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Arizona men’s basketball off to unprecedented offensive start in Pac-12 play

And not the good kind

arizona-wildcats-mens-basketball-statistics-effective-field-goal-offense-pac12-wsu-cougars-2023 Zachary BonDurant-USA TODAY Sports

Is Arizona’s offense going through a rough patch, or has the Pac-12 figured out how to neutralize the Wildcats’ scheme? The numbers say a little of both.

The Wildcats shot 31.7 percent in Saturday’s home loss to Washington State, ending a 28-game win streak at McKale Center. It was the third game in a row the UA has failed to shoot at least 40 percent, and fourth time this season.

All four have been against Pac-12 opponents.

Before WSU limited Arizona (14-2, 3-2 Pac-12) to 61 points, its second-lowest output in 53 games coached by Tommy Lloyd, Washington held it to 36.4 percent. Five days earlier, ASU limited the Wildcats to 37.7 percent shooting, including 26.9 percent in the second half when they nearly blew a 17-point lead.

And back on Dec. 1, when Pac-12 play officially began, Arizona shot 35.2 percent in a 15-point loss at Utah.

The only Pac-12 game in which the UA has shot close to its season average, which at 49.8 percent still ranks 11th nationally, was Dec. 4 against Cal (49.2 percent). But even in that game, an 81-68 win, the Wildcats weren’t their usual efficient self.

Or, rather, effective self. Arizona’s effective field goal percentage against Cal was 52.5 percent. That’s 10th-best out of 16 games and well below the season eFG of 56.3 that’s 11th in the country.

The loss to Utah saw Arizona’s eFG at 38.0, while its other five lowest figures in that category—which puts extra weight on made 3-pointers—have been over the past six games. That includes all three Pac-12 games since Dec. 31, culminating with a 34.9 against WSU that was the Wildcats’ ninth-lowest in conference play the past 20 years (per

While Arizona still ranks high nationally in eFG for the season, in Pac-12 games its 42.0 is dead-last in the league. It’s also the lowest for any team in conference play since USC was at 40.6 in 2011-12 en route to a 2-16 Pac-12 record.

There are still 15 Pac-12 games left, but as of now Arizona is far below its lowest eFG in the past 21 seasons, which was 47.5 in 2019-20.

“There is obviously growing pains over the course of a season, and seasons are far from perfect when you really start dissecting,” Lloyd said after the Washington State loss. “We got to come back Monday, gotta show up and be excited to be there and get better, and make sure Thursday in Oregon State we play out asses off.”

Oregon State (7-9, 1-4) is allowing 50.2 eFG in Pac-12 games, third-worst in the league.