UA-Stanford pregame: Cardinal three-pointers concern Miller

2013-02-06T12:23:00Z 2013-02-06T20:03:29Z UA-Stanford pregame: Cardinal three-pointers concern MillerBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 06, 2013 12:23 pm  • 

At this point of the season, the most relevant statistics are the ones for Pac-12 games only, and there’s one category of them that positively frightens Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller.

That’s the one where Stanford is leading the conference in three-point shooting with 44.9 percent in Pac-12 games, well ahead of second-place USC (36.2).

“Anytime you shoot the ball at that level through nine games you’re not only a dangerous team but an excellent team,” Miller said. “Stanford always plays good defense and with this shooting – they do it from all five positions – it’s alarming not just for me but for anybody who gets ready for Stanford.”

While guard Chasson Randle is hitting a flat 50 percent of his 36 threes in conference games, the real scary part for Arizona is that two 6-10 guys are also hitting 50 percent or better: Center Dwight Powell is 5 for 10, and reserve forward John Gage is 17 of 24 for a mind-blowing 65.4 percent mark.

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A big concern earlier in the season for Miller, Arizona’s three-point percentage defense has improved to the point where the Wildcats are seventh in three-point defense in league games (34.5 percent allowed) but Miller remains concerned for tonight.

“It has improved but it can be improved, and all of a sudden (it can be) ‘what happened to it?’ “ Miller said. “We have our biggest challenge of the season to make sure our three-point percentage defense is intact. That alone helps our cause tremendously because that’s what they do so well.”

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A reminder that tonight's game is on ESPNNEWS at 7 p.m., with Bill Walton doing the commentary. The Wildcats are 1-2 when Walton works their games (Oregon, UCLA, Washington).

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Randle has been making the transition from shooting guard to the point for Stanford, which is aiming to reach the NCAA tournament this season after winning the NIT last season.

(and a note to "Bob Vein": No, Stanford and Cal don't have to sweep this weekend to make the NCAA tournament, though it would certainly help their resumes. Both are in the 60-70 RPI range and there's time to gain ground elsewhere).

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Our advance coverage today: A main story on the Pac-12's new spread-out weekends, sidelines notes, a matchup graphic and a photo gallery on McKale Center's history.

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Here's the official game notes from Arizona and Stanford.

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Even forward E.J. Singler may be pushed into point guard duty at Oregon if Johnathan Loyd (thumb) and Dominic Artis (foot) can't play Thursday against Colorado.

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A run-down Shabazz Muhammad is eating sushi while trying to recover at UCLA.

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Draft Express takes a look at Jordan Bachynski's uncertain NBA potential.

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It's a battle for the basement at Gill Coliseum tonight, where OSU will host Utah (8 p.m. Pac-12 Networks).

 

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