Arizona Wildcats basketball: On analytics, that SI cover and the other Wildcats

2014-03-19T12:06:00Z 2014-03-19T14:15:14Z Arizona Wildcats basketball: On analytics, that SI cover and the other WildcatsBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

After two months of scouting Pac-12 opponents they are already intimately familiar with, the UA game scouts have it a bit tougher this week.

Damon Stoudamire was assigned to scout Weber State, while Book Richardson is breaking down Gonzaga and Joe Pasternack has Oklahoma State. That way, the rest of the Arizona Wildcats can stay focused for Weber State and, if they win that game, immediately be briefed on their next opponent once the Gonzaga-Oklahoma State game ends.

Stoudamire said he watched video of Weber’s Big Sky games but found the one game against a common opponent, UCLA, to be particularly valuable.

“I just look at it from a standpoint of what they might do to us,” Stoudamire said. “Defensively they’re a man (to man) team but we’d be naïve to think they might not try some zone against us. But that’s not who they are.”

Offensively, what the Utah-based Wildcats are is pretty obvious by looking at their stat sheet: A solid three-point shooting team with a conference MVP scorer in Davion Berry.

“They cut hard and they run a lot of ball screens and pindowns and a lot of misdirection for their bigs,” Stoudamire said. “They have a solid team. They won their conference, had a player of the year in Berry shooting a high percentage from three and free throw line so we must contain him.”

Weber State also has a number of other capable shooters plus some stretch-four type players off the bench, plus an active big man in Joe Bolumboy, who averages 10.8 rebounds a game.

Berry has thrived on discipline at Weber State.


Sports Illustrated put Nick Johnson and the Zona Zoo on its regional cover of its tourney preview issue.

In case you're worried that's a jinx, consider that SI is also producing five other regional covers this week: Ones for Michigan State, Syracuse, Florida, Wichita State and the UConn women.

That said, an SI edition with a story entitled "Gritty Point Guard T.J. McConnell has helped Arizona reach No. 1" hit the stands in the week before the Wildcats lost at Cal and lost Brandon Ashley for the season. Just sayin' ... 


So maybe you've heard the doubts about UA from Jay Bilas and Clark Kellogg, but how about Nate Silver? His analytics, which incorporate the travel factor, put the Wildcats as the clear favorite to win the West Region, with a 42.4 percent chance of doing so to reach the Final Four.


Barack Obama picked UA to make the Final Four, too.


Lot of betting sentiment on Arizona. The Wildcats opened as a 14.5-point favorite against Weber State but that number is now up to 19.5 or 20 points, according to VegasInsider.com.


Another prediction machine calculates Weber State's chances of upsetting Arizona at 14 percent, the second-highest odds it has ever given a No. 16 seed, and gives UA only a 51-percent chance of making the Sweet 16.


Online casino Bovada has Arizona at 8-1 to win the NCAA title.


Kyle Fogg threw down 51 points tonight for his Finnish team. Even Derrick Williams was impressed.


Draft Express says NBA scouts are crossing their fingers for an Arizona-Oklahoma State game, so they can see what Marcus Smart will do against the Wildcats' defense.


Archie Miller has found passion for Dayton basketball is somewhat comparable to that of Ohio State football.


James Whitford finished up his first season at Ball State at 5-25, and determined to upgrade his talent.


Stanley Johnson said goodbye to Mater Dei's home gym with a 38-point performance.


Utah blew a 10-point second half lead and ended its season with a first-round NIT loss at Saint Mary's.


Here's a surprise: The Ducks are getting new shoes for the NCAA tournament.


Oregonian readers aren't exactly fond of the idea that OSU is paying $35,000 to host Radford tonight in the CBI.


JaQuan Lyle may be an Oregon lean.


Ken Bone is out at Washington State and CougCenter has a news roundup on the firing. All Coug'dUp reads between the lines on what AD Bill Moos may do now.


Stanford has a tough matchup ahead with New Mexico.


Steve Alford says he thinks UCLA is playing its best basketball of the season.


Justin Cobbs and the Bears will host Utah Valley tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the NIT. Cal is letting its students in for free.

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