The Arizona Wildcats have title aspirations this year and despite having a young core, are lead by two seniors, Solomon Hill and Mark Lyons. These two players set the tone for the fourth ranked team in the nation, but they had a major let down defensively against Oregon which led to their first loss. The Wildcats have not shown great effort on the defensive side of the ball against near losses against neither Utah nor Colorado, and the same was obvious against the Ducks Thursday. Last night, versus Oregon State, was a different story. “As a team, we didn’t let that (loss) affect us,” point guard Lyons said. “One loss isn’t going to hurt us, unless it’s in March.”
“One of the things we didn’t do in the last three games was defend,” head coach Sean Miller said. “So it was good to see that in this one.” After allowing Oregon to shoot high numbers from the floor, 48.1% and 63.6% from three, they clamped down in the half court last night and held the Beavers to 39.3% and 33.3% shooting. The effort level and communication was noticeably higher from the entire team. Their renewed effort and defensive awareness led them to twice as many steals and three times as many blocks as they had in their first game in the state of Oregon.
If the Wildcats are going to make a run at the title in March they will need to continue to improve on the defensive end of the floor. This is especially true of their freshman post players, Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczweski and Grant Jarrett. All three came into Tucson as highly touted recruits and they are not disappointing on the offensive end but their sometimes uninspired play at the other end of the court has got to worry their coach.