Arizona Wildcats Set to Run Away With Preseason NIT Title
A PAC-12 powerhouse squared off against a Northeastern Conference foe when the Arizona Wildcats played the Farliegh Dickinson University Knights on late Monday night. Right away Arizona looked a little shaky, but they ended up taking them to the woodshed.
At half it was Arizona 51, FDU 24.
The athleticism of the Wildcats deemed superior to a small private university in New Jersey in FDU. The Preseason NIT has a potential matchup of Arizona vs. the Duke Blue Devils in the championship game if both teams make it that far. There was not a problem for Duke earlier in the night against the UNC-Asheville Bulldogs as they won 91-55 behind Jabari Parker’s 21 points.
It’s not only a tale of two teams, but it’s a tale of two freshmen that control their squad. Parker from Duke is a devastating scorer and smart passer whereas the Wildcats’ Aaron Gordon is a beast on the glass. Gordon’s offensive game is raw (3-of-11 from the floor), but his athleticism lets him get away with his bad shot selection. Against FDU, he was 50 percent from the foul line and struggled scoring unless it was at the rim.
Sean Miller, who got his 100th career win in the game, has his team running like a Ferrari on offense as a well-oiled machine that makes people do double takes at the box scores. The Wildcats are the front-runners to win the PAC-12 title this season and the Preseason NIT, which they are a one seed in with the likes of Duke and Alabama in the tournament standing in its way from a perfect season. Certainly there are some speed bumps against teams like Rhode Island, Rutgers, Drexel and Duke, but until the semifinal game and championship game, the Wildcats have home-court advantage.
The semifinals and on are set to be played in Madison Square Garden, a perfect scene for two freshmen with electric games that can be seen soon playing in the NBA under the New York skyline.
The Wildcats tallied 100 points against a weak opponent, but something should be said about the six players in double-figures (led by Gabe York with 2o points). Gordon did not play to his normal game, but his double-double performance proves he can be consistent.
Arizona’s next game will be played tomorrow against the Rhode Island Rams at the McKale Center. If Gordon can break out of this mini slump he is in, shooting wise, the Wildcats will take this tournament by storm.
John Lloyd is a PAC-12 College Basketball for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JohnHLloydIII