a fluke?
So often this season the Wildcats have shown flashes of dominance only to revert back to mediocrity. Stanford represents a tough test. Having lost a close one to ASU without their best player, this does not shape up to be an easy one.
That said, it will be easier if Oscar da Silva does not play. If he does, and is 100 percent, this will be a battle. Since it’s the Wildcats he probably will take the floor, though I’m going to hedge this prediction and say the Wildcats will win anyway.
Christian Mortensen — Arizona wins 67-61
Sean Miller has never lost to the Cardinal while coaching at Arizona, and I have faith that that trend will continue Saturday night.
This season has been Stanford’s best in years, but they’ve now lost six of their last seven games and (as everyone else mentioned) could be without the services of talisman Oscar da Silva for the clash.
With Da Silva probably out, I expect another low scoring affair as the Cardinal should make Arizona work offensively, but I think the Cats will be able to get in transition and do some damage in that area.
If they can’t do that — Arizona could be in trouble having to run a half-court offense against the Pac-12’s best defense.