Time: 7 p.m., Tucson time
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,538), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: IMG College/Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Matt Muehlebach)
TV: ESPNews (Dave Pasch/Bill Walton)
McKale Center turned 40 on Feb. 1, when Fred Snowden’s Kiddie Korps christened the arena with an 87-69 victory over Wyoming. One of the young players Snowden recruited from Michigan — Coniel Norman — scored 37 points in the victory. ArizonaWildcats.com afforded fans the opportunity to vote for their top 10 McKale Center moments. My top five UA hoops McKale memories: 1. Sean Elliott breaking Lew Alcindor’s Pac-10 scoring record on March 6, 1999; 2. The Wildcats sweeping USC and UCLA in 1979, signifying McKale as a difficult place to play in UAs first season in the Pac-10; 3. The “McClutch” play — Craig McMillan’s miraculous last-second lay-in against Oregon State in 1986, unseating the Beavers, Ralph Miller and A.C. Green as one of the premier programs in the conference; 4. Arizona beating Duke 91-85 in the Fiesta Bowl Classic title game on Dec. 30, 1987, an indicator that the Wildcats were destined for their first Final Four appearance that season; and 5. Khalid Reeves scoring 40 points on Dec. 30, 1993, in a 119-95 win over Michigan (which went to the previous two NCAA title games with the Fab Five).
The Pac-12′s unbalanced schedule means that Stanford and Cal travel to Arizona this year after avoiding the trip last season. It was the first time the programs did not play at McKale Center since the UA joined the conference in 1978-79. The real travesty of this unbalanced schedule set up by the Pac-12 is Arizona playing UCLA only once in the regular season next season. That means the Bruins will not come to McKale Center either next season or in 2014-15. Unreal. The Wildcats also play Washington only once in the regular season in the next two years. If permissible by the Pac-12, Arizona and UCLA should schedule each other in a non-conference game in the years they have only one regular-season game scheduled. It is the premier basketball rivalry of the league. It’s the Pac-12′s version of Duke-North Carolina. That should not be reduced to one matchup in a season. No way.
DraftExpress.com rates Stanford 6-10 power forward Dwight Powell as the No. 20 junior in the nation and No. 68 prospect overall. Coaches always stress that the more experienced a team is, the more cohesive it plays. Powell is older than most juniors, already 21 years old. He started playing basketball in Canada when he was 14. Jonathon Givony of DraftExpress.com likes Powell’s upside because of how he has developed in the last seven years after picking up the sport. Givony’s assessment: “A mobile big man with a nice frame that is still a ways away from filling out, Powell shows good quickness and fluidity for his position to go along with solid size and length. Besides his athleticism, Powell shows an intriguing skill-level as well as a good feel for the game. He was not the focal point of Stanford’s offense, but was able to show flashes of talent in a variety of different areas and has a nice upside to grow into as his frame fills out.” In addition to averaging 14.4 points and 7.7 rebounds, Powell is shooting 46.8 percent overall and 77.8 percent from the foul line.
Arizona coach Sean Miller indicated to the media yesterday that senior forward Kevin Parrom will play tonight against Stanford despite a flagrant foul that led to his ejection from the Washington State game last Saturday. Parrom went into the season as the best sixth man in the league. He has respectable numbers, averaging 8.2 points and 4.8 rebounds a game. His decision-making (other than the ill-advised play at Washington State) has been spot-on, evidenced by his 15 assists with only eight turnovers in Pac-12 games. Oregon’s Arsalan Kasemi and Stanford’s John Gage have emerged as formidable sixth men off the bench this season. Kasemi has started the last four games for Oregon, so that voids his sixth-man status. Gage is dangerous when playing extended minutes. In games in which Gage plays at least 15 minutes, he is averaging 9.9 points while shooting 38-74 (51.4 percent) overall and 27-49 (55.1 percent) from three-point territory. He leads Stanford by shooting 48.3 percent from three-point range.
Stanford sophomore point guard Chasson Randle leads the Cardinal in scoring in Pac-12 games averaging 14.8 points. His assist-to-turnover ratio, however, is lacking. He has only 17 assists in nine conference with 21 turnovers. Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins has heard the comparisons of Randle with former Cardinal point guard Brevin Knight, but he disagrees because Randle is more of a point guard/shooting guard combination similar to Arizona senior Mark Lyons. After Randle scored 20 points in an 81-73 victory over Oregon State last Sunday, Beavers coach Craig Robinson suggested that Randle has an NBA future. “Powell is probably a pro, and I’m not sure Randle’s not a pro, either,” Robinson told reporters after the game. “That kid is good. Then the rest of their pieces fit.” Randle is capable of a scoring explosion. He had a career-high 30 points against ASU in the Pac-12 tournament last season.
PAC-12 RPI ASSESSMENT
RPI based on CBSSports.com
|Rank||Team||Record||P12||Top50||SOS||*Quality Wins||**Poor Losses|
|4||Arizona||19-2||7-2||5-2||6||No. 2 Miami (N)/No. 5 Florida (H)/No. 25 Colorado (H)/No. 27 SDSU (N)/No. 37 Southern Miss (H)||None|
|25||Colorado||14-7||4-5||2-3||17||No. 15 Colorado State (H)/No. 50 Baylor (N)||No. 167 Utah (A)|
|26||Oregon||18-4||7-2||3-1||88||No. 4 Arizona (H)/No. 18 UNLV (A)/No. 46 UCLA (A)||None|
|46||UCLA||16-6||6-3||3-3||29||No. 4 Arizona (A)/No. 25 Colorado (A)/No. 34 Missouri (H)||No. 111 USC (H)/No. 202 Cal Poly (H)|
|66||ASU||17-5||6-3||2-3||118||No. 25 Colorado (H)/No. 46 UCLA (H)||No. 193 DePaul (H)|
|67||Stanford||14-8||5-4||1-6||44||No. 26 Oregon (H)||No. 111 USC (A)|
|71||California||13-8||5-4||1-5||52||No. 26 Oregon (H)||None|
|72||Washington||13-9||5-4||1-5||26||No. 25 Colorado (H)||No. 130 Nevada (H)/No. 162 Oregon State (A)/No. 167 Utah (H)/No. 173 Albany (H)|
|111||USC||9-13||4-5||1-8||16||No. 46 UCLA (A)||No. 138 Georgia (A)/No. 182 Cal Irvine (H)|
|162||Oregon St.||11-11||1-8||0-4||102||None||No. 111 USC (A)/No. 165 Washington St. (H)/No. 185 Towson (H)|
|165||Wash. St.||11-11||2-7||0-5||105||None||No. 201 Pepperdine (A)|
|182||Utah||10-11||2-7||1-3||80||No. 25 Colorado (H)||No. 111 USC (H)/No. 165 Washington St. (A)/No. 191 SMU (A)/No. 198 CSU-Northridge (H)/No. 280 Sacramento St. (H)|
*-Wins vs. Top 50 teams
**-Losses vs. Top 100 teams or higher
SOS-Strength of schedule
Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner