The No. 6 Arizona Wildcats were looking to tighten things up in their second game of the season at home against the Long Beach State 49ers. The team came out strong and dominated the game from wire to wire, showing exactly why they’re ranked in the top 10 to start this season. The domination started with a defensive effort taken to the next level on Monday night that will be the key for continued success the rest of the year.
After a so-so opener where the Wildcats struggled to defend the perimeter, Arizona extended their defensive zone against LBSU and contested every shot. The 49ers finished the day shooting just 27 percent from the field and just 5 of 23 from beyond the three-point line. Arizona held LBSU without a field goal for the first nine minutes of the game as their defense created easy transition opportunities for the offense which capitalized with a number of high-flying dunks and emphatic alley-oops.
This was the type of performance that was expected out of Arizona when they got ranked at No. 6 in the preseason polls and is the type of stifling dominance that will make them a favorite in the Pac 12 this season. They need to maintain this defensive intensity to create more easy opportunities in transition while limiting the easy baskets of the opposition. They have the athletes to challenge just about anyone in the country and that formula is one that will lead to a lot of wins the rest of the way.
Finding this gear early is a huge win for the Wildcats in addition to the W over LBSU on Monday night. Is Arizona primed for a deep run in the NCAA Tournament thanks to this dominant defense?